2013 Nissan Leaf: Longer Range, Faster Charging, Leather Seats, And More: All The Upgrades

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In its third year on the market, the updated 2013 Nissan Leaf will have a slightly longer range, a new and lower-priced base model, faster charging, and a more efficient cabin heater.

The battery electric car goes into production at Nissan's assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, this week.

While the 2013 Leaf is still being tested to determine its EPA range rating, Nissan says that range higher than the 2012 model's 73 miles is "expected."

The higher range comes not from a larger battery --the lithium-ion pack remains at 24 kilowatt-hours--but from improvements to aerodynamics, regenerative braking, and energy management. Nissan says the drag coefficient has been cut from 0.29 to 0.28.

Optional 6.6-kW charger

The much-rumored 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger will be an extra-cost option on the base model, but standard equipment on the two upper trim levels--as it is on the 2013 Ford Focus Electric. It reduces the charging time for a fully depleted battery from seven hours to about four, using a Level 2 charging station.

The onboard charger in all 2013 Leafs has also been reduced in size and relocated to a new position under the hood, which increases cargo volume by removing the "charger hump" found on the load-bay floor on earlier cars.

Nissan is offering a new and optional hybrid heater that cuts energy consumption compared to the electric resistance heater used on 2011 and 2012 Leaf models.

Three trim levels

The new base trim level is called the Leaf S model. It replaces the LED headlights with less expensive projector beams, and uses 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers rather than alloy wheels.

It also loses both the navigation system and the remote connectivity that allows drivers to turn on the climate control and monitor battery charging remotely using a smartphone.

The Leaf S offers an optional rear-view camera that displays on the smaller display screen in the center stack. The 6.6-kW charger is optional as well.

The middle trim level, the 2013 Leaf SV, rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and offers the LED headlamps and running lamps as an option.

The top-range trim level, the Leaf SL, adds a number of new standard features, including leather seats and a new design for its 17-inch alloy wheels. It features the LED headlamps as standard equipment.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

A Premium Package for the SV and SL trim levels includes the AroundView monitor system, which shows images of the car's surroundings on the center display, and a seven-speaker energy-efficient audio system from Bose.

The 6.6-kW charger is standard on both SV and SL models.

Changes and upgrades

Other interior changes include the availability of black upholstery, longer sun visors, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Bluetooth connectivity is standard on all 2013 Leafs.

The trip computer now displays a battery state-of-charge percentage, as well as a bar graph, to give drivers more information on energy use.

The charging port door on the nose of the 2013 Leaf now has a light inside, to illuminate the ports, and can be locked. The intelligent key can be used to unlock the charge-port door.

Nissan has also added a driver-selectable "B" drive mode that increases brake regeneration.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

Electric motor, battery unchanged

The 2013 Nissan Leaf otherwise uses the same powertrain as the 2011 and 2012 models: an 80-kilowatt (107 horsepower) electric motor, producing 187 lb-ft of torque, driving the front wheels.

The CHAdeMO DC quick-charging port continues as an option, offering the ability to charge the battery pack to 80 percent in roughly half an hour.

Seven colors are offered on the 2013 Nissan Leaf: Brilliant Silver, Super Black, Cayenne Red, Pearl White, Blue Ocean, Metallic Slate, and Glacier White. The last two are new additions this model year.

Pricing for the 2013 Nissan Leaf will be revealed closer to the car's on-sale date in early February.


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Comments (48)
  1. Sounds like some thoughtful changes. Of course, what we really want to know is price. But I am guessing no one is talking about that yet.

  2. Agreed. Love that 'AllAround' view. If confirmed, level-3 aka quick-charging available on all trims is also remarkable. Kudos Nissan.

    Re pricing: if this is any indication, the Japanese version of the S trim is almost 6k$ cheaper than the 2012 SV. The US variant is different, but to what extent?

    Interesting times ahead...

  3. Any estimate on when it will be available?

  4. No idea, but Inside EVs says that production already began at the Tennessee plant, so it can't be too long.


  5. At the end of Nissan's YouTube video they say "available in dealerships at the beginning of February".


  6. It's brilliant to hear that the LEAF is becoming more competitive, I'm happy to hear that there's an option for a more efficient heater, the new B mode, better aerodynamics, more range, more affordable, and especially the 6.6kw charger, that's the highlight!!

