Now in its third model year, the highly innovative, industry leading Nissan LEAF pure electric vehicle features an extensive list of important enhancements for 2013. Importantly, Nissan LEAF is now assembled in the United States at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn. assembly plant, with battery production taking place right next door in the country's largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant.
Changes to the 2013 Nissan LEAF start with improved energy efficiency* due to refined aerodynamics, a wider range of regenerative braking, improved energy management and a new 6.6 kW onboard charger that reduces 220V charging time nearly in half to approximately four hours for full charge*.
For 2013, a new entry-level Nissan LEAF S grade joins the SV and SL grades to provide a lower-priced entry point for potential customers. Building on this new S grade, an array of feature enhancements are also now added to the Nissan LEAF SL grade, including leather-appointed seating, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels Around View® Monitor and 7-speaker Bose® energy efficient audio.
“The 2013 Nissan LEAF continues to be the EV benchmark in the automotive industry and with even greater efficiency, shorter charging time and a new entry-level S grade, this vehicle now fits the lives of more Canadians than ever,” said Brian Thomas, Director of Marketing, Nissan Canada. "This is a great example of how Nissan listens to our customers to improve our products."
Other 2013 model year additions include an available hybrid heater system that provides superior cold weather performance while consuming less energy; a new available "B" drive mode that increases regenerative braking during deceleration; and a new standard charge port light and lock with a charge port door release button added to the intelligent key fob.
Enhanced interior features range from a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel to a new black interior colour and sun visor extensions. Rear cargo space has been increased to 24 cubic feet (680L) with the 2nd row seat upright by relocating the onboard charger to the front of the vehicle. There is 30 cubic feet (850L) of cargo space with the standard 60/40-split rear seat folded down.
EV-IT improvements for 2013 include a new "Eco route" feature added to the available navigation system that includes suggested power-saving alternative routes – plus Google® local search. The new Google Places search function allows Nissan LEAF owners to look for area restaurants, shops and other points of interest and browse user reviews using Google's POI database to get the most up-to-date information at all times.
Also new is the availability of the Nissan LEAF App for Canadian Android users which will allow even more customers to control their Nissan LEAF from the comfort of their smart phone and will be backward compatible to previous generation models.
A Dedicated EV Platform, Innovative Battery Design
The front-wheel drive Nissan LEAF uses a dedicated EV platform with batteries housed in the floor for optimum vehicle packaging and weight distribution. The body design includes a rigid-mounted battery frame, which helps provide greater body rigidity compared to a conventional compact car.
Nissan LEAF rides on a 2,700 mm wheelbase, with a 4,445 mm overall length, 1,770 mm width and 1,550 mm height. Dimensionally, the Nissan LEAF falls in between the Nissan Altima and Nissan Versa, and like those vehicles provides room for five adults and a good-sized cargo area. Placing the batteries in the floor of the vehicle provides optimum weight distribution to help enhance handling and allows for five-passenger seating by not intruding into the cabin space. Nissan LEAF's 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is comprised of 48 compact modules of four cells each (192 cells total), which allows a high degree of packaging flexibility. The batteries are designed to maximize drive time and minimize charging time.
The battery was developed by the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture of Nissan and NEC. Unlike conventional cylindrical batteries, the thin, compact laminated cells offer more flexibility in design applications. The battery powers a high-response 80kW AC synchronous motor, rated at 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque, which drives the front wheels through a single speed reducer. Unlike a conventional internal combustion engine, Nissan LEAF has 100 percent of its torque available from start, delivering smooth, consistent acceleration and the driving feel similar to a conventional V6 engine.
The Nissan LEAF offers a number of charging options. A charge port is located in the front body for the 220V charger and portable trickle charge cable (110V). A charge port light and lock has been added for 2013. Quick Charge Port (standard on SV and SL) allows charging to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes at public charging stations using a DC fast charger. There is also a standard photovoltaic solar panel spoiler on SL models, which supports charging of the 12-volt battery for vehicle accessories.
