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Nissan Leaf gets its first U.S. sale

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Nissan Leaf gets its first U.S. sale

Automaker plans to sell its affordable EV in large numbers

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

The first person in the United States who ordered an all-electric, battery-powered Nissan Leaf car will be the first to get one.

Nissan Motor Co. said Olivier Chalouhi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur living in the San Francisco Bay area, will take delivery of a black Nissan Leaf SL at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma today.

"Electricity is the new fuel for cars, and the Nissan Leaf has the potential to transform the automotive industry," said Carlos Tavares, Nissan's top executive for the Nissan Americas region.

Other automakers lease electric cars or, like Tesla Motors Inc., sell expensive electric roadsters in small volumes. But Nissan is the first automaker to launch an affordable electric car with plans to sell substantial numbers.

In the early years of the auto industry, streets were filled with gas-powered and electric cars, but electrics fell by the wayside because their range was limited.

Now, advances in battery technology have led automakers to revisit zero-emission electrics.

The Leaf, which has a 73-mile range, starts at $32,780, before a $7,500 federal tax credit and state credits. Nissan is launching the car in a few states but will make it available nationally in 2012.

J.D. Power and Associates predicts U.S. electric car sales will hit 90,000 vehicles a year by 2015, compared with 145,000 plug-in hybrids, such as General Motors Co.'s extended-range electric Volt.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101211/AUTO01/12110329/Nissan-Leaf-gets-its-first-U.S.-sale#ixzz180JSIdnY

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