Nissan Officially Announces 2013 LEAF In Japan. More Range, Less Money, New Functionality

NOV 20 2012 BY JAY COLE 26

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.”

Nissan LEAF - S Model - In Japan

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

Nissan Announces 2013 LEAF Changes Late Monday Night In Japan

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.”


Additionally, there are a pile of other new features and options for the LEAF in 2013.  Our favorites are a gauge that expresses battery remaining by PERCENTAGE, and an option for leather and a dark interior:


  • 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)

New Wheel Options

  • LED headlights with auto-leveling using blue reflection LED lights (standard on G, factory-installed option on S and X)

LED Now Standard On Only Premium Model LEAF

  • 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

Premium Black Interior With Leather (And The New Bells And Whistles)

  • 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)

New Entry Level Interior For The Cheaper/Decontented S Model

  • 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

New Rear Cargo Configuration Provides More Capacity

  • Remaining battery capacity shown by percentage in the Multifunction Display

New Percentage State Of Charge Display

  • Foot-operated parking brake.


2013 LEAF Battery Pack On Display

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)

New "B Range" Shift Setting

  • Enhanced driving performance achieved by improved steering response in the medium-speed range and optimized suspension characteristics associated with weight reduction.


New LEAF Heat Shield

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

Remote And New Electric Dash Release Of Charge Port Door

  • 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.

2013 Nissan Model G (SL In The United States)


  • 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.

Additional enhancements

  • 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

Entry Level LEAF In New Dark Metal Gray Color (Note non-LED lights)

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)

New Colors And Seat Material Configurations (click to enlarge)

If you happen to be fluent in Japanese, you might appreciate Nissan’s video conference call from late Monday night:

Video streaming by Ustream

Nissan Media Japan

Categories: Nissan


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26 Comments on "Nissan Officially Announces 2013 LEAF In Japan. More Range, Less Money, New Functionality"

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Thank you, Jay. This is great!

Hehe, you get to “enjoy” the press conference live with me tonight, lol. Those guys can really go on…and on…and on.

Is it wrong I am digging the fuel remaining expressed as a percentage the most? Must be the EV nerd in me, (=

Ha! I completely missed that, it’s a late night at the office for me too. The SOC by percentage is huge. It was brought up as a major pain point at the Google meeting last December. Kadota-san was there as well. Personally, I like the 6 kW charger and its new home under the hood. The heat pump would come in handy too. Now, when is the new battery chemistry coming? 😉

Remote charge port unlock is a handy plus on that too. I really was no fan of having to reach under the dash all the time.

Indeed. That lever looked a bit like it was reused from the Versa. Dig the flat cargo area and rims too. They look like they were designed to suppress turbulence around wheel wells.

Great post. Who doesn’t have liquid cooled batteries and are they working on that for the infiniti? or will they continue to gamble? Similar range as the current Ford Focus EV….


They seem to stay the course for now. I don’t see any noteworthy changes to the battery pack or its chemistry. The issues reported from Phoenix and elsewhere were at least to some extent related to problems with software and with dash instruments. It would be good if at least that was taken care of. Making the battery pack more robust should be one of their top priorities. Wonder how many mainstream consumers would accept 10% range loss in a moderate climate, which is what was my experience with the Leaf.

Bear with me as I shake some trees to try an get photos of all of this good stuff. The Nissan press release has next to nothing (just a single shot of the G). Will update as I grab them.

Is NISSAN going to use the LG battery and NOT the battery they were planning to make in the USA. Recently NISSAN canceled the Grand Opening celebration for the Smyrna Battery plant. 2 weeks before the election they sent out invitations then less than 48 hours after President Obama won they emailed the reporters invited to the Tennessee celebration that the event was canceled. That same day the NISSAN Leaf Limo went on eBay. The LG battery made in South Korea has newer technology. The Leaf (s) current battery is made from technology from the 90’s the C.A.R.B. days. It was said the car will be built in Tennessee from a “kit” the total # of jobs NISSAN will create with the 1.4 Billion is 60-70 NOT the 1300 they promised. The collateral for the loan is a taxpayer backed IDB bond. Someone should investigate?

Hey Sharyn,

I’ve talked to Nissan about this, and they swear it was just difficulty with getting the execs/dignitaries schedules together. I am told they are (or already have) put together a new press release and the related materials about the opening of the plant and it should be out in the extremely near future.

