Nissan LEAF To Get 25% More Range, Cheaper Entry Model In 2013 According To Report

2 years ago by Jay Cole 17

Report: Nissan LEAF To Feature More Range, Cheaper Base Model

In a report out of Japan, the Nissan LEAF is going to get both a range upgrade and a second, entry level, model by year’s end.

According to the SankeiBiz, (and armed with our Babel fish language translator), the Nissan LEAF’s range will be expanding to exceed 250km, or 155 miles.

Nissan LEAF And Its Alliance Partner, The Renault Fluence ZE (Rio De Janeiro in June)

Now before anyone gets too excited at the apparent equaling of the base Tesla Model S’ range (160 miles) by Nissan, it is important to remember that this 250+ km is on the impossible to achieve Japanese cycle.  A cycle that sees the current LEAF’s range at about 200km.

However, while the Japanese numbers (and they way they are calculated) might stretch the truth somewhat, the percentages don’t.  If 200 km = 73 miles in the US on the EPA schedule, then a 25% improvement in Japan means the US figure would jump to about 91 miles per charge, passing current ‘value leader’ the Honda Fit EV at 82 miles.

How is this achieved?  By “improving the efficiency of motors and aims to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries installed,” according to the report.  Clearly, there is a little something lost in the translation, but a better transmission and more kWhs for the battery pack can be inferred.

Will Nissan's Smyrna, TN Plant Produce An Entry Level LEAF Next Year? We Hope So.

In other news,  the report says Nissan is going to offer a second, cheaper model of the LEAF with less range for ¥2.5 million ($31, 700USD) after ¥300K subsidy.  The LEAF currently sells at a starting price, before incentives of ¥3.7 million, or $47,500.

A similar price reduction in North America, would price this new base Nissan LEAF at $26,600.

This development if proven accurate, would certainly go along way to making Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s prediction of 20,000 LEAFs sold by the end of March 2013, and the significant improvement in sales after the LEAF starts production in Smyrna, TN a lot more reasonable.

We contacted Nissan directly about this report and they decided it was best to not comment.

SankeiBiz

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17 responses to "Nissan LEAF To Get 25% More Range, Cheaper Entry Model In 2013 According To Report"

  1. Kelly Olsen says:

    If true, this is very good and welcome news. A 25% increase in mileage per charge could be meaningful to many potential buyers. Also, a lower cost LEAF, even without the extra range will put the car within grasp of a larger segment of the population.

    1. Kelly Olsen says:

      Nissan representatives stated last weekend at the Santa Monica AltCar Expo that the stories of new longer range batteries and 6.6 charging are NOT true. The exact quote was, “There will be no change in the 2013 model.” I hope they were misinformed or at least were saying this because they want to move current inventory of 2012 models.

  2. I guess I’m a little gun shy. It seems like the usual not really accurate data that everybody is inferring what they want it to mean. It seems like this is a smoke screen for what the car really is: Bold New Graphics for 2013, with the same battery that never went 200km anyway (in the USA, exactly 4 people have publicly admitted to exceeding 200km (124 miles), and the first was done on a test track at 35 mph.

    So, even if the battery is pumped up 25% in capacity (which I seriously doubt), it will still not be easy to hit even 200km. There’s not much to be gained with motor efficiency; it’s already super efficient. No transmission is going to help 25%.

    Anyhoo, before folks hyperventilate themselves into an EV coma, let me suggest that this just may be engineering by the marketing department. It does make sense, however, that they would offer a cheaper, smaller battery version. Sure, that’s reasonable.

    Tony

    1. backstroke says:

      Batteries will continue to improve year by year along with a whole bunch of other component areas, tyres(tires), regen breaking, heating/cooling, etc etc., so range will continue to edge up in future models even without going for more kWh. Lets see how things turn out with MY13.

      Personally believe Nissan with their heavy investments now in place need to sell a whole lot of product to cover costs. Better products will help but prices have got to come down. A cheaper model aided by a locally produced version unhindered by the strong Yen could be the trick. Be aggressive Nissan.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Tony,

        If we have learned one thing about the plug-in industry it is always very wise to temper your excitement, until you have it in your hands, and can experience it first hand, lol. Even seeing the cars to the market from concept seems like a 10 to 1 shot.

        Personal note: I couldn’t hit 200km on an attempt myself (albeit in the city), best I could do was 192…and I was working hard.

