Nissan LEAF Improvements Coming To Boost Sales

Range anxiety is a term we’ve heard bandied about a lot, and it refers to the fear of being stranded in an electric vehicle. There are different remedies for this; offering range-extended electric vehicles is one. RE-EVs (or plug-in hybrids) are cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma.

The ability to offer a nice amount of electric range while reducing worry though a gas generator is an attractive proposition. The other way of getting around it for the most part is just to have a huge battery pack; Tesla is an example of this with the Model S. The Nissan LEAF, on the other hand, is rated at just 71 miles of range by the Environmental Protection Agency. That is low enough to cause range anxiety for some.

While we like the car a lot, we can understand that figure being a sales barrier. Another one is price; at $32,780 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, it isn’t exactly cheap for what is a subcompact second car. Sales haven’t been exactly lighting up the charts. That’s why it was curious when Nissan announced an expansion of production though the addition of a new facility in Smyrna, Tennessee.

We wondered if they had something up their sleeves to boost sales Via InsideEVs comes a report by Japan’s SankeiBiz newspaper that could help address two issues about the car. One is range; through improvements in battery technologies, more kWH and possibly a new transmission, range for 2013 is said to be boosted by 25%. That would take the LEAF up to 91 EPA-rated miles; much better.

As for price, a new entry-level model is quoted at 2.5 million yen (about $31,500 USD) versus the current Japanese base price of 3.7 million yen ($46,600). Assuming we got the entry level model as well (and why wouldn’t we) a similar U.S cut in price would bring the LEAF to just $26,600 before tax credit. Now that would be pretty impressive. Maybe Nissan does have something up their sleeves after all – they have always
said they would continue to improve LEAF as quickly as possible. To meet their goal of 20,000 LEAFs by March 2013, sales will have to pick up significantly.

About The Author

Tony Pimpo is a young automotive journalist who lives in Northern California. He believes the future of the automotive industry will depend in a large part on the recommendation of enthusiasts and Generation Y. More than ever, automakers lately have realized the power of Gen Y. Not only in regards to buying power, but in driving opinion and spreading a brand’s message through the internet and various forms of social media. His appreciation for cars formed at an early age, thanks to his dad, who has always been involved with cars in different ways over the years. Tony has contributed to various websites in his pursuits, and is on staff at GMInsideNews, where he has been writing since the age of 12.

4 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Improvements Coming To Boost Sales"

  1. KyLeaf

    Not much range anxiety during my wife's typical 38 mile commute. Say you commute 50 miles a day and 250 days a year. The Leaf can do that all electric, no problem. Now I find that I have gas station anxiety. Will there be a line? Will the card reader work? Is the person on the other side of the pump really smoking while pumping gas? $50 for one tank of gas? are you kidding me? We are blogging about life with a Leaf at http://kyleaf.com/wp/.

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