They did confirm to me that the plant is right now making batteries for US production of the LEAF.

/we’ll see…but for now, I think it is a non-issue

Check for black helicopters hovering above your house.. I would not put it past this administration

Sharon, the LG battery deal is for hybrid Nissan cars coming out in a few years. It was never intended for LEAF.

A private party build a limo-LEAF, which was used at a hotel, and is now offered for sale. There’s no connection to Nissan in any of this.

The 1990’s did not have many cars with LEAF’s (and GM Volt) Lithium Manganese chemistry batteries. That’s just not accurate. Actually, the GM EV-1 started with old fashioned lead acid batteries.

Yes, Nissan cancelled the Grand Opening celebration at the battery plant, and yes it was paid for with BORROWED money from the US government. I suspect the real reason it was cancelled was that they didn’t want press coverage that just reported poor sales.

This is not necessarily an indicator that the LEAFS in the U.S. will have these upgrades. Did you get any indiction that the U.S. plant will be utilizing these upgrades. All the Nissan people that I know have swore up and down that there will be no new battery or performance upgrades in the U.S. built LEAF until maybe the middle of the model year.

However, I hope they are wrong or are just trying to make certain that they sell off current inventory of 2012 inventory before admitting that these upgrades and improvements will be incorporated into the first batch of the U.S. 2013.

Because this was a Japan-based release, by the time the conference call wrapped up it was really late. The best I could get was that the US had “similar upgrades” coming.

I’m sure we’ll get clarification/US news once all the exec/PR guys wake up here, (=

I wonder if there is any chance they will include an auto-sensing 120v/240v EVSE in the US version? That would help reduce cost as fewer people would need to purchase a separate EVSE.

The folks at will modify the stock LEAF portable EVSE to function on both 120/240V. Then buy all the adapters you could ever want from and you can charge just about anywhere in a pinch – especially if you also get a L6-20 extension cord.

Wow, a pretty substantial update! Increased range I would have been pleased by, so all the others are impressive… increased cargo space particularly. If they can keep up these upgrades, the Leaf should have a real world 100 mile range in no time 😉 haha

The Leaf is getting better, slow and steady. If we see the rumored battery upgrade next year (MY’14) and it buys us an extra 25% capacity (30kWh), range would go from 83 to just over 100 miles.

30 kWh / 100 mile real-world range will be a game changer for the LEAF, especially if they couple they make it an option and drop the price of the 24 kWh version down.

People will be drawn in by the low price of the 24 kWh version, but I’d bet that most will drive off with the 30 kWh version (just like people do with the Tesla Model S).

Thank you for the great article. I suspect the cheaper S model will be stripped of some options currently on the SV model but which ones? The SV is already pretty bare bones except for the Nav system. Do we know if the S version will not have a Nav/Carwings system? Either way with the extended range and other new options AND lower priced vehicle, this is day to remember in EV history.

Thanks for great article Jay!

All these upgrades and improvements for less money. Wahooo!

Definitely a game changer. 2013 shaping to be a good EV year!

Certainly hope this gives U.S. sales a boost. As we know for sure,

Nothing boosts sales like a lower price. All these incremental

improvements ( love that “Heat Shield” headliner and integrated

pack/electronics ) mean a lot to geeks like you and me — But

What’ll really get the affordable EV momentum rolling is

MORE RANGE – and not 20 more miles…but a real

breakthrough like 100-150 more miles….

All said this is great news and I hope it gives LEAF

some new life as they start gliding off the line

in Tennessee.

Weren’t we were getting inductive charging for this next release?

Changes come so fast with EVs that I would advise only leasing them. Then if they drop the price ,add features and increase range you can enjoy these improvements every 2 years instead of having a car that is devalued and maybe lost too much range from heat or other problems. I bought the 2011 model but will change to a lease for the future.

I’d advise leasing on any higher priced high tech purchase. It’s the only way to keep up. Now on a smaller purchase like a laptop you don’t have as large of an investment so you can just pass the old one down to a relative and move up with no big loss.

All EVs should keep getting better and a little less cost as volumes increase and Moore’s law of technology keeps things getting better and better.

I received an email from Nissan offering 5000$ rebate (Canada), so I looks like they want to get rid of the 2012 before they annonce the 2013

Yes, good point to add!

Here is the format email from Nissan Canada that went out in December if anyone wants to check it out: