At an auto conference this week in Traverse City, MI, Nissan's Vice President of Product Planning for North America Larry Domnique spoke about the expected price of the upcoming, fully electric Nissan LEAF. Dominique's words came in response to an earlier announcement from GM that the Volt achieves 230 mpg. This statement prompted Dominique to discuss and compare the costs of both vehicles.
According to Dominique, the LEAF is a better overall value than the Volt ands therefore a better choice for consumers. As Dominique said, "We honestly believe we're leapfrogging the competition with this product. The Volt is a great execution of a range-extender hybrid, but it's not a zero emissions vehicle."
The company is focusing on overall costs to the consumers and believe that a pure electric provides that best cost of ownership of possibly any type of vehicle available. As Dominique stated, the Volt, with its complex duel powertrain setup, adds a considerable amount to the cost of vehicle. Additionally, the Volt also requires gasoline which further increases its ownership cost.
Though the Nissan LEAF's price is not set in stone yet, Dominique further hinted at its price stating that he estimates it will come to market between $25,000 and $33,000. The range is significant, but Nissan has not decided if the battery price will be included with the purchase price of the vehicle. The numbers above may suggest that with the battery pack included, the LEAF will cost $33,000, without the battery pack which could be leased or purchase separately, the LEAF will cost $25,000.
Ownership costs take into account more than only purchase price. You have to factor in the cost of gasoline, of recharging a vehicle, maintaining a vehicle and so on. In regards to ownership costs, Dominique said, "If I've got to pay $45,000 for a Volt, and I own that vehicle for five years or ten years, I will never get a payback on $1 of what I spent over a conventional internal-combustion engine. You'd have to drive 50,000 to 60,000 miles a year to justify the added cost."
How does the LEAF stack up in ownership cost? Dominique says, "Long-term, the LEAF will give you better cost of ownership for life than an internal combustion engine vehicle. The LEAF also could undercut the Toyota Prius once maintenance and energy costs are factored in."
Though it's really too early to determine ownership costs, Nissan is convinced that a fully electric vehicle is much less costly to operate and own than other technologies in the works. Ownership costs for an EV come down to purchase price, and the cost of electricity which Dominque estimates ranges from 80 cents per 100 miles to $3 per 100 miles depending on area of the country and time of day the recharging takes place.
We still have to wait to see which technology proves to be less costly to the consumer, but Nissan has responded to GM's claims and we will surely see much more to come as these two companies battle it out for sales of their advanced technology vehicles.
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