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.

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