For 2013, Nissan LEAF features a new standard 6.6 kW onboard charger that reduces 220V charging time nearly in half to approximately 4 hours for a full charge. All Nissan LEAF models come with a standard portable trickle charge cable.
"The combination of increased efficiency, faster charging and the growing availability of infrastructure gives Nissan LEAF owners even more flexibility and confidence that the car will meet their everyday driving needs," said Thomas.
The 2013 Nissan LEAF again uses an independent strut suspension with stabilizer bar in front and a torsion beam rear suspension with integrated stabilizer bar. Responsive steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power steering system.
Braking is provided by power-assisted front vented disc/vented rear disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Nissan LEAF's standard regenerative braking system helps increase range. By applying the brakes or reducing speed by letting off the accelerator, the electric motor acts as an electric generator, converting energy that would otherwise be wasted into battery energy. The new "B-mode" (SV and SL grades) allows the driver to engage an even more aggressive level of regenerative braking while decelerating, such as when going down hills. The "B-mode" is in addition to the normal and Eco drive modes. The Eco mode increases regenerative braking, assists in limiting motor output and reduces HVAC power output.
Exterior Designed for "Smart Fluidity"
Nissan LEAF's dedicated EV body is designed to offer "smart fluidity" – a fusion of sophisticated aerodynamic management and aerodynamic acoustics with the freedom provided by the new EV layout.
The smooth, elegant movement of the body starts from the low, compact hood, moves through the iconic shoulder character line and on toward the large rear spoiler.
The distinctive exterior styling is characterized by sharp, upright V-shaped design featuring long, up-slanting headlights with a blue internal reflective appearance. The headlights split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, reducing wind noise and drag. LED headlights, which consume about 50 percent of the electricity of halogen headlights, are standard on SL. Heated outside mirrors are standard on all grades.
In the rear, the slim-type aerodynamic LED taillight design and crisp corners combine with the aerodynamic rear bumper with rear diffuser to manage the aerodynamics of the rear end without compromising rear interior roominess. The coefficient of drag for 2013 has been improved to 0.28 (versus the previous 0.29).
The exterior also utilizes a flat underbody (including a large front flat floor cover, electric motor area undercover, front undercover and rear diffuser with fins) to help manage airflow under the vehicle. An innovative vortex-shedding roof-mounted antenna is one of many design elements utilized to help reduce wind noise. Other noise reduction features include a quiet-operation windshield wiper motor, a sound insulation windshield design and a dual-isolated motor-mounting system. The 5-door hatchback design also features chrome door handles, aerodynamic outside mirrors and a large greenhouse to provide a bright interior environment.
Three different wheel designs are offered for 2013: 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers for S, 5-spoke 16-inch aluminum-alloy for SV and new split 5-spoke 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels for SL. Bridgestone Ecopia 205/55R16 all-season tires are used with the S and SV grades, while 215/50R17 Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires are standard on SL.
Five exterior colours are available: new for the 2013 model year Metallic Slate and Pearl White, along with the previously offered Super Black, Cayenne Red, and Blue Ocean.
Distinctive "EV Touch" Interior
The roomy Nissan LEAF interior offers a pleasingly modern design created to provide a unique "EV touch" with "simple and human flow." The bright, welcoming atmosphere starts with the wide, high tech instrument panel design – which is dominated by a twin combination meter display in front of the driver and a centre "floating" C-stack with a 4.3-inch colour LCD display (S grade). A 7-inch display is standard on SV and SL grades. The digital "eyebrow" display at the top of the instrument panel provides high visibility for the Eco indicator and speedometer, while the lower liquid crystal meter display houses the new percentage style state-of charge meter, power meter, battery temperature gauge, multi-function display, remaining energy gauge, capacity level gauge and distance to empty display.
