From what we know today, pretty much everything about the all-electric Nissan Leaf is getting bigger and/or better in 2012. From availability in Europe to 50-state availability and production in the States, it's clear Nissan is planning big things for its EV this year. Now, Nissan's Mark Perry has told the The Detroit News that the 2013 Leaf will get serious improvements when it launches later this year, including a better heater, a darker interior color choice and leather seats. The new Leaf will be made in Smyrna, TN.

The Leaf's new heater is going to help with range, even if it wasn't designed to beat the government's mileage test, as it were. Perry tells the Detroit newspaper, "You may not see much change on the EPA rating, but in cold-weather conditions you may see 20 to 25 miles of improvements."

This brings us to the big question: will Leaf sales also increase in 2012? Thus far, the trend hasn't been great, dropping to 676 sales in January and then 478 in February. In some months of 2011, Nissan sold over 1,000 Leafs. There are annual variations in sales patterns, and Perry tells The Detroit News that he expects Leaf sales to cross 2,000 a month in the U.S. some time this summer, a prediction that sounds reasonable given that the model will now be available in all 50 states.


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  • 25 Comments
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's excellent as a short-distance toy for rich, smug SOB's who have to prove they're better than everyone else. As practical transportation for everyone else, it seems to be lacking. Seriously, you can't drive it someplace 13 miles away in cold weather and be sure of making it home?
        ALafya
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        Why the attitude? People which buy a common SUV or even a minivan easily outspend a Leaf owner. The range is *not* 13x2. It is something like ~70 miles. What the article says is that in cold weather, where the batteries are least efficient and you can't actually go 70 miles, the 2013 improvement will increase range in that case 20~25 miles (probably nothing for normal weather).
          ALafya
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ALafya
          The average commute in the US is 15 miles one way. Moreover, 90% of commuters are within the 60 miles range (assuming no charging at work) and 93% are within 70 mile range. So, for most people it can be a very good daily commuter.
        Kayne Karnbach
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        Big Squid - The range is 100 miles on a full charge. In cold weather the range is closer to 75 miles.
        Jason Allen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        You drama queen! They knew that it's range would work for a large percentage of commuters, lots of them and this new stuff will only help more. 13 miles?!?!? Where'd you make up that from? It isn't terrible range for many people, it's not too expensive for many people AND it is a perfect second car, again, FOR MANY PEOPLE!!! You must be a 'conservative' because you assume that your thoughts/beliefs/needs are those of the majority but you are just very self-centered. You just a big squidiot!!!! :)
        Nate (Seattle, WA)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        It's not giving you 25 miles of range total. It's ADDING 25 miles of range. Get a clue. And "for the rich"? Are you kidding? After the tax credit, the LEAF costs less than $30k. $30k is now the average cost of a new car. Are you calling the average new car a toy for the rich? Go away, you troll.
      AP1_S2K
      • 2 Years Ago
      is it just me, but isn't this thing just FUGLY. That rear end is light Rosie O'donalds a** with taillights.
      RobbieP
      • 2 Years Ago
      Never thought I'd say this but a Smart makes more sense ... at least you can make long trips! Range ... practically nothing!
      regionrat
      • 2 Years Ago
      A new heater is going to add up to 25 *miles* of range? Good lord, how can the current one be that inefficient? Somebody, give me a science-y explanation!
        benzaholic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @regionrat
        There's no gas engine in a Leaf, so there's no warm engine coolant from which to extract heat for the occupants. They probably have to use electric heaters, and anybody who's used one of those, from the little boxy things that warm your feet under your desk to ones that try to warm a room to even a hair dryer, should know that resistive electric heaters use a lot of electricity. I'm not sure what they changed to make the heater more efficient, but cold weather in general is the worst for electric vehicle range, which probably means it provides the most opportunities for improvements. Maybe the new heater doesn't put out as much heat and therefore uses less electricity, or maybe they got a much more efficient unit from whichever supplier is responsible for the heater/climate control.
        Sheldon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @regionrat
        Well It sounds like the current heater must be a resistive type heater. They convert electricity into heat by passing it through a restive metal that heats up(like a toaster). To MAKE(convert) a comfortable amount of heat, takes alot of energy. For instance, think of the average little space heater that you can buy at Walmart. Those are generally 1500 watts. Or enough to run 3 computers, or 25 60watt lightbulbs. Now if they switched to a heat pump type design, it would be significantly more efficient. That's because a heat pump doesn't directly convert electricity into heat. It pumps heat that already exists from the outside of the car into the inside of the car. So instead of converting electricity directly to heat, your using the electricity to transfer heat that already exists.
          Big Squid
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sheldon
          The problem with a heat pump is that the more you need the heater, the worse it works.
          ga
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sheldon
          I'm guessing they use a heat pump and cool the casing of the electric motor with it.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why does every EV/hybrid have to be so ugly? Yea, I get the whole aero thing, but I'd be willing to drop and MPG here or there to drive something that doesn't look like a cartoon character or doorstop.
        Camaroman101
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        its called aerodynamics, and the ampera is very cool looking
        Nate (Seattle, WA)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        Then, buy a Chevy Volt. A Volt looks like a normal car, and sacrifices a little energy efficiency. And, have you seen a Tesla Roadster? Your statement about "every" EV is pretty pathetic when there's basically three EVs for sale in the US, and two aren't remotely ugly.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      And this is how EV will eventually improve to the point where they will be practical for nearly everyone. The first - but most crucial step - was to actually release one to production. Now we will probably see incremental improvements that increase both its range, but also probably help in reducing costs. Hybrids were in a similar position about a decade ago and today they are larger, with better performance, cost less AND are more efficient than most people could imagine back when they were first released. Its going to be the carmakers that have an EV on sale now (or soon will), that will probably have the most competitive offerings come 2022.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      BlackDynamiteOn
      • 2 Years Ago
      January/February sales numbers aren't indicative of a car's sales potential. They are, consistently, the worst sales months of the year. March, with December, are the best sales months of the year. So we will see how strong it is in the market shortly.... BD
      jerry_vanvliet
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hopefully they will exchange the heaters at no cost!! So that we continue to sell the LEAFs for them. We supported them by buying a Leaf and now it is time for them to support us!!!!
      jerry_vanvliet
      • 1 Year Ago
      IF THEY DONT PUT AT LEAST 10 QUICK CHARGE STATIONS AT EVERY MC DONALDS IT WILL STILL BE A TOUGH SELL. THEY MUST BE THE 30 MINUTE QUICK CHARGE STATIONS.
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