Nissan Leaf (© Perry Stern)Click to enlarge picture

The 2011 Nissan Leaf will start at $33,600 and lease for $349 a month, including destination charges.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf will sticker for $33,600, but that price could go as low as $26,100 with a federal tax credit, it was announced Tuesday. The car also will be available for lease for $349 a month, including the credit.

The sticker factors in a $7,500 federal tax incentive and includes destination charges. Nissan will start taking orders for the car on April 20.

The Leaf is due in select markets in December and launches nationwide in early 2011. Tax incentives in some states, including a $5,000 rebate in California, a $5,000 credit in Georgia and a $1,500 credit in Oregon, could further lower the cost.

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Nissan calls its pricing "aggressive," and it appears to undercut the much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, which is also due on the market late this year. General Motors has not announced pricing, but it is thought to start at about $40,000. With similar tax credits, the price of the Volt would drop significantly.

The Leaf is Nissan's equivalent of a moon shot in the green-car game. The zero-emission vehicle is powered by a lithium-ion battery and has room for five adults with a range of 100 miles on a charge. The company claimed a potential EPA rating of 367 mpg last year in response to the GM's claim of 230 mpg for the Volt.

"Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again," Brian Carolin, Nissan senior vice president, sales and marketing said in a statement. "Or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel. Or of creating zero emissions while driving."

Charging at Home
Nissan will sell charging stations and offer installation for about $2,200. A spokeswoman said the cost can be rolled into the financing of the car. This is also eligible for a 50 percent tax credit to offset the cost of the charger.

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Additionally, an electric-vehicle infrastructure company called eTec will provide free home charging stations for 4,700 Leaf owners in some markets as part of a special project.

Available Packages
Nissan also specified some of its trim offerings for the Leaf on Tuesday, though more are expected.

  • The SV trim comes with standard navigation, smart-phone connectivity and LED lights.
  • The SL version is another $940 and adds a rear camera, a solar panel spoiler, fog lights and automatic headlights.

Recyclable materials will be used in the seat fabrics, instrument panels and fascias.

To get a Leaf, consumers have sign up at www.nissanusa.com, and there's a refundable $99 reservation fee.

Dale Jewett contributed to this report.