For starters you can get a new S Grade model that costs less. A newly designed motor uses 40% less of the rare earth element dysprosium. Electronics have been re-packaged saving 30% volume. Total weight reductions add up to 176 pounds or 80 kilograms.
The trunk increases 11% in storage space to 13 cubic feet. Other changes from
an improved cabin heater to stereo help increase EPA estimated range from about 73 to 83 miles.
Regarding charging, Should you forget to recharge your Leaf, the car can be programmed to send you an email message requesting a charge. The car can also be remotely heated.
A few test drive impressions have been recorded. Of all those tests checked, the results have been very positive so far.
In the news: The Hertz Company will add the Leaf to its rental car fleet in unspecified cities in the US and Europe.
Availability: You can order up a Leaf for around $33,000 US.
Here are some of the Specs on the Leaf:
Range - 60 to 90 miles or EPA rated 73 miles (117 km) average
The 2013 model ups the range 25% to 91 miles or 147 km.
Top Speed - 90 mph/145 kph
Electric Motor - 80 kW/107 hp
Energy Storage - 24 kWh - around 3 quarts/liters gasoline equivalent
Kerb Weight - 3400 lbs/1545 kg
Wt/HP - 32 lbs/1 hp
Charge at home 220V - 8 hours
80% quick charge at Nissan/3-phase charger - 30 minutes
As for sales, At the end of 2012, some 46,000 Leaf electric cars had been sold world wide. People can pay $99 US to reserve a Leaf now. So far, people have placed 19,000 reservations, filling the baseline quota for the year.
To supply the Leaf, a lithium battery plant is under construction at Smyrna, Tennessee. The plant will have the capacity to supply up to 150,000 Leaf battery packs annually. The goal is to produce 500,000 Nissan electric cars by 2013.
Interestingly, the Leaf onboard battery management system now restricts battery charge input to the pack at 3.3 kW. This limits Level 2 charge time to about 8 hours for the 24 kWh pack.
The Leaf has recently completed the tough 12.4 mile Pikes Peak hill climb. The car made the 4,700 foot course in EV record time.
A production Nismo may be offered in for sale in 2012. The street version offers a modified body kit and 18-inch alloy wheels The car can accelerate to 62mph in less than 7 seconds with stock Leaf running gear.
Two other notable achievements by modified Leaf Electric Cars:
1. A Leaf has successfully completed the Pikes Peak international Hill Climb. Pikes Peak Colorado is a 14,100 foot mountain. The Leaf made it to the top in in 14 minutes and 33 seconds.
2. Another Leaf has completed the "Cannonball Run" in Ireland. The 900 kilometer race was also attended by Porsche Cayman's, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentley and Aston Martin gas burners.
The Legal Leaf
Portugese police - PSP or Policia de Seguranca Publica - has just retained 8 Nissan Leaf electric cars for patrol duty. The EVs will be used in the Safe School Program as well as other unspecified duties.
As of the end of 2011, over 20,000 LEAF EVs had been sold worldwide. By Feb. 2012, the numbers had climbed to include some 26,000 Leaf Reservations. By Feb. 2013, over 50,000 Leaf units had been sold. The cars are selling at a steady rate.
The 2013 Leaf is to be manufactured in Smyrna, TN. The new plant makes the car while the motor is prepared in the nearby town of Decherd, TN. The plant is geared to produce some 150,000 cars per year. More here.
Nissan leaf owners in the summer of 2012 experienced reduced range due to excess heat. Now it has been revealed that taxi drivers in Tokyo, Japan have had range in their Leaf cars cut by one half or as low as 30 miles! It appears Nissan has some explaining to do.
Next, the Leaf will be heading to the track. The NISMO RC is shorter by 4" than the street car, and sits just 2.5" off the ground. The racer weighs in close to 2,100 pounds.
Performance will not match NASCAR, but the NISMO RC will hit 60 mph in about 6.9 seconds, and top out at 93 mph. The car will run at track speeds for around 20 minutes.
Nissan Leaf 24 kWh Battery Pack
Nissan Leaf - pioneering electric car - New model promises increased range and lowered cost. 25,000 units sold in the USA and over 60,000 worldwide.
The Nissan Leaf Now and Future
The Nissan Leaf has already reached thousands of more electric car buyers. The Leaf is a standard of well engineered electric cars. Some 50,000 first generation Leaf electric cars have been sold. There have been a few problems with high heat diminishing range in some cases, but the Leaf motors on. Improvements are on the way.
Nissan has upgrades to 2013 models that will increase range about 14 percent. The extra range will actually cost less, as the price drops by about $5,000 USD. Upgrades are mostly in the form of fine tuning, but they add up.