Nissan’s Electric Leaf Spreads the EV Gospel

From Autopia Nissan’s Electric Leaf Spreads the EV Gospel

… You’ll own the car. Nissan will own the battery.
Ghosn said leasing batteries — which Nissan will produce through a joint venture with NEC — provides several benefits. First and foremost, it keeps the cost of the car reasonable. Although automakers don’t discuss what their batteries cost, they are widely believed to run $500 to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour. The Leaf sports a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium manganese battery.
By retaining ownership of the battery, Nissan also can update them as technology advances so consumers aren’t left with “last year’s model.” And though Ghosn didn’t mention it, leasing provides Nissan with some cover should the battery wear out prematurely because it can just replace the pack.

Ghosn didn’t say what the lease might cost but said Nissan is confident the cost of the lease, plus the money you’ll pay for electricity, will for most consumers be no more expensive than buying gasoline. When we drove a Leaf development prototype in April, a company exec said the cost per mile is 4 cents if you figure gas is four bucks a gallon, electricity is 14 cents a kilowatt hour and you drive 15,000 miles a year. Nissan said at the time the car would cost about 90 cents to charge if you plug it in off-peak.
The Leaf’s air-cooled battery provides enough juice to go 100 miles in city traffic.

Plug the car into a 110-volt socket and you’ll need 14 to 16 hours to recharge it. A 220-volt 20-amp line cuts that to seven or eight hours, while a 440-volt “quick charge” station will get you to an 80 percent state of charge in 25 minutes, Dominique said.
The Leaf is based on a heavily modified version of the platform underpinning the Versa and the two cars bear more than a passing resemblance.

Nissan plans to offer the car for “between $26,000 and $33,000″ when it goes on sale in December, 2010.

Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan has the capacity to crank out 50,000 Leaf cars annually, and Nissan is using a $1.6 billion federal loan to build an EV and battery plant at its North American headquarters in Smyrna, Tennessee. When the factory opens in 2012, it will be able to produce 150,000 electric cars and 200,000 battery packs annually.

“I think I’m being conservative saying 10 percent” of the market will be EVs by 2020, Ghosn said. …