US Nissan LEAF Battery Production Underway For 2013 LEAF, Sales Begin First Quarter of 2013

NOV 22 2012 BY JAY COLE 8

About a week ago the grand opening ceremony of Nissan’s new electric car battery plant in Smyrna was cancelled.  This led some to speculated it had something to do with the LEAF’s relatively slow sales to date, or a possible hiccup in the manufacturing process.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn At Nissan/AESC Battery Production Facility

InsideEVs got in touch with a Nissan plant representative, and we were told that it was simply a “failure to coordinate executive schedules,” and that Nissan would still be showcasing the facility in the near future.

“We will come out with some info-graphics and details around the process in the next few weeks.

They also more importantly noted that “the battery plant already is producing batteries” for the 2013 LEAF.  Which is all most people looking to buy a US-made Nissan LEAF really care about anyway.

As for the US production itself which was scheduled to begin in couple weeks in Smyrna, TN, Nissan rep Travis Parman told us, “there’s been no change in the start of LEAF production in Smyrna.”

New Entry Level LEAF In New Dark Metal Gray Color (Note 16" Cap Wheels And Non-LED Headlamps)

Recently Nissan dropped some pretty impressive specs on the 2013 LEAF in Japan, which included an improved range (about 14% more) and a new, cheaper entry model (about 12% less). At the same time,  a bevy of new options were made available to add-on to the car; some of which included leather seats, dark colored interior, larger boot capacity, 17″ wheels.

While we assume the majority of these features will hit the US model once production of the 2013 starts in Smyrna next month, in talking to us, Nissan North America seemed keen to distance itself from the mothership’s PR-thunderstealing release in Japan

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.”

Which of course leads to the ultimate question, when is the “on-sale date here” and when do we find out about the new US pricing structure?

“Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, which will be in Q1 2013.”

So it looks like while the US plant will soon be producing the new 2013 LEAF, we are still going to have to wait 2 or 3 months to see one in our driveway.

Categories: Nissan

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

8 Comments on "US Nissan LEAF Battery Production Underway For 2013 LEAF, Sales Begin First Quarter of 2013"

newest oldest most voted

Great article Jay and Happy Thanksgiving.

My biggest disappointment lately is the unused LG Chem plant in Mich. All Volt batteries made in SK and not in the US.

Now we have another facility that will be under utilized.

It is just a shame we could not concentrate all Volt AND Leaf battery production in the US at ONE factory.

Then we could talk about how many EV batteries are made in the US and providing jobs instead of how many idle plants we have.

Thanks, happy turkey day to you too…good luck at the mall tomorrow

Q1 2013 is hopefully not Mar 31, 2013.

I wonder what the cost will be and whether they will continue with the low lease deals. If they do, I could get one …

I know i’m sounding like a broken record here, but I wish some reputable manufacturer would come out with a B I G EV , and a huge battery, much bigger than Tesla’s 85 kwh (the current Champ). That would put some of these battery factories to work, and make EV’s saleable to most US customers who want a BIG vehicle, with L O N G range.

A bIg EV with a BIG battery that will get sold in tens, will not fill any factory. Big factories are utilized more fully with mass production, not boutique products.

Chevy should produce the “CrossVolt” with a 33 kWh pack (2 Volt packs) and get it to the market in time to compete with the Model X (Q1 2014). Price it at $50k – $60k, just above the hard-to-get RAV4 EV and just under the Model X, but have the range extender to make it unique.

It would probably have 50 – 60 mile EV range. The fuel savings vs. a similar size SUV would make the 5 year TCO compete with a 40k SUV. That would move some volume. Perhaps brand it as a Cadilac first, to avoid the sticker shock…

I don’t see how timing a release of an extended range version of the 4 passenger Chevy Volt with the 7 Passenger Model-X would be in any way helpful. These are two very different vehicles placed in quite different market segments.

However – the range extended version of the Volt would indeed be a nice product I’m sure. It would be interesting to see market surveys to learn if folks who choose not to buy are in fact gating their decisions on the limited all-electric range. For me the limiting factor is the 4 passenger configuration – if it sat 5 (or more) I’d be able to justify the purchase as it would meet the needs I have.

Wonder if Nissan would have been better with an EV Rouge than the Leaf. I suppose it’s probably more of an issue of styling than function.