Nissan Motor Co. started taking orders for its Leaf electric vehicle, about 8,000 US reservations had been booked. Nissan believes that by the end of the year, it would already have received 25,000 orders and by then, the Leaf would already be making money.
In an interview with Reuters, Mark Perry, Nissan's North America director of product planning and strategy, said that the hatchback will go on sale in the US this December. At the sidelines of an industry conference, Perry said that the company is rushing for the car to be launched soon.
Perry also revealed that Nissan's US launch of the car will begin in California, Arizona, Washington, Tennessee and Oregon. The electric vehicle will be launched in Japan and Europe in late 2010.
Production of the Leaf will begin in Japan and later at plants in the US and the United Kingdom. Perry said that Leaf sales will be capacity restrained in the first two years until the US plant comes on line.
Priced at $32,780, the five-passenger car will be the first fully electric car to be introduced by a major carmaker. The price is exclusive of federal tax credits or other incentives.
The Leaf, which can run 100 miles on a full charge, is priced to be affordable and for mass adoption to be successful. Perry said that Nissan makes money at the price mentioned.
Nissan is relying on electric cars for it to have a chance at closing the gap on competitors led by Toyota Motor Corp. and its gasoline-electric Prius. [via autonews - sub. required]