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News Link • Transportation

First Buyers of Nissan Leaf Get a Trunkful of Perks

• Bill Vlasic via The New York Times
Tax credits, rebate checks, personalized home visits, government giveaways — even customer service calls from top corporate executives.

The first all-electric car from a major auto company, the Nissan Leaf, arrives at dealerships in December, but thousands of Americans are already learning that going electric can come with perks like no other car purchase.

“It just keeps getting better and better,” said Justin McNaughton, among the 20,000 people who have reserved a Leaf. “My wife thinks it’s funny because at the end of the day, we’re just buying a car.”

Since Mr. McNaughton, a lawyer in Nashville, paid his $99 deposit, he has been bombarded with government incentives — promises of a $7,500 federal tax credit, a $2,500 cash rebate from the state of Tennessee, and a $3,000 home-charging unit courtesy of the Energy Department.

When he had questions about the Leaf, the answers came in a 40-minute telephone call from a senior manager in Nissan’s corporate planning department.

“You kind of feel like you’re one of the chosen people,” Mr. McNaughton said.

Precisely. It is all part of an unprecedented effort by federal, state and local governments to stimulate demand for cars that have zero tailpipe emissions — and Nissan’s pre-emptive bid to corner the all-electric market much the way that Toyota dominated the early hybrid market with the Prius.

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