2013 Nissan LEAF to Feature More Range in Cold Weather

By · March 20, 2012

Nissan LEAF in snow

The 2013 Nissan LEAF will feature an improved heating system that boosts range by up to 25 miles in cold-weather conditions.

When Nissan rolls out the 2013 version of the all-electric LEAF in late 2012, it will feature a new heating system—improving its range in cold weather—as well as an upgraded interior and (as previously reported) an optional 6.6-kW on-board charger. Nissan will unveil the upgraded 2013 LEAF in December when production of the electric hatchback begins in Smyrna, Tennessee. Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan Americas, discussed the enhancements in an interview with The Detroit News.

Perry also said the 2013 LEAF will come with an optional leather interior package and will offer LEAF buyers a choice of either a light- or dark-colored interior.

Nissan strategically situated its initial markets in regions with relatively mild weather, but the LEAF is now offered on a national basis. Therefore, the EV will need to maintain adequate range in the country's most frigid states. In its current configuration, range is reduced when a driver runs the vehicle's heater for an extended period. Nissan responded to feedback about the need to maintain range in cold weather, and will equip the 2013 LEAF with a "much, much more efficient" heater, says Perry. "You may not see much change on the EPA rating, but in cold-weather conditions, you may see 20 to 25 miles of improvements," Perry stated.

A switch from the 3.3-kW charger to one that provides 6.6-kW of power is also a much needed improvement, that Nissan previously confirmed for the 2013 model. Currently, the LEAF's 3.3-kW charger allows drivers to add about 10-12 miles of range in an hour. The faster charger, which essentially has become the market standard, will add roughly twice as much range during an hour's worth of being plugged in using a 220V source. For many mid-range trips where public charging is available, the faster charger is the difference between being able to take the LEAF or having to seek other alternatives.

Perry says that Nissan is on track to double LEAF sales in 2012 and he expects volume to hit 2,000 units per month in the US by late summer.

Comments

· · 6 years ago

I love it. I wish they can up the range to 150 miles or even 200 if it's possible. I made a trip to Worcester, MA from Boston for an event at Assumption College. After a full day of driving around I clocked in about 140 miles round trip.

· · 6 years ago

I'll be interested to see how much the optional 6.6-kW on-board charger costs. I suspect it will require higher gauge wiring, etc. So it's far more than a simple plug and play swap.

Also, when Mark says "20 to 25 miles of improvements", you should read that as "10 to 15 miles of improvements". :-)

· · 6 years ago

Better heater (and the ability to turn it off while still using fan and vents), a dark interior that doesn't show dirt and mud as much*, and a faster charger seem like worthwhile improvements. I'll be interested to see the pricing for the 2013 model year.

But I have to say I am quite happy with my 2012 and the cold weather range turned out to be better than I expected. Once Phil Sadow starts shipping his CC control mod I'll be even happier.

*Picture of my "dirt road LEAF":
http://img252.imageshack.us/img252/5370/dirtroadleaf0359sf12312.jpg

· · 6 years ago

Nothing in the "The Detroit News" article about a 6.6kW charger. When and where did Mark Perry confirm the new charger?

· · 6 years ago

I'm glad that Nissan is working to improve the heater. It is definitely a shock to see how much energy it takes, although I have yet to live with it through a winter. I wish they would put in a "fan only" mode in the climate control. This should take next to no power, and many times that's all I really want.

· · 6 years ago

dgpcolorado: hehe that's a cool pic.

I remember seeing somewhere that the best way to promote EVs was to wax them and wash them and floss them everyday. But, in my opinion some dirt on the doors is a better approach. Real life is muddy. :)

· · 6 years ago

@KeiJidosha - The likelihood of 6.6 kW charger was previously discussed by Nissan. I corrected the post to make that more clear.

· · 6 years ago

Nissan is being responsive to what people say they want. Always a good sign.

· · 6 years ago

Here in the SoCal mountains we just received over two feet of snow, and instead of driving around in our all-wheel-drive car, I put tire chains on the LEAF. It did quite well in the snowstorm with only marginally plowed roads. Now that the weather is clear and the snow is starting to melt, the LEAF is covered in road grime. :-)

Noticed that the 6.6 kW charger is planned as an option. I don't know how much extra it'll cost, but for maximum flexibility, I'd strongly encourage 2013 LEAF owners to spring for this option. Even at home a 6.6 kW charger could be helpful, when making multiple trips during the day.

