The Detroit Auto Show is the venue where the 2013 Nissan Leaf would be formally unveiled. A sneak peek though has been scheduled this weekend for the Bay Area Nissan Leaf Owners Association. The new version promises to provide better range, faster charging, and a lower starting price; specific areas that Nissan’s market research have identified as problem areas for the company.
Nissan is listening, according to Gary Lieber, co founder of the Bay Area Nissan Leaf Owners Association, who added, “I can point to half-dozen things on this 2013 car that directly resulted from meetings this group had with Nissan.”
That specific meeting was held at Luscious Garage, a service shop that specializes in hybrids and electrics located in San Francisco. Nearly sixty (60) owners or lessors of Nissan Leaf cars attended.
For its part, Nissan, through its spokesperson Tim Gallagher said, “The 2013 enhancements were simple, small changes, a nice generational move of the car.” The increase in content and the decrease in the sticker price became a possibility through the production of the 2013 Leafs from Japan to its assembly plant located in Smyrna, TN.
When inquired about the price change, Mr. Gallagher stated, “I was impressed. It’s a good number.” He did decline as to the exact figures before the official announcement. The process of decreasing the price was made possible through the stripped down S model, which comes without a navigation system or a Quick Charge port. These features were available only in the SL model and comes basic in the SV version, currently the cheapest model in the line.
The new features in the 2013 Leaf include LED headlamps, fog lighting, and 17 inch alloy wheels, as well as leather seating for the SL model. There are also optional premium upgrades including a seven speaker audio system from Bose and an ‘around view monitor’. This is a system has cameras upfront, back and side mirrors for parking assistance.
Another major area would be ‘improvements for range management’. Instead of installing bigger battery in the Leaf, the current eighty (80) mile range would be extended but Nissan would remained mum as to the farther range available on a single charge. One of the identified improvements include an aerodynamic change from the front fascia, a more power efficient heater and a B-mode that increases regenerative braking. There is also a display for the charge state of the battery by percentage.
The charging time for the 2013 Leaf when utilizing the 240 volt charger would have an upgrade to a 6.6 kilowatt onboard charger from the 2012’s 3.3 kilowatt charger. This would result an additional twenty (20) miles for charging, instead of just twelve (12) miles. The 2013 Leaf would be able to fully charge in just four (4) hours instead of the current seven (7) hours.
Simple improvements include a light for the charging port as well as the function to open the charging port door from within the car or through the key fob.