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Nissan Adding Range, Lowering Base Price on Leaf

New entry-level model to reach US showrooms in 2013.

by on Nov.20, 2012

Nissan will have some updates to the Leaf battery car coming in 2013.

Nissan aims to address two of the most common concerns about its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, range and price, with a series of updates that will extend driving distance and lower the cost on a new, stripped-down model.

The announcement in Tokyo, earlier today, focused on versions of the Leaf sold only in the Japanese home market. But Nissan plans to take similar steps in the U.S., as well. A new entry-level version of the Leaf will reach American showrooms next year while all U.S. versions will likely also see range extended as Nissan continues to evolve the breakthrough battery-cars electric drivetrain.

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“People who try out the Leaf are moved,” said Nissan Senior Vice President Masaaki Nishizawa. “But they are worried about cruise range.”

In Japanese trim, the updated Leaf will now get 142 miles per charge compared with 124 miles before.  Range is a highly subjective number and depends heavily on driving conditions including weather.  Operating a vehicle like the Leaf at highway speeds on a cold day significantly reduces the distance it can travel between charges.

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Upgraded Nissan Leaf Due in December

Nicer interior, better heater – and up to 25 miles more range.

by on Mar.20, 2012

Nissan plans some significant improvements - including better cold weather range -- for the 2013 Leaf.

Nissan will be updating its now year-old Leaf late in 2012, upgrading the cabin, adding a more efficient heater and – sometime likely to matter most to buyers of the battery-electric vehicle – adding as much as 25 more miles of range in cold weather.

That’s a particularly significant development.  Lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures humans do and don’t perform much better in cold weather – especially when those humans in the cabin turn on the Leaf’s electric heater.

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Even before the updated 2013 Nissan Leaf hits market around December the maker is expecting to double U.S. sales.  They averaged around 1,000 a month during the latter months of 2011 – though demand actually plunged during the first two months of 2012, to 676 in January and 478 in February.  But the maker is looking to reach 2,000 a month by summer, according to a Detroit News interview with Nissan’s chief U.S. product planner Mark Perry.

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