For automakers, building hybrid or electric vehicles is typically an expensive affair. Toyota lost money on its vaulted Prius for years, and General Motors isn’t expected to recoup costs spent on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for quite some time. Nissan believes it can buck that trend. In fact, the automaker says it will turn a profit on every 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle sold.
“We are making money at the price that we announced,” Mark Perry, Nissan’s director of North American product planning, told Reuters. “We priced the car to be affordable. We priced it for mass adoption.”
That price point, for the record, is nearly $32,780, excluding the various tax rebates and incentives offered on both the state and federal level. Customers in California could feasibly rack up enough incentives to drop the sticker price by more than $10,000.
Although that’s a relatively low price for an electric vehicle, Nissan was able to keep development costs in line by sharing components where necessary. For instance, the Leaf rides upon a platform that culls from the existing Renault-Nissan C-platform, used in the likes of the Sentra.
That affordable price point seems to be resonating with consumers. Nissan began accepting pre-orders from U.S. buyers nine days ago, and has since racked up more than 8000 reservations. The company believes it is well on track to book more than 25,000 orders for the car’s first year of production. Nissan will limit early deliveries — scheduled for later this year — to customers in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington, but will ultimately expand to buyers across the U.S.