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Nissan says reservations for electric Leaf brisk

April 23, 2010 | 11:26 am

Nissan says that consumers have already put reservations in for more than 20% of the first year’s production of its Leaf electric vehicle. Nissan

About 6,600 U.S. consumers have coughed up the $99 reservation fee and another 3,700 in Japan have done the same. Nissan said it will make about 50,000 Leaf cars the first year it goes on sale. The automaker has said it wants to have about 40% of production reserved by the time the Leaf goes on sale in December.

The all-electric hatchback will cost $32,780. But government subsidies will reduce the price for California buyers by about a third. There's a federal tax credit of $7,500 for electric vehicles. And Californians are eligible for an additional $5,000 rebate through the state Air Resources Board. That brings the base price for the standard Leaf, in California, to $20,280.

The car will be available in two versions -- a standard ST model and the more premium SL for an additional $940 that adds a backup camera and solar-panel spoiler to trickle charge an accessory battery.

Both versions will be powered by a 24-kilowatt-hour, laminated lithium ion battery pack that will allow the Leaf to travel 100 miles per charge and reach a top speed of 90 mph.

Nissan said that about 75% of its U.S. reservations are for the upper trim level premium model. And about the same percentage is from what the automaker calls its "primary launch markets," California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee, where Nissan has its U.S. headquarters and an auto factory.

For now, the Leaf will be built in Japan, but U.S. production is scheduled to start in Smyrna, Tenn., in 2012.

-- Jerry Hirsch (

Photo: The Nissan Leaf. Credit: Shizuo Kambayash / Associated Press