Coming in December: a new and improved Nissan Leaf

Nissan plans several upgrades for the 2013 Leaf, including leather seats, a redesigned interior and a more efficient heater.

 

The Detroit News reported today that Nissan plans several upgrades for the Leaf when it releases a new version in December, including leather seats, a redesigned interior and a more efficient heater.

Nissan’s Mark Perry said that Leaf customers were asking for leather seats and a darker interior. “People want a dark interior, so we’re to give them a dark interior, too.”

On a more practical level, the new and improved heating system should increase the Leaf’s range. Consumer Reports has found that the range of the Leaf dropped substantially in cold weather with the heater on. Perry says the 2013 Leaf will have a “much, much more efficient” heater that will greatly extend the EV’s range in cold weather. The Leaf’s EPA-certified range is 73 miles, but Nissan has said it can go up to 100 miles, depending on conditions. “You may not see much change on the EPA rating, but in cold-weather conditions you may see 20 to 25 miles of improvements,” said Perry.

So far, the Leaf is the best-selling EV in the US, though the Chevy Volt pulled ahead in February's tally. Perry expects Nissan to be selling 2,000 Leafs a month in the US by this summer. In December Nissan will begin producing the car at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, which has the potential to build up to 150,000 EVs a year.

 

Image: Nissan