2012 Nissan Leaf
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Months ago, we heard that the U.S. version of the 2013 Nissan Leaf would go farther per charge in cold weather thanks to a better heater. This was about the Leaf that will be made in Smyrna, TN starting later this year. A new report on Inside EVs (based on the Japanese language Sankei Biz site) says that the new Leaf, at least the version destined for sale in Japan, will have its range extended to over 250 kilometers (155 miles) in any weather.

Of course, since that is on the lenient Japanese test cycle, it doesn't mean that U.S. drivers will get double their range (the Leaf is rated at 73 miles by the EPA). Instead, the new Leaf should get a range improvement of around 25 percent, which would translate to around 91 miles of EPA range, thanks to more efficient motors and better batteries in the new Leaf.

More interesting – since we expect incremental improvements with each generation of vehicles, especially when EVs are concerned – is that Nissan is also considering an entry-level Leaf for release by the end of the year. If Sankei Biz is correct, this model would start at 2.5 million yen ($31,500 U.S. at today's exchange rates) compared to the current version's starting price of 3.7 million yen ($46,600). Inside EVs notes that, "A similar price reduction in North America, would price this new base Nissan LEAF at $26,600." Sankei Biz says the update are coming a year earlier than planned in order to boost sales. A before-incentive price of $26,600 would certainly do that, wouldn't it?

