The company said it is introducing a new trim level in the car, the LEAF S, which will retail for $6,400 less than the starting price of last year's base LEAF. At $28,800 before any state or federal tax incentives for fuel-efficient cars, the MSRP on the 2013 LEAF S will be 18% lower than the starting price on last year's SV model, and, according to Nissan, will make the LEAF S "the lowest priced five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the United States."
The U.S. government grants certain car buyers a $7,500 federal income tax credit for purchasing an electric car such as the LEAF. Factoring in state tax credits, which vary from state to state, a new LEAF S could ultimately cost some car buyers as little as $18,800 out of pocket, Nissan said, "putting the LEAF on par with gas-powered vehicles of its size."
Other 2013 trim levels will cost more. The LEAF SV, for example, has a starting MSRP of $31,820 ($3,020 more than the S-Class). The top-tier LEAF SL starts at $34,840 ($6,040 more than the LEAF S). However, Nissan notes that these prices represent a $3,380 savings over a similar 2012 model in the case of the SV and a $2,410 savings over a 2012 model in the case of the SL.
Last week, the company confirmed that it was starting up assembly operations for the 2013 model year LEAF at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn.