The 100 percent electric, zero-emission vehicle will debut in Japan on Dec. 20 and in Europe early next year.
The Leaf is priced starting at $32,780 in the United States, and a government subsidy of $7,500 is applicable. In states such as California where the state government additionally provides a $5,000 subsidy, a customer can buy the car at just more than $20,000.
Olivier Chalouhi, 31, who was the first customer to buy the car, attended a ceremony in San Francisco on Saturday riding in a black Leaf. He told reporters that the Leaf is extremely quiet and like a vehicle of the future.
Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan, said drivers have earned the freedom to part from their dependence on fossil fuels with the zero-emission Leaf.
Nissan said it has already reached its first-phase sales target for the Leaf in the United States after having received 20,000 orders.
Competition among electric vehicles in the U.S. market is expected to heat up, as General Motors Co. also plans to start selling its hybrid electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, later this month.
Tavares said, however, that the Volt would not be a rival to the Leaf because it is a hybrid car that uses both gasoline and electricity.