Keeping it Real: Nissan LEAF $45K Pricing Rumor is Just That… A Rumor

The unbridled internet rumor mill is both a thing of beauty and an incredibly annoying echo chamber. The latest one to get lost in translation: Nissan has priced the LEAF electric car at $45,000.

Given that Nissan has consistently said for a year now that the LEAF will be comparably priced to a conventional sedan of the the same size and capabilities, this is one rumor that just doesn’t hold much water. Although many have seemed to take it at face value.

It all started with an article in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News that claimed Nissan had set a price for the upcoming LEAF EV in Japan at “less than 4 million yen” (about $44,000 at today’s exchange rates). That rather tentative statement got translated across the ether over the course of 24 hours as all of the following: “Nissan LEAF said to cost $40,000 in Japan,” “LEAF to sell for under $45K,” “LEAF price between $38,600 and $44,300,” and “LEAF priced at $38,500+ in Japan.”

Never mind that “less than 4 million yen” could mean anything between zero and 4 million. Take other indicators such as a complete lack of any corroborating evidence in the article: no source, no timeline for a conversation, no indication of where their information came from. I’m not even a real journalist and I can tell you that the article is complete bunk. In the world of blogging, when I see a post like that I ignore it.

Anyway, because it’s gotten such widespread attention as something to take seriously, I reached out to Nissan today to get their sense of this latest rumor, and, just as she’s said on multiple blogs in the last 24 hours, Nissan’s Katherine Zachary again said that the report in the Mainichi Daily is purely speculative and that all along Nissan has said the LEAF will be “affordable.” She also added that in the last year Nissan has never given any of their own speculative numbers even close to $40,000 for LEAF pricing.

Look, the reality of the situation is that Nissan will be revealing official pricing within the next month. If we want to get a realistic picture of the range of prices we could expect them to announce, it turns out to be pretty easy to calculate. A conventional sedan of comparable size loaded with the same gadgetry as the LEAF costs roughly 25K on today’s US market. It’s not clear if Nissan means the car will be that affordable price after the federal EV tax credit of $7,500 or not, so, accounting for that and adding a little slop in there, we can say at the low end, the LEAF will cost 25k and at the high end the leaf will cost 35K.

Seriously, that’s it. When Nissan announces LEAF pricing before tax credits, it will be between 25K and 35K dollars. I’ll stake my reputation on it.


Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.