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Australia to get upgraded Nissan Leaf

Bright sparks: Nissan has extended an olive branch to customers put off by the high price of EVs by discounting the Leaf to $39,990.

2012 tweaks for Nissan’s Leaf EV locked in ahead of Australian launch next April

10 Aug 2011

AUSTRALIANS will have access to the most advanced version of Nissan’s ground-breaking Leaf when the all-electric family hatchback goes on sale here next April with the latest 2012 tweaks.

Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson has confirmed to GoAuto that the upgrades earmarked for the model-year 2012 Leaf in the United States will also be applied to the Australian version, which will be available in a single, highly-specified model grade.

“It’s not a big volume offering for us, so we’re not going to muck around and try and do multiple grades,” he said.

Mr Thompson also confirmed that an electric van, the Nissan e-LCV, would likely be the next Nissan EV launched in Australia after Leaf, but said the e-LCV would not be launched until after the debut of Nissan’s conventional van range, which was “at least two years away”.

He said Nissan was also working on an electric city-car – thought to be based on the quirky 2009 Land Glider concept car that leans into corners like a four-wheeled motorcycle – and an electric Infiniti that is thought to be a sportscar, but that these vehicles were years away.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan Leaf interior. Below: Nissan e-LCV sketch and Land Glider concept.

“For the time being, it is all about the Leaf,” he said.

In the US, where the Leaf is offered in two grades, the pioneering EV is set to be re-equipped with a fast-charging port as standard fare on the upmarket JL model, along with a cold-weather pack that includes a battery warmer and a heated steering wheel and seats.

The fast-charge port was previously offered as an option, but because most American buyers ticked the box, the system has been included as standard on the Leaf JL, along with a $US3530 price increase that takes the price to $US38,100 ($A37,395) in North America, where the lower-grade Leaf JV is priced at $US36,050.

Nissan Australia says all Leafs sold in Australia will have the fast-charge port that allows its batteries to be charged to 80 per cent of capacity in as little as 30 minutes from a commercial high-voltage DC fast-charging point.

The Leaf will also be capable of plugging into a standard 240-volt 15-amp household electricity system for home charging, which takes up to seven hours.

The Aussie Leaf will also get the full telematics pack that links the Leaf electronically via the mobile phone network, providing a range of driver functions such as data on range and energy consumption, location of charging stations and using a mobile phone to turn on the air-conditioning or heater.

Nissan Australia head of corporate communications Jeff Fisher said Australia’s Leaf will go into production in February and was on track for its scheduled local launch in April, despite supply problems caused by the Japanese earthquake earlier this year.

He said Nissan was working on pricing for the Leaf, but the company was not yet ready to divulge the prospective starting price.

Mitsubishi’s electric i-MiEV is priced at $48,800 plus on-road costs – almost 25 per cent less than the $63,000 that Mitsubishi charged selected ‘foundation customers’ who leased the pioneering EV for a three-year period from last year.

However, Nissan’s five-door Leaf is a bigger, more substantial car than the pint-sized four-seater Mitsubishi runabout, and might be expected to cost a premium.

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