Now that tax season is over, I was able to get someone on the phone at the Colorado Department of Revenue and ask about the Leaf tax credit for 2013. The gentleman confirmed that the credit amounts for 2013 have not been released. At different points in the conversation he indicated they should be out "in May" or "the next couple months". Rather annoying, since I am ready to buy now and this is obviously a factor, but at least it won't be Dec or Jan like last year. He said last year was an overhaul of the program, which is why it took so long, and this year is just tweaks, so it should be sooner.
I took a test drive at the Boulder Nissan dealership on Weds. Really liked the sales person. Very knowledgeable and he did not over-sell the car or its capabilities.
I was going to wait till the end of the year to buy to try and get the best possible price on a 2013, but it turns out my cousin's husband works for Inifiniti. For the month of April, the VPP price is $1,000 under invoice. Salesman couldn't/wouldn't say if this offer will extend into May, which has me considering a purchase in the coming days. This would put the price for an S with the charger package at $21,039 (after the Federal tax credit). I plan to trickle charge the Leaf at night in my garage and forgo (at least to start) a home charging station, but decided I wanted the QC port to take advantage of public stations as they hopefully become available in coming years.
My gut is the CO state credit will be less than the $4,600 offered for 2012, but hopefully still north of $2,000. I guess it all depends on which ICE the are using as the comparable and what trim level of the Leaf they compare it to. I just don't see them dropping the credit to 0 for an all-electric. What would be the point of the credit? Then again, the tax code is often irrational.
Regardless of what the CO state credit amount, I'm fairly comfortable pulling the trigger. I'm betting on long-term ownership (5-8 years). My rnd-trip commute is only 34 miles, so even with 30 percent battery degradation I would have an approximate range of 53 miles. I realize the technology will likely improve rapidly in this time span, but all I care is that the car gets me from point A to point B safely, reliably, as cheaply as possible, and with as little environmental impact as possible. I have three young boys and a 2012 Honda Odyssey for any long trips and my wife's old Xtrerra (2000) for mountain excursions. The Leaf will be strictly a commuter and around town vehicle. The Leaf will replace my 2001 Saturn SL1, which has 125,000 miles.
By my math, even without a State tax credit and factoring in some heavy depreciation, the five-year cost to own the Leaf is at worst a break-even proposition when comparing the cost of ownership of a similar ICE with a starting MSRP of $20,000. Anything beyond the first five years and the battery warranty would be gravy and improve the price of ownership over the comparable ICE (maintenance and fuel savings increase and relative depreciation gap narrows b/c almost all cars end up at zero in the end). Hopefully, Nissan will offer an affordable battery replacement pack in this time span, but I'm not counting on it.
This site has been tremendously valuable in helping research this car and weigh options. So, I'd be interested in the community's thoughts on any of the above before I make the plunge.