    But I'm a bit confused, how is the motor not changed? I thought Nissan themselves reported that the amount of the element, Dysprosium, was reduced by 40%. This not only had reduced the environmental impact, but improved performance by removing weight as well.

  7. @Brian - Motor probabbly was not changed due to the large quantities they still have sitting around from last years models not selling as much as they originally planned.... just my guess. In the future maybe they will only build each motor as the cars need them on the assembly lines (or maybe that is how they are doing it) which could reduce extra parts/outdated or previous models parts. In turn would allow an upgrade to be imminent

  8. Wrong guess Justin. All leafs prior to this year were built in Japan...and they wouldn't just build many motors n leave them sitting around.

  9. The 40% reduction in dysprosium did not change power & torque specs of the 80kW (107 Hp) motor. The Japan version is said to weigh 30 kg less, but only includes 3.6 kWh charger & not 6.6 kWh charger option (in addition to CHAdeMO). Another 50 kg was eliminated in way the battery modules are assembled into battery pack.

    So, from driver perspective no performance change; from manufacturing perspective means lower cost & less dependency on constrained supplies of dysprosium from China.

  10. Sooo... The top-of-the-line Leaf now sounds like a Ford Focus Electric, which has been available since June of '12, with the leather seats option.

    But the Leaf still doesn't have active battery thermal management.

    And it's still ugly, IMO.

    Price? My guess: $36K before incentives.

    Glad I leased my Ford when I did. And by the time Nissan solves the battery thing, others like Ford and BMW (love their "i"-line of electric cars!) will have figured it out long ago. (In other words, it just makes no sense to OWN an EV right now since changes are happening--and happening fast!)

  11. I didn't know FFE had quick charging capability ;-)

    BTW, if owning an EV doesn't make sense, thermal management is a non-issue, unless you are in Pheonix.

  12. There were several reports from other locales, such as Houston, Dallas, and even LA. While the vast majority of owners will be fine, some could experience significant loss of range, which has been documented by the PIA study as well. We've been through this argument several times on MNL, and yet the issue of battery longevity continues to be trivialized. It's a valid concern in all hot climates, Phoenix is just a more extreme example. I'm glad that Nissan has decided to underwrite the performance of the battery, and offer a capacity warranty. I believe that the only way to take care of this is through actions, not words.

  13. If most of your daily driving is under 70 miles (which applies to over 90% of motorists), then owning a gas powered car as your primary car makes no sense.

  14. So, they did not improved the energy density of the battery; this mistake will continue to limit the car's use to that of a city/short range commuter auto. Yes, the car will go 70 miles but only if you keep it below 55-60 mph and drive in the slow lane with the truckers and...with a brand new, 100% charged battery. Nissan recommends you only charge the battery to 80% to extend the life of the battery. If you do that, you will not get 70 miles.

    What happens to the range as the battery ages and depletes from use? Right, the range goes down. The warranty by Nissan covers the battery for a reduction in energy density of 30% within 5 years. That says to me, expect even less range as the battery ages.

    How do I know all this?I own one.

  15. Yes, price must go down to under $30K for base model, range needs to get to the originally touted 100 miles at freeway speeds. Battery management is a continued concern, even with the new 5 year warranty. I don't like leather being made available--this is not environmentally sound.

    Our Leaf is a year and a half old, 16K miles, no loss of range that is discernible, but I expect the car to have a 50 mile range at the end of its 8 year warranty. I'm hoping for the option to buy battery modules inexpensively to get back lost range.

    In hindsight, leasing would have made more sense with a gen. 1 EV, but the Leaf has done everything we need it to do--as long as we drive no more than 35 miles each way!

  16. Why do people always have to hate on leather? It's natural, renewable, comfortable, practical and durable. I respect that some people are vegans, but that should be a choice for themselves, not everyone else. The cows will be slaughtered for their meat anyway. Why waste the hides? Native Americans didn't waste any part of an animal.

    Disclosure: I have cloth seats.

  17. "The cows will be slaughtered for their meat anyway."

