2013 Nissan Leaf: Better Heater, Leather Option, 6.6-kW Charger

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Three Nissan Leafs

Three Nissan Leafs

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Nissan’s all-electric Leaf hatchback has only been on sale in the U.S. for the past 15 months, but Nissan has already confirmed it will get some much-needed upgrades for the 2013 model. 

Speaking to The Detroit News yesterday, Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan Americas confirmed that the 2013 Leaf will get an improved heating system and an upgraded interior fitted as standard. 

Although the electric-powered air heater found in the 2011/12 Leaf is adequate enough to keep the interior warm in all but the coldest of temperatures, its use comes with a caveat: a drop in range of as much as 30 miles. 

As we’ve found in the past, sacrificing heat for range is hardly pleasurable. 

Neither Nissan nor Perry has detailed how the heating system in the 2013 Leaf will be different, but we do know it will improve winter performance. 

2212 Nissan Leaf Winter Test

2212 Nissan Leaf Winter Test

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“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 promised, although it is important to note Nissan hasn’t mentioned a change in either battery pack capacity or chemistry.

The other major improvements -- aside from the 6.6 kilowatt charger that Perry promised last year -- are focused on the car’s interior. 

When the Leaf launched, its white seats made from recycled plastic bottles may have been environmentally responsible, but not everyone liked them, Perry admitted. 

“We were like, ‘Ah, let’s do the clean, green recycled materials.’” Perry said. But as Nissan soon found out, customers wanted other options, especially those with children or pets. 

As a consequence, the 2013 Leaf will be offered with optional Leather seats, as well as a choice of light or dark interior trim.

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

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At the moment, little else is known about the 2013 Leaf, except that it will be manufactured in the U.S. at Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee. 

Some analysts have suggested that the domestic manufacture of the Leaf will also help Nissan keep its price down, but Nissan has yet to confirm official pricing.

If you’re considering a Nissan Leaf, we’re keen to know if the latest announcement will delay your purchase decision. 

Or perhaps you’ve been looking at other electric cars and now think the 2013 Leaf may meet your needs? 

Let us know in the Comments below. 


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Comments (16)
  1. So, they are finally going to put a gas/alcohol heater in it. Good! Volvo knows that burning hydrocarbons directly, to make heat, is the only logical answer. 1960's Corvair had the best heater ever.


  2. I wonder if Nissan will adopt Renault's heat pump system. Maybe for EVs with a relatively small battery like the Leaf's its a good idea to offer an ethanol heater option like Volvo's, especially for models intended for colder climates.

    The 6.6KWH charger certainly is progress, but what the Leaf really needs to get the sort of sales to warrant the Smyrna production line investment is a substantial price cut. The chances of that are not going to be helpful for sales of the 2012 model I suppose.

  3. I wouldn't trade my 2011 LEAF in for the seat options or heater, but the 6.6 kw charger, I might.

  4. I am thrilled Nissan created the Leaf and I would love to see their sales take off. A less expensive version made in TN would probably help a lot. I think it's a great car, but I have never like the styling. The front end is funky and the rear is even worse. I wonder if they are going to tune up the sheet metal to make it more attractive.

  5. The 2012 Leaf is up in price due to the weak US dollar. I want to see what the price will be when 2013 car and batteries are made in USA. With tax rebate, we need to get near $25k for people to consider in mass. Mid 30's will never do.

  6. While I am happy that Nissan is making improvements to the LEAF, I am still very happy with my 2011. I have been driving it for over a year and loving it every day!

  7. These new standard features and more options are great but the Leaf needs to at least double its range before it will really be viable for most folks to consider...including me.

  8. Yeah, I know... All this time off that we get plus the road trips we take each month absolutely require a long hauler. Who needs a commuter car when you can live a dream :-)

  9. it is interesting that the 6.6 KW charger is not specifically mentioned in several articles reporting the announcement. something i would think Nissan would empathize since the Focus will have it

  10. I love Nissan Leaf--Tax write off is great for the rich, but how about the poor? Look at the adds: 0 to $7,500 tax rebate....guess who gets the zero! the poor... The price NEEDS to be around $25,000 before I get one.

  11. I bought my 2011 LEAF for $32,000. I recieved the $7500 tax credit, so I got a nice amount of the money back. Plus in Washington State we don't have to pay sales tax on electric cars, which saved me another couple of thousand or so.
    As experiences is demonstrating to me, I am saving at least $2000/year by not having to pay for expensive gas, oil changes, radiator flushes, engine cleanings, belt replacements, spark plugs, etc. By my calculations, I am spending only about 2 cents per mile for electricity, rather than the 20+ cents per mile I am spending in gas for our other cars.
    At this rate, I estimate that I will have saved more money than I spent for my LEAF after about 10-11 years, with the car essentially paying for itself.

  12. Was getting ready to order a Leaf, but financing is tricky having to wait until next year to get the $7500 back. I had put my reservation in the day that opened up. I have a 34 mile each way commute, and am pretty sure I can get my office to install a charging station here. Already applied for our local power company's $2500 credit for EV charger installation. But then I saw the announcement about a better heater, and faster built-in charger. I am in Michigan, so heat is necessary. So I figure I need to wait (darn it!) until the 2013. Plus, maybe the tax credit will go to $10000 and be instant when you buy the car.

  13. A portable 110-220-240 volt charger that comes with the car! Love Phil @ EVSE-UPGRADE, but for the amount of money we paid for our leaf, it should of been included....

  14. I am with David. My Leaf was $34,500 or so. minus the 7500 tax credit (leased to get it right away) minus the $3000+ sales tax i did not have to pay and my Leaf was the same as buying any other $24,000 car. But that is only the beginning. I am saving $90 a month over my 2010 Prius in fuel costs. Think about what the savings would be over a vehicle that does not average 48 MPG!!! The price of the Leaf is fine and sure my 2011 does not have some bells i wish it had (seat heaters) but for the Price, i am more than happy to keep what i have. 15,500 miles with ZERO range loss!!

  15. As soon as I can order a 2013 I am doing it. I live in Indiana so the improved heater will be worth the wait.

  16. Yes, but the biggest and most important issue for me is the 6.6 charger. Since I live in Miami the heater is a non issue for me except for two weeks out of the year. But it is still nice to know you have the new heater and it will not suck 25 miles from the charge... now how about the A/C?

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