Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The new Nissan Leaf - Pricey!

The new Nissan ‘Leaf’ car is now in production and is due to arrive with its first British customers by March next year. The world’s first publically available zero-emission car produces absolutely no carbon, running entirely on battery power. To ensure drivers don’t get caught out, the in-car computer screen warns when battery power is getting low and directs drivers to the nearest charging station. There’s also huge savings to be made, in terms of running costs; maintenance costs are expected to be 15% lower than conventional cars, parking’s free in certain areas, drivers are exempt from congestion charges and travel costs should work out at around £1.70 per 60 miles.

‘Sounds fantastic! What’s the snag?’ That would be the massive price tag…

At £28,990, the Leaf will retail at a similar price to the new, super slick (and super -fast) BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics – a tough decision for some. Another drawback is that the Leaf will have a maximum range of around 100 miles before battery power runs out. This parameter was set following research showing that the majority of UK drivers travel less than 60 miles per day. Yes, the range could be extended, but with the lithium-ion battery already one of the most expensive elements of the car, a further price hike would be tough to swallow.

A UK government scheme currently offers assistance for the first 8,600 petrol-free cars sold – a massive reduction on the initial projections that the grant would be available for 43,000 vehicles. This means that buyers of the first Leafs, will pay £23,900 – a saving of £5000. There are concerns that, once this funding has run out, consumers will be put off by the hefty price. Watch this space…

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