· · 6 years ago

@abasile - "Here in the SoCal mountains we just received over two feet of snow"
I'm actually jealous. Here in Syracuse (the snowiest city >100k people in the US), we've had the 4th least-snowy winter on record. I wish we had some serious snow. Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait to see how my Leaf performs.

"I'd strongly encourage 2013 LEAF owners to spring for this option"
I agree, but not necessarily for at home. There are many L2 chargers around this area, at which you pay by the hour, regardless of your charge rate. The 6.6kW charger gives you twice the bang for your buck at these stations. Also, if you're out for lunch, a good hour's charge will give you 20+ miles range instead of 10+. That can be a huge difference when you're out and about.

Ultimately, I hope that consumers learn how to evaluate what they truly need from the car and buy what suites them, rather than buy every available option "just in case". In my case, this means L1 charging at home (for now), and passing on the L3 option in the car.

· · 6 years ago

Its actually sad that they stop at 6.6 Kw L2 charging. I can L2 charge my Tesla Roadster at 16 Kw. In a 1 hour lunch break, I can get up to 70 miles of range. Tesla didn't even have to put in much extra hardware since they use the motor and inverter components to charge as well. These are already the right size to handle a lot more than 16 Kw.
In 5 - 10 years, everyone will look back and laugh at how low the expectations were for EVs in 2011.
Providing only 3.3 Kw charging will be like Bill Gate's suggestion that 640K is more memory than a computer could ever need.

· · 6 years ago

These were some of the enhancements, there are more for 2013 not mentioned. Basic tweaks to navigation, CarWings, braking regeneration, key remote, just improvements all around. Nissan is learning and making adjustments as you would expect. It's like your iPhone upgrade to 4s.
Did not realize the 6kw charger was an option. Probably trying to keep the base price to a minimum.

· · 6 years ago

@Red Leaf,
The cost shouldn't be an issue. All of the internal wiring of the battery is already big enough to handle 6.6 Kw because the motor requires it. It shouldn't add anything to the vehicle cost.
The problem that led to the wimpy 3.3 Kw charging was simply a lack of foresight. Nissan product managers didn't think beyond Japan whose 240 outlets are limited to 15 Amps (~3.3 Kw) and didn't realize that US households usually are wired for 240 volt, 30 and 50 Amp service to handle electric dryers, ranges, and air conditioners.
I'm fine with Nissan using 6.6 Kw as a value-add option though. There may be some people who really don't do much driving for whom 3.3 Kw is sufficient, just as 1.2 Kw (120 volt) works for some.
Choice is good.

· · 6 years ago

@Red Leaf,
The cost shouldn't be an issue. All of the internal wiring of the battery is already big enough to handle 6.6 Kw because the motor requires it. It shouldn't add anything to the vehicle cost.
The problem that led to the wimpy 3.3 Kw charging was simply a lack of foresight. Nissan product managers didn't think beyond Japan whose 240 outlets are limited to 15 Amps (~3.3 Kw) and didn't realize that US households usually are wired for 240 volt, 30 and 50 Amp service to handle electric dryers, ranges, and air conditioners.
I'm fine with Nissan using 6.6 Kw as a value-add option though. There may be some people who really don't do much driving for whom 3.3 Kw is sufficient, just as 1.2 Kw (120 volt) works for some.
Choice is good.

· · 6 years ago

ex-EV1 driver

Great then I beat it is standard. The info I have does not say either way.

· · 6 years ago

I meant bet not beat.

· · 6 years ago

Better heater (and the ability to turn it off while still using fan and vents) is so important for usable range Nissan really should retro fit to 2011.

· · 6 years ago

Are there any plans for a spare tire or spare tire add-on?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

'Much, much more efficient' heater sounds like a heat pump. Can anyone confirm?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Well, it seems nissan is slowly working itself towards tesla standards, maybe in five years we will see a leaf with 150 mile range, and a 10 kw charger.

· · 5 years ago

@Anonymous: "maybe in five years we will see a leaf with 150 mile range, and a 10 kw charger"

And around the same time, we'll see a Tesla around $30k. It will be interesting to see them meet in the middle somewhere.

· · 37 weeks ago

@Briam, spot on! Model 3 and 2018 Leaf competition! 60KWh Leaf may be a 2019 model though.

Wish someone would have a way to mod a Chevy Volt to have 6.6KW charging for gen 1 and 2. There is research of lean burn on 1st gen Volts for more charge sustain MPG.

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