    This is a common misperception. Leather is a co-product of the slaughter industry, not a by-product:


    Consuming either supports factory farming and all the environmental destruction it causes. Switching to a vegetarian diet can reduce one's carbon footprint to an even greater extent than switching to driving a LEAF:


    Or, for the detailed scientific analysis:


  18. Excellent reply A. Singh

  19. I don't mind leather being oferred as an option for those who want it, but I object to it being included in a package that forces you to take it to get other features. I dislike it because I find it extremely uncomfortable.

  20. Me too! Most Vegans, like myself, are passionate environmentalists. Leather seats should always be an option on a green car, and should never prevent us from acquiring other green, or safety features on a green car. Why would Nissan try alienate "green" green car buyers like this?

  21. I wouldn't expect a higher density battery after just 2 years.

  22. I keep hearing stories about 70 mi pr charge, as much as 130 mi.
    My leaf is a low milage car 1200 miles. and has never seen over 48 miles per charge at 80%charge driving 55 to 60 mph in eco mode. heating cabin 1 time pluged in at home, and 1 time on way home.

  23. Truth from an early adopter:
    They didn't improved the energy density of the battery; this mistake will continue to limit the car's use, on one charge. to a city/short range commuter. Yes, the car will go 70 to 80 miles if you keep it below 55 mph, drive on flat land, and, use a brand new, 100% charged battery. Nissan recommends you only charge the battery to 80% to extend the life of the battery. If you do that, you will not get 70 miles.

    The battery warrant is for a reduction in energy density of less than 30% within 5 years. And, I expect a reduction in range similar to this with age.

    I like driving car. I could love it if it went 100 miles at 65 mph.

  24. The Leaf's range is only limited by your state's ability to get DC fast chargers in the ground. We have made long distance trips using the DCFC installed along the I-5 and US2 in our Leaf. We actually made a 540 mile round trip sevral times in a weekend to my Mom's house from Seattle to Salem, OR. This was done in the winter, with the heater on and driving the speed limit, 60 in the 60, 70 in the 70. From Dec 23rd to Dec 25th we went 676 miles in our Leaf visiting relitives.

  25. FastCharging is a good topic. The new standard is not the ChaDeMo - the chargers installed in WA & Oregon cost about 140k each paid for by grants and the level 3 charging only works on the NISSAN Leaf and Mitsubishi - I was told they had to spend more money than anticipated due to the Leaf not getting the 100 per charge range that planners were originally told when they partnered with the Renault?Nissan alliance. The Volt can use the charger using level 2 but that's not used - why wait when you have a gas back up engine. Because the issue of fast chargers was not "thought out" the American taxpayer have funded something that will rarely be used. The taxpayer "grant" money for level 3 chargers only woking on Japanese cars not the brightest

  26. There are now 114 CHAdeMO chargers in US, with another 30-40 coming online in next month. http://is.gd/7Z7ayy
    OR & WA have established the most substantial networks.

    Highway driving needs fueling to be greater than a gallon of petro/hour to be practical. A gallon is equivalent to 33.7 kW of energy. Thus quick charging of >40kW/h is min necessary for highway driving. Even as battery density increase and the number of fuel stops decrease; we will still need higher charge rates (kW/h) to keep charge times reasonable. e.g. Tesla Model S's would take ~24 hours to charge 85kW at 3.6 kW/h. (12 hrs on 7kW/h Level 2, or 5 hrs on 19 kW/h Level 1 DC). Even the time difference for charging the Leaf's smaller 24 kWh battery is significant w/o QC.

  27. Quick Chargers (QC) are available for $10-15k, but soft costs associated with permits, sighting, and installation are currently 2-12x higher. This needs to be addressed. The challenge is this involves working through regional policies & politics, something that takes more time than is ideal.

  28. Hmm, I don't think your comparison makes sense, plus you seem confused with units and what DC is.

    Battery capacity can be expressed by how much energy it stores, e.g. in joules or in kW*h (1 kW*h = 3600 kW*s = 3.6 MJ).
    For the Leaf: 24 kW*h, or ~21.5 kW*h useable -- ie, it can output 21.5 kW for 1h.

    Charging now: how much energy is transferred per unit of time (e.g. kW*h per hour)? This is the definition of power (kW*h/h = kW).
    Today's CHAdeMO QCs typically deliver 50 kW (which is also the max the Leaf can accept), so would fill an ideal 25 kW*h battery in half an hour.

    Batteries are DC, the grid is AC. Conversion is done by the onboard charger for L1, L2 (vehicle gets 120 or 240V AC), and by the QC for L3 (vehicle receives 400+V DC).

