Nissan today announced the 2013 Nissan Leaf will be available in Puerto Rico, making it the first Latin America market for Nissan’s electric car. Nissan and Puerto Rico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 14 months ago, and now it has become reality, partly due to a new law eliminating import duties for electric vehicles.
Zero emissions, zero excise taxes: Puerto Rico’s Governor Fortuno signed a law on Aug 23 eliminating import excise taxes for electric vehicles. The elimination of this tax is in recognition of environmental advantages. This tax reduction measure will last through 2016 for electric vehicles only, a different tax reduction for hybrid vehicles will last for one year.
Charging infrastructure in Puerto Rico: Nissan has long had a stance of partnering with localities that put support into infrastructure development required for electric cars. The municipalities of Bayamón and Ponce have installed public charging stations. Nissan is installing charging stations in Cataño and Toa Baja. Also, public and private entities have installed charges in Carolina, Santurce and Río Piedras.
The announcement does not contain any new information about the 2013 Nissan Leaf. Those of us waiting for details about the new model of the Leaf will just have to find patience somewhere. A couple weeks ago news surfaced in the Japanese press suggesting the 2013 Leaf may have a longer driving range and have a few stylistic changes. It is known the 2013 Leaf is being manufactured at a new factory in Smyrna, TN, which has created the scuttlebutt opinion that the 2013 Leaf will have a lower price in the U.S. both because of higher production volume and because import duties are not levied for domestically produced cars.
To date there have been over 35,000 Nissan Leaf’s sold world-wide. In addition to the new factory in Smyrna, Nissan plans to start Leaf production in England as well under a strategy to build the Leaf on the continent where it is sold. Production volume of the Leaf is expected to jump dramatically for the 2013 model year, because of the new factories.
“Nissan made a conscious investment on zero-emissions mobility with a 100 percent electric car that has proven its quality under extremely different driving conditions around the world. We are proud to collaborate with some of the most progressive national, state and local governments – in terms of EV policies – which enable the arrival of the Nissan LEAF by following through on their environmental vision. Public sector partners, such as Puerto Rico, recognize their role, not just as supporters of green technologies, but as change agents that consider the practical conditions under which the future can be ´pulled forward’ and realized today,” said Bill Krueger, vice-chairman of Nissan Americas.