Nissan has announced the starting prices for its Golf-sized electric car, the Leaf. The Leaf will initially be available in four European countries – the UK, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands – and in each case, except in the Netherlands, it will be available for less than €30,000 after local tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles have been applied. In the Netherlands there are some tax incentives that accumulate during the life of the car rather than at the time of purchase.
The £23,350 that will be charged for the car in the UK (after a £5,000 subsidy being made available by the UK government for electric cars from next year) is actually the lowest that applies in any of the four markets. The Leaf will also benefit from zero rating for company car taxation and vehicle excise duty purposes for five years.
While the the Leaf is still bound to strike average motorists unfamiliar with the cost profile of electric vehicles – a high initial price offset by very low annual running costs – as pricey, it is in fact quite a bargain compared with other electric cars that are being readied for the market. Mitsubishi's impressive i-MiEV, for example, will cost over £30,000 after government subsidy, but is smaller than the Leaf, which also has the advantage of having been designed from the ground up as an electric car, rather than being an adaptation of an existing model.
Nissan has announced that the Leaf's battery will be included in its list price. Some manufacturers have proposed an alternative pricing model for electric cars under which the battery is leased separately, an arrangement that lowers the initial purchase price of the car but raises the annual costs, matching more closely the cost profile of today's conventional petrol and diesel models.
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