The Leaf electric car is a hit, Nissan says.
The company is gearing up to sell it in more markets by yearend and is adding features to increase its cold-weather capability as it rolls out to the Northeast and other states with harsh winters. A higher price tag accompanies the changes.
The suggested retail price of the base Nissan Leaf SV will jump from $32,780 for the 2011 model to $35,200 for the 2012 SV version. The monthly lease price starts at $369. Delivery of 2012 Nissan Leafs will begin in the fall.
Part of the price hike is due to added equipment designed to help the car better handle colder climates. All Leafs will now come standard with a battery warmer, heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats. The latter can be critical to preserving battery power as it takes less energy to run heated seats than it does to run the car’s heater and fan.
The SL version of the Nissan Leaf will now come standard with fast-charging capability, an option that most of the 4,000 current Nissan Leaf owners ordered. The feature allows a fully depleted battery to be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes using a 480-volt power source. Fast-charging stations are still scarce but Nissan says they will steadily increase in number over the next couple of years.
On July 25, consumers with existing reservations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. will be able to start ordering their vehicles.
In the fall, orders from existing reservations and new reservations will begin in Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. By yearend the Leaf will also be available for order in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
After existing reservations are met, Nissan will open new reservations and orders in all markets, including those where the Nissan Leaf already has been on sale: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
Early adopters are using the Nissan Leafs as their primary car and driving it more than anticipated, Nissan says. The vast majority (82%) had never owned a Nissan before.