The all-electric, battery-powered Leaf will sell in Japan for 3.76 million yen, around $40,600 USD, although current Japanese law provides a hefty subsidy for the purchase of such eco-friendly cars. After the subsidy, the car should cost a shade under 3 million yen, or around $32,400 USD--comparable to the roughly $30,000 price tag (after subsidy) now pinned to Chevy's Volt. Even better: the car is due for launch in Japan this year, with U.S. and European releases coming soon after.
Nissan, currently the number 3 automaker in Japan (though largely owned by French company Renault), will start taking orders in Japan on April 1. The very first deliveries should come in December. In the U.S., you'll be able to put down a very small ($100) deposit on a pre-order, and should be able to officially order a Leaf in August. Nissan says the first American-bound cars should arrive in December as well.
Nissan is taking the Leaf's rollout worldwide very seriously--they've got a Japanese factory to churn them out, as expected, but in 2012 they'll begin manufacturing the Leaf in a factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, and the following year they'll start European production in Sunderland, England.
Nissan hasn't announced American pricing, but Japanese cars are often cheaper in the States than in Japan--so the Leaf may actually hit that $35,000 goal we heard last month. Of course, we don't know if the battery will be included in that price, which could put the car into a different price bracket, but the Leaf is still highly affordable compared to early electric cars like those from Tesla. Evidently customers agree, given the huge number of pre-orders Nissan's taken for the Leaf.