  3. robster says:

    @Tony Williams:

    If you see that the Volt gained already 10% in range (35 to 38miles) by tweaking the battery in one model year, there should be room for significant improvement for the Leaf after three years.

    Nissan puts enormous amounts of money in their EV’s, and they do not want to generate huge dissapointments with the public, by over promissing. Therefore I think there could be more truth in these words than you might expect.

    Anyhoo, I’m very curious about the EPA range, the European looks and the pricing of the 2013 Nissan Leaf!

  4. Brian says:

    One more reason I’m glad I leased my 2012 Leaf. Whether or not this pans out as advertised, there’s a good chance that by 2015, we’ll see a leaf with an EPA rating of 100 miles. The future is bright!

  5. SteveT says:

    Over 90 miles doesnt seem a big jump from 73 but it is. I dont like being down at 2 red bars even though I know there is lots of range left, like 20 miles. Im sure lots of people are only comfortable when there is only 15-20 miles left. this changes my comfort miles from about 50 to 70, 40% more

  6. vdiv says:

    Why would one want a Leaf with a lower range regardless of the cost? We already have the plug-in Prius with roughly 11 mile EV range and hardly anyone is buying it. The market is still too small for the manufacturers to segment it already.

    1. SteveT says:

      I think the report is saying there would be a 91 mile Leaf for the same price as today, and the other, 73 miles Leaf would have a big price discount.

      A $27,000 Leaf before $7,500 incentive would be a big big seller. electric cars are $35,000-$40,000 now & only few can spend that high to get a car, market would get much bigger under$20,000

  7. Anthony says:

    Wasn’t the LEAF also supposed to have a more efficient heat pump for HVAC in the 2013 MY as well? This would pull up the worst-case range the EV would experience in bad weather. To me, the more narrow the range of best/worst case range the better to put people’s mind at ease, instead of thinking, “What kind of range will I get today?”

    Anyways, I hope the cars and batteries get made in the US soon, and the prices come down correspondingly.

  8. Stuart22 says:

    Meanwhile, we are still waiting for Nissan to announce a battery that won’t prematurely degrade in hot climates. Unbelievably irresponsible of them not to fix this issue first.

    Caveat emptor….

  9. James says:

    Nissan has to do something – and fast, with the LEAF. Starting manufacturing in Smyrna with sagging sales and dubious explanations….With disgruntled customers and declining range and battery life….Nissan HAS to do something…

    Best case scenario would be a thermally-controlled battery pack, and we know it’s unlikely that could happen for the 1st generation LEAF. I’m not sure there could be a 2nd generation LEAF as it seems to have fallen on it’s face pretty badly. Kudos to Ghosn for the good ole college try.

    Giving LEAF buyers 160 mile range ( for owners in moderate climates ) would save LEAF but most here agree seeing that kind of range uptick is highly unlikely. When a car has a total range of about 70 miles, this is the strongest evidence that electric cars are not yet ready for prime time. A $30,000 ( by government subsidy ) commuter toy as a second, third or fourth car is not a product that will fly off the shelves – in fact, it is a micro niche product. This is why automakers like Honda and Fiat are grudgingly squeaking out C.A.F.E. and C.A.R.B. compliance cars like the FitEV.

    Tesla’s JB Straubel said current battery capacity is rising at a 7-8 % rate per year. The good news is all the current attention EVs are getting is spurring this kind of battery R&D. The current crop of 60-90 mile AER compact EVs are beginning to look like lab experiments and the genius of GM’s EREV or PHEV technology is looking more like incredible genius.

    Tesla-like range of 140-260 miles is truly a starting point to make EVs a viable replacement for that gas-sucking rig now in our garages. Anything less makes an EV a very limited tool.

    1. Delta says:

      In a normal two car family, the Leaf would infact be the primary vehicle. 90 percent of travel around town or commuting could be done with it. The SUV would be used for long trips or heavier hauling. So saying that EV is the second or third car is the wrong way to look at it.

      1. Dave R says:

        Exactly. In my household the LEAF is the primary vehicle and driven as much as possible over the other vehicle.

  10. Herm says:

    Nissan could use the extra capacity to increase the buffer for Arizona environmental abuse.. the car would automatically detect where it is (by GPS or external temperature) and adjust the allowable SOC up or down.. in Phoenix it only charges to 73 miles (70% SOC) and in Seattle it charges up to 91 miles.

  11. MrEnergyCzar says:

    I’m guessing real world range will be 75-80… There was always more room for extra battery packs in the Leaf…

    MrEnergyCzar