The city of Christchurch, located in southern New Zealand is destined to become the first city to welcome Nissan’s new electric car, the Leaf.
According to the Christchurch City Council, 2012 will see the arrival of the highway-capable and affordable 5-seat electric car. The council is also making plans to have recharging points installed across the city.
Christchurch is a favourable city for electric cars due to it’s flat topography. Nissan’s marketing manager Peter Merrie says Christchurch was the “most obvious” city to work with regarding electric car implementation in New Zealand.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said he wanted the city to be the first in New Zealand with an integrated network for electric cars, and that the Leaf fits in well with the city’s sustainability program.
The Nissan Leaf (which stands for Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car) has a range of 160 kilometres (100 miles) and a 24 kWh battery pack. When charging from a standard 230 volt New Zealand wall-outlet it’s estimated to take around 8 hours to recharge from empty.
Another initiative was to give a second hour of free parking in council car parks to owners of energy-efficient vehicles, Mayor Bob Parker said.
What hasn’t been revealed by Nissan New Zealand however is the cost of leasing of the Leaf’s battery pack. In the United States, the Leaf is predicted to have a sticker price of around $30,000 US ($42,000 NZ) – and this doesn’t include the battery pack.
According to BusinessWeek, the Leaf’s battery pack costs approximately $10,000 US to manufacture and Nissan will always remain the owner of this pack which is only leased to the consumer for approximately $150 US ($213 NZ) per month.
This means if you hang on to your new Leaf for 6 years, you’ll have already paid off the battery in leasing fees. Not only that, but the car remains at the mercy of Nissan: They’re within their rights to change lease pricing and/or recall battery packs as they please.
This means your new Leaf could easily become the next EV1 – the only difference being that while your Leaf won’t be crushed, it’s battery certainly could be; leaving your shiny new electric car sitting dead on your driveway.