With an MSRP of around $41,000 in Europe, the Nissan Leaf isn’t exactly what one would call cheap. So why is it the Renault Zoe EV, which shares the same technology as the Leaf, almost $12,000 cheaper?
We are talking about base MSRP’s here, before any government rebates or incentives. In Europe, the Leaf costs about €30,000, but the Zoe EV will have an MSRP of just €21,000. In American dollars, that is a $12,000 difference. Why? Because Renault is only leasing the battery to Zoe EV buyers for €70 (about $100) per month. If you’re wondering why the Nissan Leaf costs almost $10,000 more in Europe then in America, its called taxes. Renault is sidestepping that buy merely leasing the battery, dropping over $10,000 off the Leaf’s price.
When Nissan first announced the Leaf, I remember the idea of battery leasing being batted around. The idea was that by leasing the battery, the Leaf could be sold for a lot less money up front. Nissan decided against that idea though, and as a result the Leaf is has a steep cost of entry without tax rebates. Renault, however, will be using Project Better Place’s battery-swapping stations, which means in a matter of minutes, rather then hours, the Zoe EV can have a full 100 mile charge. And it costs a lot less too; it would take ten years of battery leasing to make up the difference between the Nissan and Leaf. Plus Renault is planning for 150 miles of range by 2015. Range anxiety? What range anxiety?
It is kind of odd that two companies in a supposed alliance would opt for two vastly difference battery plans. Perhaps they are trying to see which business model comes out on top? I’m a big fan of battery swaps, and with such a dramatic price difference battery leasing really might be a better way to get EV’s into the market en masse. The Zoe EV is set to hit market sometime in 2012.
And yes, the Zoe EV can still be charged from a normal outlet or charging station; but it has the added option of using the battery swap station, and for me that, coupled with the lower cost, is a huge advantage. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Renault, but I would totally hop on board that train.
Source: The Truth About Cars
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.