Cheapest EV: 2022 Nissan Leaf price cut $4,170, could cost less than $21,000

Nissan cut the price of the 2022 Leaf electric compact car by $4,170, the automaker announced this week. With an available $7,500 federal tax credit, the 2022 Nissan Leaf could be purchased for $20,875, including a $975 destination fee. That makes it one of the most affordable new cars on the market, and the most affordable electric vehicle. 

The price cut happens in a current that bodes well for affordable electric vehicles such as the Leaf. New car prices have reached record highs, eclipsing $40,000, in part due to pandemic-induced supply constraints, and the Biden administration is targeting 50% of new car sales in 2030 to come from plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and electric vehicles such as the Leaf. 

Launched in December 2010, the Nissan Leaf was the first electric vehicle made for the masses. It was sold nationwide instead of being a compliance car limited to California and other zero-emission states, and it cost about $34,000. It had a 73-mile range and an electric motor that made 107 hp. 

The 2022 Nissan Leaf costs $28,375, including destination, and the range and output have more than doubled from the first model to 149 miles thanks to a 40-kwh battery and 147-hp motor. Unlike any Tesla or GM electric vehicle, the Leaf still qualifies for the full EV tax credit for owners who have up to a $7,500 tax bill at the end of the year. If you owe $3,000, the credit will only be $3,000, and you won't get a refund for $4,500. 

Regardless, the 2022 price cut makes it less expensive than the previous EV bargain buy in the 2022 Mini Cooper SE that costs $30,750. Earlier this year, GM cut the price of the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV to $31,995. 

Offered in Leaf and Leaf Plus models with a 62-kwh battery pack and up to 226-mile range, every Leaf comes with a CHAdeMO fast-charging for Level 3 charging and a portable 240-volt charging cable for Level 2 charging. 

The Leaf is sold in S ($28,375) and SV ($29,775) trims. 

The Leaf Plus uses a 62-kwh battery and more powerful 160-kw motor that makes 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. Base Leaf S Plus models cost $33,375 and have a 226-mile range. The Leaf SV Plus ($36,375) and Leaf SL Plus ($38,375) have a 215-mile range. The SV Plus now comes standard with a surround-view camera system and limited hands-free driving system with adaptive cruise control that can restart from a stop. 

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