The flat panel centre C-stack cluster continues the "EV touch" feel with the colour monitor for the available navigation system, available Around View® Monitor and control of the audio and climate systems.
The display also provides access to the CARWINGS telematics system (standard on SV and SL), which is connected to a Nissan data centre, (subscription required, no charge for 36 months). Through CARWINGS, Nissan LEAF drivers are able to use mobile smart phones to turn on air conditioning and set charging functions remotely, even when the vehicle is powered down. The system also displays "reachable area," as well as showing a selection of nearby charging stations. An on-board charging timer can also be programmed to start the charging event whenever desired. Also standard on SV and SL grades is the Nissan Navigation System with NavTraffic (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately).
The Nissan LEAF interior also includes comfortable heated front bucket seats and a 60/40 split folding heated rear seat and rear HVAC duct. SV seat fabric is made with partially recycled materials.
Recycled materials are also used for the back door trim, roof trim and headliner, carpeting and a number of other interior pieces such as the door panels and centre console storage cover. Nissan LEAF SL includes new standard leather-appointed seats for 2013.
The centre console area includes the palm shifter (inspired by a PC mouse) for the "by wire" drive selector. The standard 3-spoke heated leather-wrapped steering wheel houses controls for the cruise control (except S), audio system and standard Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System. SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately) is also standard, with HomeLink® Universal Transceiver standard on SL models.
Three audio systems are offered, starting with an AM/FM/CD with MP3/WMA CD playback capability, 4 speakers and 4.3-inch colour LCD display for S trim. SV add two additional speakers, the 7.0-inch display and SL adds the Bose® 7-speaker premium audio system. New for 2013, Black interior replaces light grey.
Standard 2013 Nissan LEAF safety systems include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags, roof mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection, 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver's seat ELR only) with pretensioners and load limiters, child seat upper tether anchor, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and child safety rear door locks. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS) are also standard on all Nissan LEAF models.
Three Well-Equipped Models
The 2013 Nissan LEAF is offered in three well-equipped models, the S, SV and SL. Standard features include a 6-way manual driver's seat, 4-way manual front passenger's seat, trip computer (instant and average energy consumption, driving time, outside temperature and autonomy range), Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), centre console storage and 6.6 kW onboard charger.
Other standard equipment includes Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start, power windows with driver's window one-touch auto up/down, power door locks with auto locking feature, remote charge door release, heated front and rear seats and steering wheel, two cupholders, four bottle holders, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a 12-volt power outlet and 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers.
The Nissan LEAF SV model adds Nissan Navigation system, 7.0-inch colour LCD screen, CARWINGS telematics, Quick Charge Port, 6-speaker audio system, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, hybrid heater system, cruise control, auto-dimming inside mirror, partially recycled cloth seat fabric, passenger side map pocket and "B-mode" regenerative braking.
The 2013 Nissan LEAF SL model adds a photovoltaic solar panel spoiler, fog lights, auto on/off headlights, cargo cover, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, Aroundview Monitor, leather-appointed seats, LED headlights and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
A Roadside Assistance program is offered for 36 months at no charge, as is service for the CARWINGS telematics system.
The advanced lithium-ion battery pack carries an industry-competitive warranty of 8 years or 160,000 kms. Under an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, Nissan will protect against capacity loss in Nissan LEAF batteries that fall below nine bars, of the available 12 bars displayed on the vehicle's battery capacity gauge, for the first five years or 100,000 kms in the Canada, whichever comes first.
Canada's Nissan LEAF production is sourced from assembly and battery production facilities in Smyrna, Tennessee. It is assembled on the same line as the Nissan Maxima and Nissan Altima. Nissan has a 30-year history of building quality vehicles in Smyrna. Nissan's new lithium-ion battery plant is in an adjacent facility. Nissan is the only automaker that manufactures its own electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
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*Charging times and range estimates may vary depending on driving/charging habits, weather, temperature and battery age.