Nissan North America has priced the Leaf electric vehicle at US$32,780 but said the car qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit and so its net cost will be $25,280.

“Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging a Leaf – such as a $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; and carpool-lane access in some states, including California,” the automaker added.

The company will start taking orders on 20 April for purchase or lease in some states in December and nationwide in 2011.

The price includes three years of roadside assistance.

As a result of aggressive pricing and the availability of the $7,500 federal tax credit whose benefit is immediately included, Nissan will be able to offer a monthly lease payment beginning at $349, not including state or local incentives.

“Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again. Or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel. Or of creating zero emissions while driving,” said NNA sales and marketing chief Brian Carolin. “Nissan leads the industry by offering the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the mass market.”

In the US, the standard SV trim level will include navigation system and internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, enabling pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control, energy-efficient LED headlights, Bluetooth, intelligent key with push button start, Sirius/XM satellite radio, vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, for an additional $940, adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights and automatic headlights.

In order to ensure a one-stop-shop customer experience, Nissan is carefully managing the purchase process from the first step, when consumers sign up on a website, until the customer takes the Leaf home and plugs it into a personal charging dock.

Consumers will be required to pay a $99 reservation fee, which is fully refundable. Reserving a Leaf ensures consumers a place in line when Nissan begins taking firm orders in August, as well as access to events.

In tandem with the purchase process, Nissan will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220 volt supply, as well as their installation. Nissan is providing these home charging stations, which will be built and installed by AeroVironment, as part of a one-stop-shop process that includes a home assessment.

The average cost for the charging dock plus installation will be $2,200 but both dock and installation are eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to $2,000.

Using current national electricity averages, the Leaf will cost less than $3 to ‘fill up’.

The Leaf also will be the sole vehicle available as part of The EV Project, which is led by EV infrastructure provider eTec, a division of ECOtality, and will provide free home-charging stations and installation for up to 4,700 owners in those markets.

Nissan Leaf undercuts rivals in Japan