Nissan to install over 100 quick chargers in Leaf dealers

Article by Anita Panait, on July 11, 2013

Nissan Motor Co. will install over 100 public DC quick chargers at dealers certified to sell its Nissan Leaf in 21 markets in the United States. The charging units will use the CHAdeMO standard to charge a Leaf from zero to around 80 percent in just 30 minutes. Some of the main reasons why consumers in the US have been reluctant to shift to electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids are their concerns with the unit's driving range, inadequate charging infrastructure and high prices of such products.

Nissan posted a 213-percent rise in sales of the Leaf EV in the first half of 2013 to 9,839 units, but the figures were still below the carmaker's expectations. Nissan also trimmed the price of the Leaf earlier this year to attract more buyers for the Leaf.

Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy for Nissan, said in a statement, remarked that the Japanese carmaker is undertaking a "proactive, multi-pronged approach" to expand charging infrastructure to increase awareness of the Leaf, and "instill range confidence in potential customers."

He remarked that available charging infrastructure "opens the doors" for more Nissan Leaf sales. Nissan's move followed a 24-dealer pilot program that it implemented at dealerships in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Seattle. According to Nissan, the pilot was rolled out to assess how frequent the chargers were used and the impact of on-site charging on a dealership's operations.

Richard Luengo, general manager at Nissan of Downtown Los Angeles, said in a statement that since their dealership is located at the intersection of two of the busiest freeways in the US, having a quick charger available for the drivers is "a boon for business."  He said that their store is averaging around 10 charging sessions daily at its quick charger. He said the installation of a quick charger at their store resulted to noticeable improvement in sales.

Nissan revealed that it implemented important changes on the interior of the LEAF, which include the new seats. In particular, the seats have now been designed to provide better support. The seats in the front have now been integrated with height adjustment. Further, the seats have a new shape allowing those sitting in the rear to have access to additional leg room of 53 mm.

To make this possible, Nissan did what was known as reprofiling for the driver seat and the passenger seat. The increase in leg room then is due to those sitting in the back having the opportunity to place their feet under the front seats. In terms of configuration, the LEAF makes use of the bespoke EV platform. Overall length is 4,445 mm, with total width of 1,770 mm, and a height at 1,550 mm.

Wheelbase meanwhile measures 2,700 mm. Overall, the shape can be clearly considered as one that is aerodynamic. Nissan made small changes on the grille, which is in fact the only obvious change between the original LEAF and this new version. By applying a 17-inch wheel, it made it possible to lower the Cd to 0.28. In designing the body, the brand utilized its “smart fluidity” philosophy.

This principle shows a kick-up roofline that combines well with the large spoiler. The shape itself, described as wind cheating, is enhanced by the smooth and flat underfloor. Like in the previous model, framing the front section are the slim headlights placed in an almost vertical position. For top models, the headlights will offer LED lighting. Further, the lights are able to channel the airflow away from the vehicle’s door mirrors and thus aid with the aerodynamics while also lowering wind noise.

Meanwhile the rear section is dominated by the vertical and thin taillights, which have been curved in a gentle manner. Being an EV, customers are not likely to see an exhaust pipe in this area.

When it comes to the available range of colors, Nissan made sure to expand the choices available. Overall there are seven colors offered for the exterior. In the previous model, only three were offered which included blue pearl metallic, metallic silver, and white pearl. The new colors are black metallic, grey, red pearl metallic, and solid white.

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