2012 Nissan Leaf Leases: $289 For Base SV, $319 For Nicer SL

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Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Hall in an ad for the 2012 Nissan Leaf

Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Hall in an ad for the 2012 Nissan Leaf

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The low sales of the Nissan Leaf electric car have been much discussed in the media--just as those of the Chevy Volt were until it began to log respectable sales numbers over the last few months.

Nissan is now completing its switch from centralized online reservations for the car to treating it like any other new vehicle, with ready-to-buy Leafs now showing up at Nissan dealerships.

To kick-start that change, they're offering remarkably low lease rates on their flagship electric car.

You know that it'll be the $289 monthly lease rate for the base Nissan Leaf SV model that'll show up in the biggest print in the ads, based on 12,000 miles a year.

The 39-month lease requires a down payment of $2,999, plus the usual array of expenses for tax, title, registration--and that pesky but mandatory destination charge of $850--to be paid separately.

If, like a majority of Nissan Leaf buyers, you want the higher feature level of the more upscale SL model, that will run you $319 a month. Same down payment, though, and same annual mileage of 12,000.

The Nissan Leaf SL model includes the photovoltaic solar panel on the spoiler, a rear-view monitor in the dash display, fog lamps and, perhaps most important, the desirable quick-charge port, as standard features.

2012 Nissan Leaf

2012 Nissan Leaf

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Base price for the 2012 Leaf SV model is $35,200; the Leaf SL starts at $37,250. Neither price includes the $7,500 Federal tax credit for which many buyers may qualify, plus state, regional, local, and corporate incentives as well.

One advantage to the 39-month lease is alleviating any worries about battery life, since once the car is handed back to the dealer, it's no longer the lessee's problem.

Most Nissan dealers that sell the Leaf should now have at least a handful of Nissan's electric model in stock, so in theory, buyers can now walk into a dealer and drive out in a new Leaf the same day.

Installation of a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station in the buyer's garage, of course, will likely take a couple of weeks longer.

Nissan completed the rollout of the Leaf across the U.S. during March, though not every Nissan dealer is qualified to sell the Leaf.

2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Dashboard

2012 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Dashboard

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One explanation suggested by analysts for low Leaf sales in the U.S. is that with limited supplies of the lithium-ion cells for battery packs that are now shared among the Leaf and several different Renault models sold in Europe, Nissan may be allocating batteries to those markets with the highest profit margins.

Nissan is standing by its 2012 U.S. sales goal of 20,000 Leafs, though it has sold only 2,600 through the end of May. That means it'll have to average 2,500 cars every single month to meet the target.

What do you think?

Will the switch from online reservations to cars in dealerships help or hurt Leaf sales? And will Nissan make its 2012 sales goal?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (15)
  1. A good solid second car option, but if all you got is one car the Volt is the way to go...

  2. That depends on your driving habits. I have a Leaf as my only car, and it works, because I drive mostly just around Memphis, TN, all of which is within the Leaf's range. The few times I need to drive to Nashville, I rent a car from Hertz. For longer trips I fly and then rent a car from Hertz. For people that regularly have to take longer car trips, the Volt would be better.

  3. IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: anything that burns fuel puts our health & our planet at risk.
    Let's seriously consider *bicycle* as the daily commuter vehicle, with the EV as a second car (for when you need to haul things, kids, etc.), and the guzzler as a tertiary fallback.
    Why? I have done this, and it's working out great. I'm really getting into great shape (heart & lungs are outa this world!)
    And also because we need to make the transition away from our carbon-fueled lifestyle (very, very quickly!) to prevent further damage to the climate. http://researchmatters.noaa.gov/news/Pages/arcticCO2.aspx ...and check out http://is.gd/hugito

  4. @Rodney: This is your friendly site moderator here. Two points. First, please don't copy & paste the same comment onto multiple posts. Our system flags it as spam.

    Second, we ask that you restrict your links to topics that relate directly to the content of the article. Pitching for donations to your Climate Ride page is considerably beyond that. OK?

