Nissan has announced the release in Japan of the updated 2013 Nissan LEAF, which has received a number of improvements as well as a new low cost entry level model.
“The affordable S grade has been added for the new model year and joins the ongoing G and X grades. There is no performance sacrifice with the new S grade.”
Some of the new upgrades are:
- Available genuine leather seats
- BOSE® Energy Efficient Series sound system
- Around View Monitor which assists parking at roadsides
- Enhanced regenerative braking performance
- A power-saving heating system.
- New colors: Dark Metal Gray, Brilliant White Pearl and White
Range has increased to 228 km from 200 km on the Japanese JC08 mode, which as most of us know by now is an impossible-to-duplicate in the real word scenario.
However, the percentages would indicate that the current LEAF’s 73 mile (EPA) range will soon be expanding to about 83 miles, which is good news.
As mentioned in the Nissan press release in Japan, you do not sacrifice any range if you buy the cheaper “S model.” The pricing structure in Japan is as follows:
- G – 4,133,850 ¥ (US Model SL)
- X – 3,757,950 ¥ (US Model SV)
- S – 3,349,500 ¥
Again, the literal yen to US dollar conversion is not important, but the pricing structure itself is. The new S model is 12% cheaper than the old entry level offering, so although US pricing has not been announced for the current SL and SV once production begins from Smyrna, TN next month, we can assume the new LEAF is getting at least 12% cheaper.
This means the US made, S model would start at no more than $31,500 (the current SV is $35,200). After federal credit, the adjusted price would be no more than $24,000, and $21,500 in California, thanks to the CVRP program.
“There are two aspects to today’s update. One is a natural evolution. Second, we are able to offer the kinds of upgrades that our customers want to use, based on customer feedback,” said Chief Vehicle Engineer Hidetoshi Kadota.
We spoke to Nissan North America early this morning, and understandably they are not keen to announce anything ahead of their own 2013 LEAF launch. They also really don’t want parallels between the Japanese JC08 test cycle to get confused with any future US ratings…which makes sense considering 228 km = 141 miles:
“Specifications for the model year ’13 Nissan LEAF in Japan were released on Nov. 20 and apply only for that model designed for the Japanese market. Information on the 2013 Nissan LEAF in the U.S. will be released closer to its on-sale date here. As with prior model year LEAFs, specifications between markets are unique. Ratings such as range differ based on the governmental testing procedures in individual markets.”
- Sporty and stylish 17-inch aluminum wheels (standard on G)
- 16-inch aluminum wheels used in the current model are available as a factory-installed option (on X)
- 16-inch full-wheel covers (standard on S and X)
- LED headlights with auto-leveling using blue reflection LED lights (standard on G, factory-installed option on S and X)
- Front fog lights (standard on G, dealer-installed option on S and X)
- Seven available body colors, including three new colors: Dark Metal Gray, Brilliant White Pearl and White.
- Chic, elegant black interior
- Genuine leather seats available on G and X as a factory-installed option (Airy Gray color for previous model is available on G and X)
- Pop-up and down adjustable rear center seat headrest
- Increased luggage space from 330L to 370L, realized by moving a downsized onboard charger from the back of the car to the front
- Remaining battery capacity shown by percentage in the Multifunction Display
- Foot-operated parking brake.
Basic EV structure
- High voltage unit, including an electric motor, inverter and DC/DC converter, was integrated, resulting in a 30 percent volume reduction and a 10 percent mass reduction
- More responsive and exhilarating acceleration feel delivered by a newly designed motor
- Weight reduced by about 80kg compared to previous model. Achieved by combined powertrain unit, integrated functions, streamlined battery module and case structure, and use of lighter parts
- B range that generates deceleration without feeling a change in noise and gravity even on a downward slope (standard on G and X)
- Enhanced driving performance achieved by improved steering response in the medium-speed range and optimized suspension characteristics associated with weight reduction.
Improved power consumption
- Reduced power consumption with a heat-pump cabin heater, heated seat for all seats, heated steering wheel and heat shield ceiling
- Changes to the regenerative brake control system enable more efficient power generation when the brakes are operated.
- Long-life mode (where the battery is charged to 80% to extend the battery life), now available in any charging mode
- Improved convenience of the charging port, including a locking mechanism for the normal charging connector, LED light for charging at night and electromagnetic opener for the charging port lid.
- Addition of “Stop-off charging spot guidance” function, “Power-saving route guidance” function and “Battery capacity at a destination forecast” function which can allay potential range anxiety
- New ways to search for and locate charging spots easily and quickly. Adoption of “Charging spot availability information provision” function, “Quick charger location display” function and “Unavailable charging spot display” function.
- Lighter-weight, highly efficient BOSE® seven-speaker system: Energy Efficient System (factory-installed option on G and X)
- Around View Monitor shows an image of the vehicle’s surroundings that is not easily visible (factory-installed option on G and X)
- Highly concentrated Plasma Cluster Ion generator which eliminates odors and kills germs (standard on G)
- Hill Start Assist which enables a driver to start the LEAF on a slope without worrying about rolling backward
Nissan is also quitre proud that they have developed a new electric motor in this generational update of the LEAF that will reduce the use of dysprosium (Dy), a rare earth element (REE), by 40 percent compared to conventional EV motors. (Nissan has a whole press release on this new development here if you are interested)
If you happen to be fluent in Japanese, you might appreciate Nissan’s video conference call from late Monday night: