Japanese Nissan Leaf Gets Bigger Battery & Smaller Price Tag
Thousands of Nissan Leaf electric vehicles [EV] have been sold, both in the US, where EVs aren’t very popular, and in Japan, where they are slightly more acceptable, but they all have the same problem. Really, it’s the same problem that all EVs have, with public perception including limited EV range, excessive recharging times, and higher up-front costs. To address some of these concerns, the next-generation Nissan Leaf, at least in Japan, is making some changes.
Nissan Senior VP, Masaaki Nishizawa, explained, “People who try out the Leaf are moved, but they are worried about cruise range.” The new Nissan Leaf gets a larger battery pack with a range up to 140 miles, whereas the old battery was only good for about 120 miles. Leaf owners have charging stations at home, but until now, only about 200 charging stations were available at Nissan dealers. By next year, Nissan Japan is planning on having over 1,000 public-access charging stations available at some 700 Nissan dealers, as well as installations at convenience stores.
The new Nissan Leaf has dashboard display helps drivers keep an eye on their battery charge, so they can plan their drive and charge accordingly, and also features a navigation system that calculates routes for best EV efficiency. The charging plug was reduced in size and weight, and the whole system was moved to the front of the vehicle, which left more room for cargo in the trunk.
The whole vehicle is lighter, and the new electric motor uses less rare-earth metals, which leads to perhaps the most impressive thing about all the upgrades – The new Nissan Leaf costs less. The old version retailed for about $37,000, while the new one will start around $31,000. Will this new technology and better pricing make it to the United States? Considering how difficult Nissan Leaf sales are here in the US, I can imagine that such a change would be welcome news to those considering an EV in the near future.