Nissan's New New Electric 'Leaf' Car Priced Lower Than Expected : The Two-Way Will consumers want to charge their cars like cell phones? That notion is expected to be put to the test this year with Nissan's announcement of the pricing for its new Leaf electric car which it plans to start delivering in December. General Moto...

Nissan's New New Electric 'Leaf' Car Priced Lower Than Expected

Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer of Japan's Nissan Motor, poses with charging cord attached to a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle during a press conference on at the company's Yokohama headquarters on March 30, 2010. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Will consumers want to charge their cars like cell phones?

That notion is expected to be put to the test this year with Nissan's announcement of the pricing for its new Leaf electric car which it plans to start delivering in December. General Motors also plans to start selling its Volt later this year.

Nissan said Tuesday the Leaf will be priced at $32,780. That means when the $7,500 federal tax credit is subtracted, the car's base price would be just north of $25,000.

That price is significantly less than some observers had expected, according to the Washington Post.

The relative affordability of the announced price surprised some industry observers. Nissan officials say that breakthroughs in research on batteries, combined with a $7,500 federal tax credit for the battery-powered cars, has enabled the company to make the cars available at that price.

But as the WaPo notes, there are some imponderables right now. For instance, it's one thing to need your cell phone and find it's out of juice because you forgot to charge it before going to bed. It's entirely another matter when it's your car that you neglected to plug in.

Among the unknowns is how consumers will react to a car that must be recharged after 100 miles, and that to be really convenient, must be used with a home charging dock. The 220-volt charging dock will cost $2,200, including installation, according to the company. A tax credit will defray 50 percent of that cost, as well.

Another potential drawback is that while the price is lower than many had expected, it is still a few thousand dollars more than comparably sized cars such as the Honda Civic or Ford Focus.

The 100-mile limit before requiring a charge and the fact that a $2,200 charging dock is required for optimal charging would seem to be the kind of limitations that would dampen consumer excitement.

The Detroit Free Press reports the car will be made in Tennessee.

Nissan is renovating the Smyrna, Tenn., plant to build the 5-seat hatchback with the help of a $1.4 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The updated plant, which will also make batteries, will be built to make as many as 200,000 Leafs a year.