Nissan Lowers Leaf Lease Price After New EV Tax Credit Rules
Between sagging sales and being cut off from the $7,500 vehicle tax credit, Nissan had to do something to breathe a little bit of life into its aging Leaf EV. As of April 18th, new rules about battery material sourcing under the Inflation Reduction Act meant Leaf buyers could no longer take advantage of the discount.
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According to Automotive News, in order to help combat that and the rising number of more competent electric vehicles, Nissan has decided to drop monthly payments on the base Leaf to $309. That’s a $20 drop over the previous rate for a 36-month lease. So, if you add it all up, over the course of a three-year lease, you are saving $720. That may not sound like too much, but Nissan is also dropping Leaf down payments by 21 percent to just $1,999 due at signing, AutoNews reports. That certainly sweetens the deal a bit.
“We’re looking to make sure that we’re providing good value, but we’re also competitive in the market,” Brian Brockman, a spokesperson for Nissan, told Automotive News.
The loss of the EV tax credit comes at a really rough time for the long-in-the-tooth Leaf. It’s struggled to keep up with more contemporary, longer-range competitors. The outlet reports that sales of the Leaf, one of the cheapest EVs on the market, peaked back in 2014 at 30,200 units. They have fallen a long way since then. In 2022, Nissan reportedly sold just 12,025 Leafs, and that was a 16 percent decline from the previous year. A replacement is apparently coming in a few years, so the Leaf will have to soldier on until then.
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It may seem a bit odd that the Leaf is losing its tax credit. After all, it’s built and batteries are sourced right in Smyrna, Tennessee, but that’s not enough anymore. AutoNews says that under the new rules, in order to qualify for the full $7,500 credit, at least 40 percent of the value of the EV battery’s critical material must be extracted or processed in the U.S. or in a country where the U.S. has a free-trade agreement, or from materials recycled in North America. On top of that, at least half of the value of the battery’s components must be made or assembled in North America. That’s just the beginning, though. The outlet reports that by 2027 that number has to be 80 percent, and by 2029, 100 percent of the battery must adhere to those standards.
“Nissan has not yet been able to certify that it meets new battery components and critical material requirements,” Brockman told the outlet. “We are working closely with our suppliers and are hopeful that the Leaf will qualify for at least particle credit in the future.
Even without the tax credit, the Leaf is still one of the cheapest EVs on sale today, starting at just $29,139 (including destination).