• Oct 25th 2010 at 2:31PM
  • 39

2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

How sweet can incentives make the 2011 Nissan Leaf? If you're really lucky and bunch together several rebates and credits, you can drive home this battery powered machine for a mere $12,280. Yep, you read that right. For less than $13,000 you could own one of the world's first mass-produced electric vehicles – provided you meet some very select criteria. Interested in finding out how? Read on.

Disclaimer: there are a bunch of "ifs" and "buts" included in the quest to receive this bargain price, but the important thing is that it's actually possible (as Green Car Reports discovered). Here's how it could go down: Starting with the $32,780 list price of a Leaf base model, slash $7,500 off courtesy of the federal tax credit and get down to $25,280. Now, provided that you live in California, you can also lop another $5,000 off the top under the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Simply submit your paperwork to the Center for Sustainable Energy and the Leaf's cost almost magically drops to $20,280. But how do we get from here to $12,280?

From here on out, the incentives get much more specific and will begin to seriously reduce the number of people who can get the EV deal of a lifetime. If you reside in one of the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and portions of Kern), then you are eligible to apply for a $3,000 rebate (PDF warning) for purchasing a zero-emissions ride. Okay, so that's $17,280. Here comes the kicker. For this final incentive, you need to work for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has apparently agreed to offer a $5,000 allowance for purchasing a battery-powered vehicle if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

And there it is – the $12,280 Nissan Leaf, as rare as hen's teeth. Now... who wants to be the first to give it a try?

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Green Car Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very tasty bargain... So, Am I going to be the one to ask about the Volt having it's price slashed this much?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Volt is a ULEV, because CARB tested it in CS mode, rather than EV mode. It's bizzare that they're basing the entire emissions profile based on having the engine running, as I thought the entire point of the Volt was that you usually wouldn't use the engine.

        It's almost as ludicrous as saying that the Leaf generates nuclear waste because it is drawing power from Edisons SONGS reactor in San Onofre.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh by the way.. i think the rumor is that the next gen Volt will be SULEV or PZEV.. among other things.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Is there a better way? Yes, there is.

        We know that any ER EV / PEH has a range from 0 (pure battery) to X (no battery). The only challenge how much weight to put on the various factors.

        It seems to me that one can generate a reasonably good baseline composite number based on weighting *average* commutes and *average* travel. While the asterisk for YMMV might be higher, it wouldn't be unreasonable.

        So for example, if the average commute is about 32 miles round trip (8,000 miles annually), and the average non-commute mileage adds 4,000 miles annually (80 miles per weekend), then you can weight commute and non-commute as 67% / 33%.

        If the Leaf / Volt / whatever covers 32 city miles with a 15% reserve, the you score that part as "free", treating as zero cost / no emissions. If the non-commute 80 highway miles can be covered with a similar reserve, then that's "free" as well. If not, because the battery is small, you only count the fuel / emissions for the excess.

        So Leaf gets a free pass, as it's nominally 100 miles covering both 32-mile commute and 80-mile weekend on a single charge with reserve. The Volt is free for the commute, but has to count 40/80 miles of weekend driving at 35 mpg / whatever emissions with a net weight of 16%. If the Prius had a 16-mile range, then you'd have 16/32 of the commute mileage plus 54/80 weekend miles.

        Perfect? No. But no worse than the current mileage calculation, with its WMMV caveat. And really, for the target audience, looking at the average is probably a good measure of "worst case", as long-distance commuters probably wouldn't get EVs in the first place.

        As-is, it's like trying to calculate emissions based on WOT measurements, whereas even the current CA smog tests try to reflect some semblance of reality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dest: It must be nice living in your perfectly-deterministic, rose-colored world, in which nothing unexpected ever happens, and nothing ever fails to go as planned. In our world, I suggest you re-read AB's replies but without your blinders you can understand what others are saying.

        The Volt is insurance and security against the unexpected, so, if you get one, you have a few more options available. The Leaf doesn't work that way, because there are things it simply cannot do, no matter how much you might wish it might. Something Volt-like can meet the needs of a larger number of people than the Leaf. Nothing wrong with either approach.

        But then again, you don't need "insurance". Good for you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gooodd question.
        The VOLT is classified as a ULEV emissions hybrid. The minimum battery pack size is 16kWh for the federal credit, which the Volt has.

        I think somewhere along the line you'll lose one of those credits though since it still produces emissions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @John: "It's bizzare that they're basing the entire emissions profile based on having the engine running, as I thought the entire point of the Volt was that you usually wouldn't use the engine."

        Actually, as I've heard many times now from people on Autoblog. The Volt is for people who regularly take long vacation roadtrips and expect to regularly run into long-distance emergencies, temperatures, etc that would make having a Leaf an impossibility for them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, a bankrupt state offering such deals.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And if I win the lottery, I could get a Leaf for free.

      Actual odds of winning: mathematically insignificant.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ...if only i lived in Fresno California and worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

      ...but really this is a sweet deal for californians
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not really. If you lived here like I do you would understand lol. It is a piss poor consolation.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Ahhh....no Contra Costa love. Oh well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lucky bastards!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      You lost me at "live in California".....
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a personal sacrifice to save the planet, I'll offer to move to one of these counties and star in an upcoming Sony feature film. After all, we all have to do our part... ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a bizarre world. California is in the hole, laying off teachers, cops, furlowing every other public employee. But we got cash to pay for half of your electric vehicle, don't worry 'bout it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you wanted to build your own electric car comparable to the leaf the batteries alone would cost more than that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damn, that's cheap.
      • 4 Years Ago
      for the Volt's price, i will get 3 Leaves. Keep 2 at home charging.
        • 4 Years Ago
        2 at home charging ain't gonna do much for ya when you max out your range 20miles from home.
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