The Cost of a Nissan LEAF
Search for any new car on the internet and likelihood is you'll see something about its 'green' credentials. We are more concerned than ever about the environment and electric cars are becoming more mainstream. Whilst manufacturers have worked hard to minimise opposition- reducing range anxiety and addressing the 'silence' issue, most electric or hybrid cars come with a hefty price tag. So how does the world's first mass market electric car – the new Nissan LEAF- compare?
The Nissan LEAF went on sale in the UK in February 2011 with a price tag of £28,350. Take away the £5,000 government grant, which was introduced in January to encourage motorists to opt for electric, and the price dropped to £23,350. Currently the Nissan LEAF is being made in Japan and currency fluctuations recently caused the price to go up £2k to £25,990 including the grant).
Luckily the price of the Nissan LEAF is set to drop significantly when production moves over to the UK. Nissan's factory in Sunderland is due to start making batteries for the LEAF in 2012 and is expected to start full production by 2013. Nissan have said the price will fall below £25,000 but is this enough?
Currently the LEAF costs almost £10,000 more than its equivalent petrol and diesel rivals, the LEAF's biggest rival the Toyota Prius costs less than £22,000. The savings that can be made from swapping from fuel to electric is an electric car's biggest selling point. Originally the AA estimated that the LEAF would cost just 0.3p per miles, based on charging at home. Later they said it would cost more like 2p a mile, as the 0.3p was based on a low night electricity rate. Based on the 0.3p per miles you would save £1,500 a year if you drove 10,000 miles and therefore could recoup the extra money you paid for the car in 3 years, unlikely if you are paying 2p a mile. Given that many people like to change their car every 3 to 5 years, there is a chance you won't make your money back.
There are other bonuses though, the Nissan LEAF is exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge. Road tax for a Nissan Qashqai in Cardiff for example would cost £245 a year to tax. Now that road tax is determined by CO2 emissions and fuel type though many other 'green', not necessarily electric cars, are also free to tax, like the Fiat 500 TwinAir and Ford Fiesta Econetic.