Nissan, Japan's third-biggest carmaker, said on Monday its Leaf electric car would cost under 30,000 euros ($38,110) in most European countries after incentives offered by governments to push the new technology.

Nissan Motor Co and French alliance partner Renault are investing over 4 billion euros in electric vehicles and see them accounting for 10 percent of new car sales by 2020, an ambitious forecast compared with those of other carmakers and analysts. Electric vehicles are expected to account for 4.5 percent of the total 100 million strong light vehicle market by 2020, according to a recent report by HSBC analysts.

Nissan said the Leaf hatchback, which has a cruising range of 160 kilometers, would cost 29,955 euros ($38,050) after incentives in Portugal, and 29,995 euros after incentives in Ireland, including the battery.

In the Netherlands, buyers would pay 32,839 euros for the car and benefit from 6,000-19,000 euros in tax savings over five years.

In the UK, the Leaf, which will be built in Nissan's UK Sunderland plant from 2013, would cost 23,350 pounds after government incentives, including the battery, Nissan said.

Nissan said the price would be about the same as a comparably-equipped diesel or hybrid vehicle.

Nissan said it had chosen the four markets for the initial launch in Europe because of significant government incentives for electric cars and the ongoing development of charging infrastructure for their successful adoption.

By the end of 2011, the Leaf would be available in all major Western European countries, it said.

Potential customers can start registering for a Leaf from July. The cars are due to arrive in Europe early next year.

In the U.S. the Leaf is priced at $32,780 excluding federal tax credits or other incentives, which could cut the Leaf's price to around 10 percent more than the $23,000 starting price for a Toyota Prius.

(Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Sharon Lindores)