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FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Nissan North America this week revealed U.S. pricing for the 2011 LEAF. This electric vehicle becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets this December and nationwide next year.

The vehicle is fully eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, pushing the MSRP of $32,780 down to $25,280. The automaker mentioned that the potential for state and local incentives could drop that price down further.

Examples Nissan mentioned were 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.

Nissan said the cost of a LEAF also includes three years of roadside assistance.

Should consumers want to lease this electric vehicle, Nissan indicated it will be able to offer a monthly lease payment starting at $349.

Because the automaker is expecting a high demand for these vehicles, executives have created a special strategy for the LEAF's launch.

—Nissan will begin accepting reservations on April 20 first from people who have signed up on NissanUSA.com, and after a brief introductory period, from all interested consumers.

—Consumers will be required to pay a $99 reservation fee, which is fully refundable.

—Reserving a Nissan LEAF ensures consumers a place in line when the automaker begins taking firm orders in August, as well as access to special upcoming LEAF events.

—Rollout to select markets will start December with nationwide availability coming in 2011.

Since the LEAF is powered completely by electricity, Nissan reminds its dealers that potential purchasers or lessees will need a special recharging station for the vehicle.

The automaker indicated that it will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220-volt supply, as well as their installation. Nissan stressed that it's providing these home-charging stations — which will be built and installed by AeroVironment — as part of a complete set-up process that includes a home assessment.

Nissan believes the average cost for the charging dock plus installation will be $2,200. Executives noted that the charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50-percent federal tax credit up to $2,000.

Based on current national electricity costs, Nissan asserts that LEAF will cost less than $3 to "fill up."

Along with the elimination of carbon emissions and other potential savings, Nissan executives highlighted several other aspects about the LEAF.

The vehicle at the SV trim level has an advanced navigation system and Internet/smartphone connectivity. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity, intelligent-key with push button start and Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities.

The automaker also said the LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials and front- and rear-bumper fascias

"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," highlighted Brian Carolin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nissan North America.

"Nissan leads the industry by offering the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the mass market. Nissan LEAF truly is in a class by itself," Carolin concluded.