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Published on April 3rd, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Nissan Considering Battery Lease Option For Leaf?

Despite being the top-selling electric vehicle around the world, Nissan Leaf sales have not soared as expected. No doubt this is largely the fault of its expensive battery pack, which accounts for much (if not all) of the price premium. But Nissan’s business partner, Renault, has decided to lease the batteries, rather than include them in the price. Might Nissan do the same?

It’s a very distinct possibility, especially in Europe, where Renault’s Zoe EV will go on sale for about €15,700. The Nissan Leaf, by comparison, costs a jaw-dropping €36,990. In American dollars, that is a price difference of about $21,000 for the Renault, and over $49,000 for the Nissan. Renault will charge €70, or about $93 a month, to lease the battery.

No wonder people are holding out against the Leaf, and instead waiting for the Zoe (a technological cousin to the Leaf), which is much, much, much cheaper. That isn’t all though; Renault is also producing the world’s cheapest EV, the Twizy, a city vehicle that won’t even require a license to drive when it hits markets in 2013. It will sell at about €6,200, or about $8,720. It will be limited to a top speed of just 28 mph, but the target audience of city dwellers will rarely have need to go faster.

In an interview with AutoCar, Andy Heiron, head of Renault’s British EV program, says that there is a “fundamental problem” with electric car sales. He notes that while the Leaf has 60% of the UK market, that still amounts to only about 1,000 cars in the whole country. Heiron says that Nissan is thinking about a battery “hire”, or leasing system, similar to Renault. Here in America, that would drop the cost of the Leaf substantially, and give would-be-buyers like myself another option. Nissan wants to sell 1.5 million EV’s by 2016. If they want to hit that goal, they need to start cranking up production, and soon.

I know I initially came out against battery leasing programs, but the reality of electric vehicle prices leave few other options in the short term of cutting prices. It’d be a lot easier for me to pay $25,000 for a Leaf, and an additional $100-a-month battery lease, then shelling out the full $36,000+ for a Leaf (or Volt, or Focus Electric, or what have you). It would also alleviate some of the worry about battery life spans and warranties; if you are leasing it, it’s not your problem. It’s the car companies.

How do you feel about battery leasing options? Would it make cheaper EV’s more appealing to you?

Source: AutoCar


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • jcmarching

    I’m leasing the whole LEAF now!

    • Michael

      Can you check your Leasing Contract and tell me, who pays in cause of damage or fault of your battery?

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  • Freedom45

    Well, if you consider the true cost of the battery and consider the batteries will lose capacity over time then it would probaly cost between 300$-400$/month on a lease, not 100$/month.

    But even at that lease price, it would still make sense to me because I would not have to buy any gasoline anymore, no oil change etc..

    Nissan should offer this lease option, so buy the car with battery at 40k (Price here in Canada) or buy the car with no battery and lease the battery for lets say 300$ per month. On a 48 month lease that would be 300$ x 48months = 14,400$ (keep in mind you are not paying for any gasoline, oil changes etc..)..

    Come on Nissan, wake up before it is too late…. This is a great oportunity… Take it !!

  • T Adkins

    So with the $7500 tax thing that is under 20k for a leaf. Sounds like a real good deal, esp when most people I know are paying $75 a week for gas, $93 a month lease plus an electric bill looks good.

  • Vince

    It certainly could be the ice breaker. Enthusiasts have denied leases because the company will steal the car back. But i lease does allow you to direct debit your driving cost at a set amount each week or month, plus the company gets what keeps economies going, steady cash flow. its the right way to go, but only for cars that swap out, the volt will have a tough time writing the rules for a battery that is bolted in, unless they lease you for 8 years and end the contract after that. etc etc.

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  • Leaf Driver

    Why do they keep trying to sell these cars to the bottom of the market? My LEAF already makes everything else seem rather quaint. What I really want is a premium interior and a BIGGER battery pack. Vehicle choice is a bigger drag. If Nissan wants to move some EV volume, offer an EV option with a variable battery size to the Juke, 370Z, and Altima lines. The LEAF works great. I’m ready for Gen2.

  • DJF

    Yes, Yes, Yes!

  • TKPGH

    Better Place may have had the right idea all along. Buy the car, but not the battery. Sadly, I have not seen any updates to the U.S. portion of their web site. It’s as if the U.S. has dropped off their radar. With Envia Systems new battery waiting in the wings (twice the capacity at half the price), the whole idea to battery swap/battery lease may be obsolete. Anyone have any ideas on this subject?

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