Nissan reveals more about LEAF rollout, Hawaii sales

Nissan on Tuesday unveiled more of its strategy for selling the all-electric LEAF.

The automaker announced an agreement with the state of Hawaii to build a charging network throughout in the state. Nissan also revealed its plan for sending out the first of its vehicles later this year.

Consumers who reserved the cars -- about 18,600 -- received more information about available options, color and trim packages. The price tag for the SV package was listed as $32,780, while the SL package was $33,720. The SV includes a photovoltaic spoiler, rearview monitor and universal transceiver.

A quick-charge option on the SL costs an additional $700, enabling the driver to charge the LEAF to 80 percent in 30 minutes at high-voltage public charging stations.

Those who signed up first get preference, the company says.

The deal with Hawaii was announced at the week-long Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo in Honolulu. The cars will be available in Hawaii in January 2011.

Nissan said last month it will debut its all-electric LEAF in California and four other states in December. General Motors is expected to allow consumers to drive off in its Chevy Volt this fall.

Hawaii created a $4,500 state tax credit toward the purchase of an electric vehicle and a $500 state tax credit toward the purchase and installation of a home charging station. That paired with an available $7,500 federal tax credit, could bring the price of a Nissan LEAF to as low as $20,780 for Hawaii consumers, company officials said.

"Nissan is a global leader in electric vehicles, and the state of Hawaii has shown similar leadership through its progressive policies and focus on clean energy," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president of sales and Marketing for Nissan North America, in a statement.

The Nissan and Hawaii charging infrastructure deal should ease concerns about cars going dead on an extended trip. For many, the lack of range is a big concern that may push some to opt for Chevy's Volt.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle was pleased with the plan. "Nissan is playing an important role in helping us achieve the goal of reducing our dependence on imported oil," she said.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said more than 90 percent of the fuel and energy consumed in the state is from imported oil. "Hawaii should serve as a model of what is possible when government and business collaborate to plan a path forward into an energy efficient future," he said.

The Nissan LEAF is a five-passenger compact that has a top speed of 90 mph. Its lithium-ion batteries provide the car with a range of 100 miles, which Nissan officials estimate will be enough to satisfy the daily driving needs of more than 90 percent of Americans and to circle Oahu.