Launch pad: 2013 Nissan Leaf

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, 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.

If it were my money, an electric car would probably be pretty much at the bottom of my “potential cars” list. Not because I don’t like them, or because they aren’t very good – far from it, in fact.

The engineering that’s gone into vehicles like the updated 2013 Nissan Leaf impresses me, but EVs just don’t really get my pulse, well, pulsing.

That said, I’ve recently driven the new Zoe Z.E. – an all-electric supermini developed with Nissan’s alliance partner, Renault, so I’m sort of in a good place to comment on the Leaf.

Waiting in the airport lounge ahead of the launch of the new Nissan, I’ll be interested to see how more than 100 updates for the 2013 car have changed it – and although a class larger than the Zoe, how it compares to the zero-emissions Renault.

Nissan claims the 2013 Leaf is the first step in a move it’s calling “the next chapter”, but will it be a big evolution or a heap of incremental improvements over the outgoing car. I have my suspicions.

2013 Nissan Leaf interior
2013 Nissan Leaf interior

There’s no more power, but the updated vehicle now has a 124-mile range – up 15 miles on the previous iteration of Leaf – due to more efficient measures in the powertrain and improved energy management, and can be charged in half the time.

All things that point towards the Leaf becoming a more viable day-to-day proposition – something I’m curious to investigate.

Keep an eye out for the launch report, where I’ll have some thoughts for you in answer to the above question.


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