European version of 2013 Nissan Leaf travels longer, costs lower

Article by Christian A., on February 28, 2013

The new European version of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle will have an extended range and lower price. The new European version of the Leaf, which will be produced in the United Kingdom, will sport an increased range of 200km (129 miles), significantly higher than the 175km range of the version made in Japan.

Although Nissan has yet to release official prices for the new Leaf, a source told Automotive News Europe that the new mid-level Leaf will have the same starting price as the current version, which costs around EUR25,990 in France after government incentives. The new entry-level Leaf could cost EUR2,000 less than the mid-level Leaf, placing a price of about EUR23,990 in France.

The price cut is the second in less than a year for the European Leaf, part of Nissan’s efforts to attract customers to the EV.  In January 2013, Nissan announced a price cut of EUR3,000 as it missed its target of selling 9,000 Leafs in Europe in 2012.

According to figures from JATO Dynamics, Nissan just sold 5,210 Leafs in Europe. Nissan will build the new European Leaf at its Sunderland plant England, where it will also produce the car's lithium-ion batteries. Nissan also improved the new European Leaf’s driving dynamics by implementing changes to shock absorber settings and steering weight.

In a statement, Nissan said that the performance tweaks would make the Leaf "more in tune with European tastes." The looks of the new European Leaf remains almost the same, except for a more aerodynamic grille. Customers, however, could now choose from an increased number of wheel options. Nissan also made the trunk roomier by moving the charger assembly to under the hood, increasing trunk capacity increases 330 liters from to 370 liters, making it more in line with its rivals in the compact sector.

Customers could also opt for a faster 6.6 Kw charger, which replaces the standard 3.3 Kw system. According to Nissan, the new charger will allow use of 32-amp charging available from the latest generation of home and commercial systems. Nissan will unveil the new European Leaf at the 2013 Geneva auto show in March and will commence its production in April.

On the front end, the new Nissan Leaf is distinguished by its upright V-shaped design as highlighted by long, up-slanting LED headlights (light-emitting diode) with a blue internal reflective design. While these LED headlights announce the special nature of the Leaf, they also have other functions. For instance, their design allows them to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, thereby resulting to lower levels of noise and drag. In addition, these LED units consume just a tenth of the electricity consumption of conventional headlamps, thereby allowing the Leaf to achieve its vaunted range autonomy.

The new Leaf also features pleasing yet stylish interior, thanks to bright trim colors. The interior features a "blue earth" color theme based from the Aqua Globe body color of introductory model of the Leaf. This "blue earth" color theme is evident on the blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination.

Nissan Leaf takes pride in its exclusive advanced IT system that is linked to a global data center. This IT system could not just support and information but also in-cabin entertainment anytime of the day. The remaining power or the so-called "reachable area" can be seen on the EV’s dash-mounted monitor, which also shows a selection of the nearest charging stations. Drivers could also use their smartphones to turn on air-conditioning and set charging functions, even when the EV is powered down. Drivers could also pre-program an on-board remote-controlled timer to recharge batteries.

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