Last Friday Nissan announced its all-electric Leaf will be the first of more Nissan EVs to come down under and will sell for a not-insubstantial – and unsubsidized – $51,500 AUD ($52,525 USD).
The Leaf was launched in the U.S. in the lower-mid $30,000 range before applicable subsidies in December 2010, and Nissan sold a bit less than 10,000 in calendar year 2011. This fiscal year, with domestic production due to come online in December, the company says it will sell 20,000 in North America, as it mentions also there’s a market for its 13 Leaf-selling dealers in Australia for the premium priced EV.
“Several years ago when we started this project, we didn’t just look at improving a conventional powertrain with a small improvement here and there – we set ourselves the target of zero emission,” said Francois Bancon, Nissan’s global general manager of product strategy, Advanced and Exploratory Planning. “We did this with the Nissan Leaf. There is a market for this car and after launching it in many places around the world already we are pleased to have it on sale in Australia.”
According to AutoBlogGreen, at the beginning of 2011 the Australian government canceled a Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme and diverted around $430 million AUD to repair infrastructure following 2010 flooding in Queensland, thus no subsidies are offered to Australian EV buyers.
So while there is no doubt a market, the effective price could be nearly double what a fully incentivized Leaf might sell for in the U.S. Other plug-in cars in that market include the Holden Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Renault Fluence Z.E. The Volt and Mitsubishi also are priced for substantially more than U.S. counterparts with the Volt estimated in the $60,000 AUD range, and Mitsu just shy of $50,000 AUD.
Australians will also pay an approximately 10-percent carbon tax on electricity used to charge electric vehicles, but Nissan is still determined to start proliferating EVs where it can.
“This is just the first EV that Nissan will introduce to Australia. As a company we are
pleased to have Leaf and our upcoming EV range as a major part of Australia’s zero
emission future,” said Nissan Australia CEO Bill Peffer.
Nissan has been laying the groundwork for the Australian Leaf launch for over a year now, and has reportedly installed some DC fast chargers with help from Coulomb. Reportedly also, Leaf buyers will be offered Level 2 home chargers for around $2,800 AUD ($2,850 USD).