Tesla may make headlines – the Nissan Leaf makes sales. Over 50,000 sold so far. Indeed, this is the most cost efficient and user-friendly, mass produced electric car on the market. Any market. The European version of the Nissan Leaf is getting updated just in time for the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, and these changes will be implemented for worldwide production soon.
According to Nissan, the improvements include:
- “Technical improvements boost driving range from 109 miles to 124 miles
- Luggage space improved by re-positioning charger to under the bonnet
- New heat pump reduces electrical consumption in cold weather delivering real-world range improvements
- Optional 6.6Kw charger reduces charging time from eight hours to four hours on a 32 amp supply
- Chassis re-engineered in Europe, for Europe giving better handling and even greater driving pleasure
- Line-up now consists of three trims – Visia, Acenta and Tekna – for more appeal and equipment
- Production of new LEAF and its batteries will begin at Sunderland in the Spring”
Will these changes be implemented in the United States too? Sure, many of them. From what I’ve heard, these changes should increase the appeal to Nissan Leaf shoppers in the U.S.A. As it stands, the Nissan Leaf is still one of the cheapest options for electric mobility in North America.
Okay, so Ford’s Focus electric, GM’s electric Spark, Fiat/Chrysler’s electric 500 are viable options that will soon be available. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla products are the only purpose-built electric vehicles from the ground up being produced on a competitive scale. The Nissan Leaf needed a few tweaks to make it into a smarter buy. The charger is no longer housed in the cargo area (it’s under the hood) so there is more cargo room and the range has been extended. These were two minor gripes I had and they have been addressed.
It still looks the same and I don’t see too many interior upgrades either.
“Changes range from a new powertrain assembly that greatly enhances the car’s practicality to simple modifications, such as the addition of an LED inspection light within the charging port making overnight charging that much easier.
“LEAF owners are passionate about their cars and their comments and experiences have genuinely influenced many of the changes we have made to New LEAF,” said Paul Willcox, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe.” – – Nissan Media
Extended range, shorter charging times and better durability (including a better heat/cold management setup) are additional upgrades.
“Reduced charging time is also promised by a new option that will cut the conventional charging length in half, from eight to four hours. A new 6.6kW on board charger will permit the use of 32 amp charging using the latest generation of chargers installed in domestic and commercial properties. A typical domestic socket delivers 10 amps.
A more affordable option than a full Quick Charger, some authorities are installing public charging posts already capable of delivering 32 amps output. The adoption of a 6.6kW charger will allow drivers to give their battery a meaningful boost even during a short stopover.” – – Nissan Media
I like the idea of a quick zap giving you a few additional miles. I think that, if these changes are to be measured in the United States, you need to calculate the distance a student travels in a day (school, smoke shop, pizza, library, smoke shop, dorm) to figure out how many miles you need to get out of a quick charge to make it most effective.
Speaking of electric vehicles, check this Nissan Leaf video out!
After testing a few Nissan Leafs, I remain impressed and positive that they will continue to update this fascinating vehicle until it begins to make a case for itself in regular households. In the meantime, I look forward to testing the North American update… just as soon as I get my hands on a Nissan GTR to compare it with – you know, in the name of science.