10.1.2013 New Nissan LEAF begins US production
After having introduced the new LEAF in to the Japanese market at the end of 2012, Nissan have announced that a 2013 version of the LEAF will be available for the US market.
Production of the updated all-electric model has already began in Smyrna, Tennessee, next door to Nissan's LEAF lithium-ion battery. The new model will feature several upgraded features.
The new Nissan LEAF will offer improved performance, faster charging and a longer driving range, with several improvements to efficiency and aerodynamics. There will also be two higher-grade specs (SV and SL) and a lower-priced entry model – the LEAF S. No official figures have been released from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but it is expected that driving range (in the US) will be similar to Japan's new LEAF model at 141 miles – a 14% improvement.
A significant improvement to the new model will be an upgraded on-board charger – a 6.6 kW version compared to the original 3.6 kW charger. This modification will half the charging time from around 8 to 4 hours for a full charge. The 6.6 kW charger will be an optional extra on the LEAF S entry level model.
The 2013 LEAF offers a 7-inch colour LCD screen and six speaker audio system, and 17 inch alloys and leather seats are available. The boot luggage space is increased to 24 cubic feet with the rear seats upright, and 30 cubic feet with them folded down. A more efficient hybrid heating system has been introduced, and the level of regenerative braking has been increased when decelerating, to improve efficiency.
The original Nissan LEAF was the first mass produced all-electric vehicle that was designed specifically as an electric car, and has been successfully on sale in several global markets since 2010. To date, more than 50,000 units have been sold globally, almost 20,000 of which are in the US. The 2013 model will be in American dealerships from February.
As far as Next Green Car are aware Nissan will begin to manufacture and sell the new LEAF in the UK from this spring, and will offer the new LEAF with a choice of three trim levels including th lower price basic 'S'.
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