The lithium-ion battery, which stores 24 kilowatt-hours of energy, is the most expensive component of the Leaf, which will sell for $32,780 in the U.S. before government incentives for consumers.
Nissan is introducing the Leaf in response to government emissions rules and potentially higher oil prices, among other reasons.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said earlier this week that he aims to have capacity to build 500,000 electric cars a year by 2012. He estimates demand will reach 10 percent of the global car market by 2020.
Other forecasts are lower. Electric-drive vehicles will amount to no more than 1 percent of the global market by 2020, said Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries, a consulting firm based in Oregon House, Calif.
This follows other estimates, including one by the Boston Consulting Group, that are far lower than Nissan's. Anderman says lithium-ion batteries are going to cost much more and perform more poorly than Nissan and other carmakers assume.
After a $7,500 federal tax credit, the all-electric car will cost about $25,280 in the U.S. Besides Tennessee, other states that will get the Leaf first include Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. A nationwide rollout will occur during 2011, with additional markets added each month.
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