Electric Vehicle Price Drop

This week the Globe and Mail reported that both Nissan, GM and Mitsubishi have all recently dropped their prices, or are offering time limited incentives, on their plug-in electric vehicle models.

The new S version of the Nissan Leaf debuting next month will retail at $31,698.  Buyers in Ontario will receive $8,500 back from the provincial government lowering the price to $23,198.  The SV version, was the lowest-priced model in 2012 at $38,395, will now cost $34,998 and will include a Level 2 (240V) charger.

2013 Nissan Leaf (Source: Nissan USA)

2013 Nissan Leaf (Source: Nissan USA)

Likewise, General Motors is offering a $4,000 incentive in the US towards its plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Volt, which has both a gasoline engine and electric motor. Finally, Mitsubishi Canada is offering between $5,000 and $7,000 off two versions of its full battery electric i-MiEV bringing the base model down to $30,998, or $22,498 in Ontario and slightly higher in Quebec and B.C.

For those interested in making the leap to electric vehicles, now is a good opportunity to make the investment as prices have never been this low.  With the cost of refueling the vehicles in the sub $5 range for most consumers across the country, along with the reduced maintenance costs, some real savings can be had by choosing electric vehicles.  This is not to mention the added benefits of the high torque, quiet ride and low center of gravity.

Although there have been downward pressures in the cost of the lithium batteries that store the energy in these vehicles, the question remains how long these incentives can be offered as the batteries can make up to one third the cost of the vehicles.  Time will tell.

Sources: Globe and Mail, Mitsubishi Canada

EV News Roundup

In electric vehicle news this week Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, tweeted that Tesla will likely be repaying its US Department of Energy loan on Wednesday, almost 9 years ahead of schedule. Tesla is also planning to raise more capital through a new stock offering of 2,703,027 common shares (Source: Business Insider).

Infiniti will be getting a new electric vehicle model based on the Nissan Leaf platform, but with a different interior and exterior.  In addition, the new vehicle will feature inductive charging which does away with cables all together. No word yet on when such a model would launch (Source: Autocar.co.uk).

Plug-in America, an electric vehicle non-profit, estimates that as of this week over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the US in just over two years. While electric vehicles are still fraction of overall new vehicles sales in raw numbers, the Plug-In America press release highlights some interesting statistics:

(Source: Plug-in America)

Tesla Model S is outselling its competition

Tesla Model S is outselling its competition according to Plug-In America (Image: Tesla Motors)

Nissan Leaf warranty to now include battery capacity loss

Nissan USA announced yesterday that all existing and future Nissan Leaf’s sold in the US will have the battery covered under warranty for capacity loss for the first five years, or 60,000 miles of ownership. That is, if the battery capacity declines by over 30% (providing less than 9 out of the available 12 bars on the gauge), the battery will be fixed or replaced under warranty.  Nissan is the first electric vehicle manufacturer to offer such a warranty and could be a game changer.

Nissan Leaf owners to gain warranty coverage for battery capacity loss

Nissan Leaf owners to gain warranty coverage for battery capacity loss

The longevity of the battery contained within electric vehicles has been a concern for some consumers and could have a negative impact on purchases.  Like the batteries powering today’s smart phones and laptops, over time the capacity of the battery will decline due to the nature of the battery technology itself.  This is a common occurrence and depends on a number of factors include but not limited to type of use, extreme temperatures and the number of charge cycles.

While replacing a mobile phone or laptop battery can be expensive, it’s no where near the cost of replacing the battery powering an electric vehicle which makes up a significant amount of the cost of the vehicle itself.   By offering this warranty Nissan is differentiating itself in the electric vehicle market.

Time will tell how much impact this will have on the sales of the Leaf, which to date have not lived up to initial expectations. That being said one could argue the initial expectations for all electric vehicles sales over the short term were exaggerated to begin with.

It will also be interesting to see if any other electric vehicle manufacturer will follow Nissan’s lead and start covering battery capacity loss under the warranty of the vehicle. The Nissan announcement did not include any information on how much this new warranty coverage will cost the company.

Further details on the new Nissan warranty coverage will be communicated in the new year.

Read the original announcement

Source: Automotive News, MyNissanLEAF.com

The Ups and Downs of Electric Vehicle Prices

News recently that Tesla will soon be increasing the price for their Motor Trend Car of the Year, the Model S.  No information on how much more the Model S will cost, but if you are in the market for one you may wish to lay down your cash soon before it goes up. It appears current reservation holders won’t be affected by the increase.  The price increase will also impact the options package with some features currently considered standard equipment becoming an added cost option in the future.

Tesla Model S is getting a yet to be announced price increase.

On a related note, the Nissan Leaf will be getting a price reduction along with a increase in range.  The price and range adjustments will initially be for the Japanese version of the all electric vehicle, however, the changes are expected to follow for the US version in 2013.  The new model will be able to travel up to 15% further.  The current range of the Leaf is approximately 160 kms (100 miles), but can vary depending weather conditions and use of climate control.

The Japanese version of the Nissan Leaf is getting a price decrease and range increase. Changes to the US model are expected to follow.

Stretched Nissan Leaf All Electric Vehicle

How’s this for a riding in style with no-tailpipe emissions to boot?

The Tennessean recently reported a local hotel has acquired a modified all electric Nissan Leaf to shuttle guests around town.  It took seven weeks to modify the vehicle which can now accommodate 8 passengers (up from 5) and operates on the stock battery.

As part of the job mirrors, plush leather and cedar paneling were all added to the vehicle.

It’s a novel way to attract customers to your hotel.

Stretched Nissan Leaf. Photo source: Nissan.

It should be noted the North American head offices of Nissan, maker of the Leaf, is less than a mile away from the hotel.