Plug-in electric car sales are growing in the U.S., with the Chevy Volt in particular going from strength to strength.

The 2012 Nissan Leaf, however, is not doing so well. Despite being one of the earliest electric cars on the market, it's been outsold three to two this year by the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

What is it that carmakers do to boost sales? Why, offer incentives, of course!

Which is how it comes to pass that you can lease a brand-new Nissan Leaf SL battery-electric car for a mere $139 a month with $2,995 down.

The lower-than-ever lease deal is available from Boardwalk Nissan in Redwood City, California, and potentially a number of other dealers as well.

The 24-month lease allows 1,000 miles per month--12,000 a year--and is offered through October 31.

It's worth noting that the deal applies not to the bare-bones Leaf SV model, but the higher trim level SL, which represents the bulk of Leaf deliveries and includes a standard quick-charging port.

With a recent article in the Los Angeles Times concluding that a Nissan Leaf pays back its higher purchase cost over six years if gasoline hits $5 a gallon, the new deal will undoubtedly reinforce the inexpensive nature of driving on electricity drawn from the grid.

It's worth noting, though, that all such electric-car leases are based on the $7,500 Federal tax credit for purchase of a plug-in car goes to the financial institution that holds the lease, not to the person who leases the car.

In California, however, a 24-month lease does not qualify for the full $2,500 state purchase rebate--which stays with the lessee, not the issuer of the lease, but requires the lessee or owner to keep the car for 36 months.

In California, however, the state's $2,500 purchase rebate remains with the lessee, not the issuer of the lease.

Reader and electric-car fan Brian Henderson contacted the dealership and spoke to Melina Hristova, a Leaf specialist and Internet sales manager.

She confirmed the deal, and explained that in addition to the $2,995 down payment, the "drive-off fees" (including paperwork, registration, and the first month's payment) amounted to $1,200.

Hristova said that Boardwalk Nissan has "sold more Leafs than anyone else," a claim that couldn't immediately be confirmed.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]


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