We've asked Nissan for any sort of confirmation or denial of these reports and will update once we hear something.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Have a friend working at the plant, who says they will start testing the line in September. He explained that meant they will be making the parts that will make up the car and then make sure everything fits together correctly. He believes Nissan will have no problem meeting the production date of December. Now, if I could just get him to use his employee discount...
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        You mean a ramp-up starting 3 months before a December delivery target? Hmmm.... Sounds like exactly what Tesla is doing. Didn't oktrader claim that no other company does ramp-ups like Tesla? Seems to be more common than oktrader claimed...
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      It comfortably exceeded my expectations. I was arguing on sites at the time against people who were saying that batteries were $1,200 kwh and had no prospect of the costs moderating before around 2020. Many flatly did not believe how low the price of the Leaf was, and I was shocked. The latest shocker for me has been the price of the Smart EV, which is to have batteries at an apparent cost of $272kwh to the customer, a level I did not think we would reach until at least 2015 or so.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Nissan Leaf is a real "BOMB" of a product. I purchased mine June of 2011 and have driven almost 17,000 miles. The actual range is between 60-80 miles and I have already experienced permanent battery loss of close to 10%. I can not wait for my 36 month lease to be over this car sucks. Tesla is the only way to go!!!!!
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        " I have already experienced permanent battery loss of close to 10% " How have you verified this with Nissan? The loss of a single bar, does not mean 10% - 15% loss in capacity. If you still get 70 miles average.... you are around the average that the EPA says you would get with a brand new Leaf. 100 mile range is only for the very light LA-4 cycle.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      sigh... the 100 mile range HAS been met with the current Leaf. But like I said, managing expectations was not done properly. Nissan has always said 100 miles on the LA-4 cycle... why?, because that is how CARB awards ZEV credits. So far, most if not all automakers building an Zero Emissions Vehicle are making their mileage claims on the LA-4 cycle.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      A 91 mile EPA AER would be a nice upgrade to the 73 it has now. Couple that with the new heat pump and you got a nice BEV. Still not sure about the relatively passive thermal management and the charging rate (have they already gone to 6.6kW? Or is that coming this winter?), but they are heading in the right direction.
      mustang_sallad
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm guessing this means the Leaf will get the heat pump heater that Renault was using on its EV. Can't wait to learn more about that thing and how well it actually works.
        Tagbert
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mustang_sallad
        The heat pump would be a big improvement. The current resistance heater is slow to heat and eats a lot of juice. The A/C on the other hand cools quickly and just sips electricity.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Joe, That number was not made up by GM. It was based on proposed EPA test standards that were under review at the time. Ultimately the proposed test standards were not approved, and a different set of rules were adopted after other companies lobbied against the proposed rules.
      Brinto
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Boohoo... that's marketing and advertising for you. Automakers do it all the time, for everything they can get away with. *super-big mega font* 40 mpg!!!! *super-big mega font* *teeny-tiny get your glasses small print* highway MPG only *teeny-tiny get your glasses small print* Well guess what, the average person does not get highway mileage, they get combined city/hwy mileage. So although it is true, it's misleading. 300 miles is in fact true. But misleading, sure. It ain't gonna bite anyone in the ass... the people will get used to it... just like we've gotten used to all the misleading (but still true) advertisements for every other product and service.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rotation, Both of those are example of changes in the testing procedures giving different results, not of manufacturers just outright hyping their products by using bogus numbers. It is hardly the fault of manufacturers that the test procedures were changed by somebody else, forcing them to redo their numbers. As for the 230 mpg claim, the voltstats.net website shows actual Volt drivers doing a pretty good job of approaching or greatly exceeding that number. Roughly half the cars are getting 200+ mpg with about a quarter getting 300+ mpg. With the extra ~10% longer distance per charge for the 2013 Volt, 230+ MPG will be even more realistic to expect for more drivers.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cool :D Maybe we're going to get the car that Nissan promised us around 2008... lol
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Nissan didn't do a whole lot of promising for the first model Leaf... I think we, and the media, really had unrealistic expectations. Nissan certainly failed to manage our expectations though.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        EPA changed the testing cycle between the initial promise and final delivery. That affected everyone that initially reported a target range. That is why the top Tesla is rated at 265 miles instead of 300 miles they targeted: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/20/tesla-model-s-officially-rated-at-89-mpge-with-265-mile-range/
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          The 5 cycle EPA test has been around for a long while now. That excuse would have worked for the Roadster, but not the Model S. The 300 mile claim is purely because CARB still awards ZEV credits under the older UDDS (LA-4) cycle test. Pure and simple. When CARB changes its policy automakers will change too. Even today, newer EVs, regardless of manufacturer, are still making claims on the LA-4 cycle and not the 5 cycle EPA test. It is not a timing issue, it is an incentives issue.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great. I'd love to hear how it was done, so I can get a better idea of how much increase in range we'll actually see. If it's 25% more battery capacity, then we're in great shape. But I expect it's at least partially attributable to other factors, some of which may not show up on US tests or in real-world driving. Also, is there a 6.6kW charger we kept hearing about? I don't expect to see that price drop in the US. We'll probably see something, but not nearly that big. On other news, I saw an ad for the LEAF last night on TV. No bear hugging, but an actual ad trying to sell you a LEAF and explaining why it's a good car for you. So in other words, finally an ad that tries to sell LEAFs to people who aren't already predisposed to buying them. This is good to see, it's time for the LEAF to enter this stage.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        "I don't expect to see that price drop in the US. We'll probably see something, but not nearly that big." Why would you think that? Both Japan and the U.S. will be producing Leafs and batteries.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Because I think a lot of the current price difference is due to the change in Yen versus value over the years since the LEAF price was set in Japan. A lot of this price change is correction for that. In effect, the Yen price of the car looks very high in USD right now. It was never meant to be that high, so there is some correction. This wouldn't be applied to the US price as the USD to USD ratio doesn't drift over time. Nissan won't be producing batteries in the US any more than anyone else is. Constructing packs maybe, but making Li-Ion batteries (cells) in the US doesn't make a ton of sense and as far as I know hasn't even been spoken of. Like here: http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/33a01766-da87-4370-879b-964adb55a47f 'At Zama, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation - a Nissan-NEC joint-venture since 2007 - combines four cells into each battery module, after which Nissan's Oppama facility assembles 48 into each battery pack.' Changing pack assembly to the US is not going to change the price of the packs that much, most of the cost of the pack is in the cells themselves.
          Dave R
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @Rotation - Nissan is currently putting the finishing touches on a battery manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee capable of producing enough batteries for up to 200,000 EVs a year. They are hiring tons of people to work there. They are definitely building batteries in the USA from raw materials and they will be significantly cheaper than the Japan made batteries primarily thanks to the weak USD. I anticipate Nissan exporting batteries from this plant for export with so much capacity...
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @Rotation: The cells are actually to be produced in both the US and Europe rather than it being a simple assembly operation, I understand. As you say, much of the cost and weight of the packs is in the cells, and in addition Nissan has estimated around a 33% cost reduction by producing in Europe instead of Japan for the Leaf. Since as you say much of the cost is also in the actual cells, they aren't going to hit that sort of cost reduction if the cell production were excluded. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1078529_2013-nissan-leaf-more-range-cheaper-model-report-says http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1043596_nissan-ups-ante-with-u-k-factory-for-2011-leaf-electric-car
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Joeeviocoe: Ghosn does not speak of moving cell production out of Japan in that 2nd video. He does speak of getting the costs down "due to the headwind of the Yen", but he doesn't speak of actually making cells in Smyrna or Sunderland. The press persion says they will make batteries in Smyrna and then later Sunderland, but doesn't clarify if that is cells or packs.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Thanks Dave... yeah Rotation, the link you posted had two great videos. But Ghosn mentioned that Zama is more of a mother plant that will serve as an example for Sunderland and Smyrna. At the end of the 2nd video, Ghosn particularly mentions that one of the major cost reduction strategies for the Leaf battery is to get the cells produced in the US and UK... because the strong Yen is one of the biggest inflators of the battery cost.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        @Rotation: I am not sure where you have picked up the idea that these plants will not be making the actual cells, as you have not provided links specifically saying so. The European Investment Bank certainly thinks that that is what it has provided funding for: 'This funding is also supporting construction of the company’s new European Mother Plant for the production of lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cells at Sunderland Plant.' http://www.eib.org/projects/press/2011/2011-167-eib-to-provide-eur-220m-to-nissan-for-production-of-the-100pct-electric-nissan-leaf-and-advanced-lithium-ion-batteries-in-sunderland.htm Whilst Nissan advertised for people to test them, which presumably would have been done in Japan if they were all to be built there: http://careersatnissan.co.uk/nmuk-sunderland/roles/production-management/qa-inspector-process.html The bottom line is that it would not really help costs if they were not built in Europe and the US, as you yourself indicate, nor would it save shipping fairly bulky and heavy items. Relax. They are being built in the US and Europe as well as Japan.
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