The 2012 Nissan Leaf is the second generation of Nissan’s all-electric family hatchback, following on from the highly popular 2011 Nissan Leaf.
But one year on from the original Leaf's launch, what's different in the 2012 model? Here's our list of things we think you need to know about the revised 2012 Nissan Leaf.
Like most other electric cars on the market, it will come complete with a level 2 J1772 charging port, capable of recharging from a suitable level 2 charging station from empty in between 6 and 12 hours, depending on the power provided by the charging station, temperature and the car’s state of charge.
Just like the 2011 Nissan Leaf, it will be possible to charge the 2012 Nissan Leaf from a 110-volt domestic power socket -- but this kind of charging is not recommended by ourselves or Nissan and could take up to 20 hours from empty.
When it comes to rapid charging, the higher specification 2012 Nissan Leaf SL will feature a direct-current rapid charging port as standard, allowing it to charge to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes from a compatible rapid charger.
Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf
The 2011 Nissan Leaf came with the ability to remotely pre-cool or pre-heat the cabin as standard, but the 2012 Nissan Leaf will come with a whole new package designed to keep both you -- and your car’s battery pack -- comfortable whatever the weather.
Inside, all seats and the steering wheel will benefit from heating elements. Keeping hands, feet and bottoms warm is actually more energy efficient but just as comfortable for the passengers than heating the entire cabin.
In addition, the battery pack gets its own heading elements, designed to keep it operating at peak efficiency in the middle of cold northern winters without dropping range drastically.
The downside to all of this is price. Adding extra features has increased the price of the 2012 Leaf SV by $2,420 to $35,200 before incentives. The SL model will increase to $37,250 - making the upper end Leaf within spitting distance of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt base model.
And while it’s expensive, the top of the range Leaf SL is kitted out with all the standard equipment you’d expect from a $35-40,000 car, offering far more gadgets and playthings to driver and passengers than the entry-level Volt.
Although we’ve not driven the 2012 Nissan Leaf, it should drive very much like the 2011 Nissan Leaf, since it is essentially the same vehicle with a few tweaks.
We’ve found the Leaf to provide a very comfortable driving experience thanks to even weight distribution and a low center of gravity. Acceleration is brisk and responsive, with 0-60 taking between 7 and 8 seconds.
Braking is firm, with a two-stage braking system which uses regenerative braking where possible to slow the car down, putting energy back into the battery pack. In an emergency, disc brakes can stop the car quickly and safely.
Steering is precise, but very light - and will certainly throw anyone who has not driven another drive-by-wire car like the Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius before. That said, it doesn’t take long to learn the new lighter wheel touch. Combined with the low center of gravity, we think you’ll enjoy cornering in the Leaf.
2011 Nissan Leaf does 520 Miles in 2 days
While we expect the 2012 Nissan Leaf to have the same 73 mile EPA approved range as the 2011 Nissan Leaf, it’s possible to eek out more than 100 miles per charge if you drive carefully, accelerating smoothly and not going above 45 mph.
Treat the 2012 Nissan Leaf roughly with harsh acceleration, high speeds and quick braking, and we expect it to return a real-world range as low as 50 miles in extreme heat or extreme cold.
And while the 2012 Nissan Leaf will feature the same Nissan Carwings telematics system to help you control your car's charging and cabin heating remotely, it will also have the same range prediction software that so many drivers have complained isn't accurate enough to rely on for long trips. Since the range prediction can change as much as 20 miles when you climb a large hill, we'd tend to agree.
We’ve not yet officially tested the 2012 Nissan Leaf, but if you want to know more information, don’t forget to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to the 2011 Nissan Leaf, join the GreenCarReports, Facebook group, or follow @greencarreports on twitter.