The affordable and efficient Nissan LEAF is scheduled to launch in December, and the manufacturer recently announced that Tennessee will be home to a large percentage of the first free public charging stations.
“You’ll find them at malls hopefully, rest areas, shopping areas,” Nissan LEAF product manger Paul Hawson told WKRN.
With a price tag of just under $33,000, and federal and state tax rebates that reduce that price by roughly $10,000, the Nissan LEAF is being called the first electric vehicle with commercial potential.
All dealers who sell the Nissan LEAF first must attain zero-emission certification. Certification includes extensive training, both online and in-person, as well as investing in the tools and charging to support the sale and service of the Nissan LEAF.
Over 20,000 LEAFs have been reserved in the U.S. alone. Tennessee is one of only five states to have access to the first vehicles to roll off the line.
This southern state with decidedly conservative leanings might seem like an odd choice for such preferential treatment, but it makes more sense when you learn that a Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee (which is about 20 miles south of Nashville) will begin manufacturing the LEAF in 2012.
Nissan expects that most owners will install a charging station at their own home to “re-fuel” the vehicle overnight.
However, Hawson hopes that free public charging stations will help convince consumers that they don’t have to be worried about venturing far from their home neighborhood.
“Basically the way we think of it today is ‘on my way to the movies, I will gas up, right?’” Hawson explained. “Actually, forget that. Let’s go to the movies, and while you’re watching, you’re refueling.”
Every Nissan LEAF will be fittied with an in-car navigation system that will automatically direct drivers to the nearest free charging station.
Image Credit: Flickr - cliff1066