  29. You are thinking too short term Sharyn. There will be twice as many of these EVs on the road by the end of this year that can use those chargers. Probably 50% more the year after that...

  30. You are correct. There are chargers pretty much everywhere here in WA (we even saw the one on snowy US2 on our way to Leavenworth 3 weeks ago).

    I tip my hat to you Matt; you were basically stopping to charge after one hour of driving (not sure how long you were charging).

    I hope the gov project at Argonne National Lab reaches its goal in 5 years. That will be a game changer.

  31. Daaaamn... It sucks for us early adopters... 2013 looks great but a lot more (especially the range) can and should be improved in the future. I wish I could cover 100+ miles like a normal person too.

  32. I feel this is going in the correct direction. Shorter charge times = more miles able to be driven per day. and a short 1hr charge = 15-18 additional miles (est. at 3mi/kWh) . Plenty of times where I (owning a MY12 LEAF) drive 10-15miles in the opposite direction after work running errands and grabbing a 1hr charge does not cut it enough for the difference in distance vs. charge speed/rate. The faster on-board charger makes perfect sense. Reprogramming the car to be more efficient with lower power consumption of electronics/heater, etc is a major plus too. Trunk storage space improved...ANOTHER PLUS. Either way anyone looks at this it's a great upgrade. I believe we will now see many more out on the road.

  33. So they fixed 3 of my complains on the Leaf.

    1. 6.6KWh charger
    2. Bettery Regenative Braking
    3. Leather Seat

    What about

    Range? (slightly improved)
    Battery thermal management?
    more Power?

  34. Many exciting additions to the LEAF. It is going to be interesting to see how the purchasing public reacts to the decision by Nissan to not to offer the increased battery range model which is being made in Japan to American customers.

    I suspect the single biggest issue with potential EV owners is range and only offering the new extended range car in Japan may be considered a slight to U.S. buyers. Nissan could have had a home run with the intro of the Japanese extended ranger version here in the states.

    However, an entry level (depending on actual cost) may be attractive to some. I hope people overlook the lack of increased range issue and buy many, many of them.

  35. @Kelly: Not sure quite what you're talking about here. There are much higher range figures being quoted for Japanese-market cars because their test cycle is quite different and a lot gentler than the tests & adjustment factors used for EPA range. AFAIK, all 2013 Leafs in all markets retain the same 24-Kwh battery pack

    The tweaks to the Japanese-market 2013 Leaf are largely carried over to the U.S.-built one, including the aero improvements and software updates. There are also some N America-only updates like the 6.6-kW charger.

  36. In Japan, Nissan is claiming a 14% range improvement for the 2013 LEAF, largely reported (perhaps erroneously) to come from a more efficient motor. Andy Palmer did say they were making some incremental improvements to the battery pack for 2013, but didn't indicate any increase in capacity. What's notable (as pointed out by others here), is that Nissan's not currently making any claims of motor updates for the USA. Perhaps the increased range in Japan is entirely attributable to the other improvements (software, aerodynamics, heat pump, etc.) that will carry over to the USA model as well. Let's hope.

    Also, my understanding is that the 6.6kW charger IS standard equipment on both the SV and SL trims, and is only optional on the S.

  37. @A Singh: See comment from Brian Henderson, above, regarding changes to the traction motor.

    You are correct regarding the 6.6-kW charger being standard on the two upper trim levels. When I read back through the article again, I realize I didn't specifically write that, just inferred it--so I've changed the copy a bit to make that clearer. Thanks for the comments.

  38. Please see the following comment by a Nissan executive on MNL:

    I regret that I didn't post when some in the forum were assuming what the Japan range meant for the US vehicles. It's important to remember that comparably-equipped LEAF vehicles will generally travel the same distance on the equivalent change. That's to say, if you put a US LEAF, next to a Japan LEAF, next to a Euro LEAF, and each is equipped the same, and each has the same charge, they will travel the same distance. The only difference is the window sticker mileage value. Each country requires a different testing protocol, and this is how it appears that a LEAF in Japan travels farther. It's simply not the case.

  39. It has been reported here on 11/20 that "Range on the Japanese model has also increased by 14 percent." This was not talking about EPA ratings or the Japanese mileage ratings.