  5. its a great lease option and gives you the option to purchase after 39 months at what is likely to be a bargain price. sure, battery pack longevity is a concern but if you dont live in an extremely hot area, you might find that Nissan has done a great job. i have over 17,000 miles and still have seen no degradation. there is also a Kent, WA (portrayed here) Leaf owner with waaay more than DOUBLE the miles on his who has also not seen any degradation.

    now, i leased to get the full $7500 tax credit and my residual is $14-15,000 or so. i fully expect to see very little degradation in 19 months when my lease is up. i fully intend to purchase since there is no way i will get into an EV for under $20K

  6. Great deal. I already have an EV so I don't need another one, but if it had 6.6kW charging I'd consider leasing one for my business. The 3.3kW charger is a deal breaker for me. I know it works for a lot of people, I'm just not one of them.

  7. Tom, you are absolutely right about the 6.6 kW charger. Nissan will offer it as an option on the 2013 model year, which will be assembled at their new plant in Smyrna, TN.

  8. My local Nissan dealer made it sound like I could not just purchase a Leaf and drive it off the lot. I would have to order one and have my home inspected first. They made it sounds as if the process would take months from the time I placed my order until I received the vehicle.

    It was a major turn-off.

  9. @Larry: perhaps you started your LEAF search about when I did: late winter/early spring. I was holding out for the financing terms I wanted, plus a deal on a charging station. As it turned out, my local dealer (Criswell Nissan, Germantown MD) was just making the transition to on-the-lot stock just in time for me to buy that way, instead of online. I ended up with the original $99 deposit refunded after an early-May purchase of my new, red LEAF (love it! :-)

  10. BTW – check your government incentives! Instead of the $2,400 Nissan unit, I expect (this week or next) to take installation of a ChargePoint Network Charging Station by Coulomb Technologies. For me, it'll be free – thru a federal government incentive (although I must pay for installation).

  11. NISSAN Will NOW Lose MORE money per Leaf sold.... They don't care the taxpayers are paying for it.... 1.4 Billion for a car built with technology from the 90's it's ridicules.... The ONLY reason why the "re sell price is high" is a "paper processing" issue ... someone should look into the "quick" returns and the dealers...

  12. Care to elaborate? You seem to be speaking like Yoda here... What is the paper processing issue?

  13. google Nissan Whistleblower evidently due to the HOV status in the beginning there was a high demand. That is NOT gone due to the VOLT getting status and other EV's on the market: anyway I heard that Leafs had a high resell rate... that was just temporay some people put their names on the list: some follower through with orders just to immedialy turn around and sell the car... Dealers encouraged this ... it's kindof complicated but now that people know the leaf does not meet expectation it's really not an issue. NISSAN needed the DOE loan to help them with a cash flow problem and they used battery technology from the 90's.... Nissan is the NEXT Solyndra.... Ya'll can BOO me.... but before you do read about the issues.. There real

  14. I'm the LEAF EV Sales leader at a Nissan dealer in NY, and it's important that everyone understands Nissan does not require all that money down if you don't have it, but want the LEAF. The final LEAF lease arrangements (as with all Nissan's) can be customized to suit your needs. For instance, you can select from 12-25,000 miles per year, and decide what amount down YOU're comfortable with. So if you want to Lease the LEAF SL, need 15,000 miles per year, and only want to put $1,000 total out of pocket - no worries. Your payment is a little higher, but you're not doling out $4500 cash in the process, and the nice part about the $7,500 IRS tax credit, is that you get it in the lease as $7,500 in lease cash - which is like a rebate for leases.

  15. Nissan LEAF customers can find easy access to inventory on dealer lots right now (we have 3 SL's for example), and dealers can trade with another dealer to help a LEAF buyer find the color and trim level they want, seeing how these are now populating our standing inventory. The LEAF is a great option for local drivers and based on John Voelkers payment point at $289, a typical driver will pay about $40 month in electricity costs, or $329 for a car payment and voltage fuel (electricity)! How much is your current gasoline powered car payment and how much does that add up to on a typical month with gasoline? It's probably more affordable that what you're in.

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