Next year the Japanese automaker Nissan will come out with the Leaf, an all-electric car that will cost no more than its equivalent gasoline-powered model, under $30,000. GM’s Volt is expected to cost over $40,000. The Volt was supposed to come out next year when the Leaf does, but now reports are that it might not come out until 2011. The Volt’s electric engine will go for 40 miles, whereupon a gasoline engine kicks in to charge the battery. The Leaf uses no gasoline at all, but its electric engine will go 100 miles before recharging, which can be done in 30 minutes. Nissan is working on setting up charging stations all over so that you do not have to charge the car at home. The company seems to be using the “freemium” model we blogged about earlier: The car is inexpensive, but the battery will be leased separately with monthly payments, parallel to but said-to-be less than what a person would spend for gasoline. Here is a picture:
So does this sound like another case of the Japanese auto industry beating out the Americans? Would you buy one of these?