Abandon your doubts that an affordably priced EV will do well. Nissan's news yesterday confirms it: Almost 22,000 people in North America have contacted Nissan since it announced, in August, that the LEAF EV sedan—expected to hit showrooms in fall 2010—will cost approximately $20,000.
According to Nissan, 70% of the inquiries came from regions where the LEAF will be rolled out initially—San Diego, CA; Tucson, AZ; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR, and Los Angeles—and more than 90% drive less than 100 miles daily (the LEAF's range on a single charge). Preordering won't be available until spring 2010, but the initial interest in the LEAF indicates that EVs may finally move beyond the domain of wealthy Tesla Roadster owners. Tesla is preparing an all-electric economy car of its own—the Model S—but at $57,000+ it's no steal.
Is the LEAF the harbinger of affordable EVs? That depends on the success of initiatives like the Renault-Nissan Alliance in building a widespread electric car infrastructure. If they don't succeed, EVs will likely remain on the sidelines. But judging by the Alliance's rapidly expanding plan to install charging corridors throughout the U.S., we will probably see more low-priced EVs hit the streets in short order.