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BUSINESS BUZZ: New Nissan Leaf now in local showrooms

MURFREESBORO — The 2013 Leaf, built in Smyrna, is now in showrooms in Tennessee, including Nissan of Murfreesboro.

Justin Humphrey, electric vehicle specialist with the Murfreesboro Nissan dealership, said the local dealership on Memorial has already sold two 2013 Leaf vehicles and has a white Leaf SV in stock.

“Initial production of the Leaf (in Tennessee) began in December, with a strong ramp-up in January,” said Justin Saia, manager of corporate communications with Nissan North America in Franklin. “But it may take until the end of March for dealer inventories and vehicle availabilities to fill up.”

Humphrey pulled the 2013 Nissan LEAF SV out of the massive showroom on Memorial Boulevard last week to give it a test drive.

The sticker on the window says “Innovation that Excites. 100 percent electric. No Gas. No tailpipe. List price, $32,985.”

But with no gasoline required, there are savings. Annual fuel cost in electricity costs, according to the sticker, is estimated at $500. Advertised savings in fuel costs over five years are $9,100, “compared to the average new vehicle.”

The dealership averaged selling seven to eight Leafs a month in 2012.

“The gas savings are the biggest benefit for the customer,” said Humphrey. “That and no maintenance.”

Combined city highway fuel economy is listed at 116 MPGe; 130 in the city and 102 on the highway.

The Leaf comes equipped with a “Carwings system” that Humphrey said “allows you to talk to your car through a laptop or smartphone.”

The function also allows you to turn on the vehicle pre-heat or pre-cool the interior prior to getting in and driving off.

The electric vehicle specialist explained that if you are in a location that charges different rates of electricity at different times of day, you can tell it to start charging or stop charging depending on these rates. You can check the battery charging status of the car. You can even cut the car on while it is still connected to the battery charger (using a wall outlet instead of using the car’s battery directly.)
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