    A 14% increase in miles per charge is a pretty big advancement in range and this increased range was loudly and proudly touted by Nissan when they made their announcement about the 2013 Japanese version.

    In your article from 1/09 about the U.S. made version of the you stated that "Nissan says that range higher than the 2012 model's 73 miles is 'expected."

    I would think that If Nissan had even a remote chance of getting that type of increase with the U.S model they would have said so just as they did with the Japanese version.

  40. Well, there is no way to edit any previous posts here, so I'll have to add an addendum to my post because as I was posting the clarification from Nissan was posted by George.

    In my defense, it appears that others in other forums were making the same conclusions as I have. BUT, I'm delighted to see the explanation and the clearing up of the confusion about the two versions and range.

    I was planning on getting a 2013 LEAF regardless of the increased range or not because I feel it is a fantastic vehicle and I want Nissan to make this car a success, but it is good to get this news as I think it will help others be more confident about the purchase.

  41. A month into my LEAF lease, I'm even more convinced that EVs won't gain significantly improved adoption until range at least doubles. You have to have reasonable in-metro range under poor conditions - not just ideal conditions. If the 73 mi range were worst-case, it would be far different than the approx 40 mile cold, dark, rainy range of the current model.

  42. It depends...on what you define as significantly improved adoption(probably should have used the term significant adoption instead) and what time frame you/we are pondering.

    As you may have seen in this website and others, most Americans drive less then 50 miles a day so range is not as big an issue as you think. I argue that this new 2013 Leaf will more then double its 2012 sales w/ at least 20K sold in North America due primarily to the many minor improvements in the vehicle, the lower price, and the fact that it is now built in the US.

    The Leaf is an excellent vehicle overall. In fact, if Nissan improves the Leaf as much as I think they will for the second gen, 100K in annual sales by the end of 2016 likely.

  43. price will be the most important but guessing the top level SL with all the trimmings to run $34,000 which should bring the entry level S in hopefully at $27,499 which puts it under $20K after fed tax credit. Hopefully that credit will be changed to an instant rebate before too long

  44. i still dont understand all the range complaints..most people including myself drive maybe 5-20 kmh to work...and very rarely leave the city...and if i want to go somewhere on the weekend i can rent a vehicle for $20 a day.....the money saved in gas during the wek and the avoidance of using gas would make me feel so great....if only i could get one here in North Bay Ontario...i really hate seeing the negativity instead of the push towards cleaning our environment...and again the cost issue?...really?...singh....if you dont like eating meat because of your religion feel free to adopt the north american religion..since thats where you are living...anyways...we need to support EV and most people dont drive that far...i want one!!!

  45. Does anyone know why Nissan went with only black leather interior for the SL Leaf? We leased a 2012 black exterior Leaf (wife's choice) with the light gray interior and black is the worst color to own in Socal! Even at 50-60 degrees outside it's hot inside! And at 100 degrees...AC cranked on, you'll lose a ton of miles on the battery. I was hoping to lease another red SL Leaf but it only comes in black leather interior?!? Any thoughts or opinions is welcomed. Thanks!

  46. Question: i am considering buying a new 2013 leaf or whatever the latest is as of probably May 2013 by the time I buy. But I've got to use if for a 75 mile flat freeway commute. I should be able to get a charge in Palo Alto Ca but ideally would like to be able to have flexibility to miss that occassionally. Is the Leaf ready? Or should I go with gas assist and a Chevy Volt or Honda CNG/Nat Gas option?

  47. To clarify my post: I'm commuting to work in Palo Alto and should be able to get a charge, but might not always have a spot open--tbd. The question is on the day I maybe couldn't, could I get back up to the East Bay? It is 75 miles door to door according to google maps....What to do?

  48. I have been having a few problems with my leaf which concerns me and people should be aware of: The main one is that I had to take the car in for service due to a computer/braking problem where the computer is unaware that the brakes are being pressed. The problem started as the car feeling like it is slipping for the first 1/2 second that the brakes are pressed, but has progressed to the point where I cannot turn the car on because you have to have your foot on the brake to start it!

    The problem is that the local NISSAN dealership cannot figure out why, and NISSAN America will not support the local dealership! The car has been in at the dealership for more than a week, with a life threatening hassard that Nissan is not addressing!

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