Nissan reveals upgrades for Sunderland-built "Euro LEAF"
To date, global LEAF production has taken place in Japan, but from this year it will be localised to the markets where the car is sold. The plant in Tochigi, Japan will build cars for Asia, while Smyrna, Tennessee will produce cars for North America and the "Euro LEAF" will be built in Sunderland, alongside the Juke and Qashqai.
Production at Sunderland will begin in April, shortly after the car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show. For the first time, the LEAF will be offered in Nissan’s familiar Visia, Acenta and Tekna trim levels, with the outgoing car equivalent to the mid-range 2013 model, while suspension, braking and steering settings have been re-tuned to suit European tastes.
Upgrades to the drivetrain include reduced internal friction for the motor and a locally built lithium-ion battery, now offered with extended warranty cover which replaces or repairs units that have suffered a large loss of capacity. Subtle aerodynamic changes to the bodywork and a new heat pump contribute to a range of 124 miles on the NEDC cycle – 12% higher than in the outgoing car.
Charging times have been halved to four hours thanks to a new charging unit, compatible with 32-amp quick chargers. Smaller and lighter than the unit it replaces, this has been moved to the front end of the car freeing up an extra 40 litres of boot space, offering a flat load floor and allowing reshaped rear seats for improved legroom. Interior fabrics are now made with 100% sugar cane.
New equipment includes an automatic locking mechanism and LED light for the charging port, Nissan’s Around View Monitor cameras and a Bose audio system depending on trim level. Carwings has been upgraded to include live charging point availability and eco routing.
Pricing for the Euro LEAF will be announced closer to its mid-2013 launch date, and the car will be followed closely by the e-NV200 electric van, with seven-seat combi and taxi versions, while an Infiniti-branded EV will join the range in 2015.