CHICAGO – Motorists purchasing the new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle when introduced in late 2010 will get a helping hand, a free recharging station installed at their home.

There's a catch of course: The $1,500 to $2,000 recharging system will be a limited bonus given away to the first 1,000 Leaf buyers in selected areas of Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego and Tennessee, Wally Burchfield, Midwest region vice president for Nissan, tells a meeting of the Midwest Automotive Media Assn.

The recharging stations will be funded via government grants arranged through state and local utility companies.

By the time Leaf arrives, more state and local governments are expected to take part in similar programs that will ease the expense of installing a recharging station in the home for a battery-only powered car.

Burchfield says Leaf should obtain up to 100 miles (161 km) on a charge before the lithium-ion pack needs recharging.

Consumers will have the choice of plugging the car into a regular 110V outlet in the garage for a lengthy 15- to 16-hour charge, or use a 220V recharging station that can cut the time to four hours or as little as 25 minutes for an 80% recharge using a 480V outlet.

Burchfield says there are no plans to expand availability of the hybrid gas/electric Nissan Altima now offered in a handful of states or to expand hybrid offerings with other models.

The Altima uses a hybrid system provided by Toyota Motor Corp.

Nissan won't offer additional Altima hybrids or other hybrid models until after 2011, when it will bring out a hybrid Infiniti M using its own powertrain technology. Other Nissan/Infiniti hybrids will follow after that.