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British-built Nissan LEAF gets battery leasing and longer range

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April 12, 2013

A battery leasing option takes some of the risk out of buying the LEAF

A battery leasing option takes some of the risk out of buying the LEAF

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Nissan introduced the new UK-market LEAF this week, and the latest iteration of the company's all-electric vehicle gets a variety of updates and improvements. Not only does its range increase by 15 miles (24 km), but it offers buyers the option of leasing, rather than buying, the battery.

Range anxiety is probably the most common reason that makes consumers think twice about even considering an electric vehicle purchase, but battery life and replacement is another worry. The large, powerful battery packs used in EVs won't last forever, and they can't just be replaced at Wal-Mart. Though Nissan has stressed that drivers should be able to replace modules without replacing the entire battery, the specific costs remain a mystery to consumers, with estimates ranging anywhere from three to five figures. That's a pretty big potential expense hanging over your head.

By offering a battery lease option, Nissan is taking the question mark out of the equation. Models with the leased battery are known as "Flex" models, and the base Visia trim level starts at £15,990 (that's about US$24,500 at publishing), after receipt of the available £5,000 ($7,670) plug-in grant. That price is £5,000 below the price of the car with battery, and the battery lease starts at £70 ($107) per month (£840/$1,290 per year). Nissan offers several different battery lease options with different annual mileage caps, contract lengths and prices.

Those that choose to buy the car, battery and all, will also enjoy enhanced protection. Nissan has added capacity loss coverage to its 5-year warranty against defective materials and workmanship. A battery that falls below 9 out of 12 bars in the first five years or 60,000 miles will be eligible for repair or replacement under the new warranty.

The new LEAF enjoys more than 100 improvements over the outgoing model, most notable of which is an increase in range from 109 miles (175 km) to 124 miles (200 km). Improvements to the powertrain, aerodynamics, regenerative braking and heating system enable the mileage increase. The battery also offers 4-hour charging from a 320-amp source with optional 6.6 kW charger. Other updates include increased cargo space, new interior trim and the addition of Nissan's Around View Monitor parking assist system.

The new LEAF gets an extra 15 miles (24 km) of range

For a closer look at the ins and outs, see our originalnew LEAF preview.

The LEAF will be offered in three separate packages: the aforementioned Visia, the £23,490 ($36,000) Acenta (£18,490/$28,400 with battery lease option), and the £25,490 ($39,000) Tekna (£20,490/$31,400 with battery lease). All prices are after the £5,000 plug-in grant.

The Sunderland, U.K. plant where the British LEAF is built is responsible for building LEAF models for all of Europe. Other European markets will enjoy the 2013 LEAF model improvements and possibly the battery leasing options.

Source: Nissan

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
10 Comments

"The battery also offers 4-hour charging from a 320-amp source with optional 6.6 kW charger." >> 32-amp and the 6.6 kW charger is not optional the charging over 32 amp is. The charger does 16 or 32 amp so called "slow charging" [type 2]. The 6.6 kW charger is a fixed new part of the car, the 16 amps 3.3 kW charger of my model (2011 Irish version) is gone for good.

Dany Ehrenbrink
13th April, 2013 @ 03:07 am PDT

I buy gas when i still have 200 miles worth in the tank.

Slowburn
13th April, 2013 @ 02:41 pm PDT

That sounds fine if you just want a car to go the odd 10km to the shops and back but not if you are regularly doing 400km runs a day.

Electric cars are still useless for real long distance like a 1000km drive for me to get from the south of France to Paris, which is less than a day in a normal car. Yet they are also too expensive for use as a run around town vehicle.

Until either distance or price - preferably both - becomes realistic electric cars will remain as transport for the devout.

ivan4
13th April, 2013 @ 04:16 pm PDT

Understand your comment ivan4 but .... Nissan never claim the LEAF to replace the long range car. It's a urban runabout. Ideal 2nd car. Way over in Perth, Western Australia, with it's LA styled sprawl of suburbia, I've noted my daily transits for a year. 93% of travel was below 77 mile (125km). 2% of travel could do with 1/2hr gentle top-up from a 10amp supply. The 5%,was traveling outback 1300km where I need a 4wd anyway. So, I can hire a purpose 4wd vehicle and still be in front financially across the year. It's like buying a computer, choose your software and build your machine around that. That said, having written directly to Nissan with this suggestion, a hireable tow-behind generator would be a perfect solution. If Nissan had the said generators hireable from their dealerships it would be a win-win. By the way, if you want range look at the Tesla-S. if want economy tiny runabout look Nissan, the LEAF in my situation will do. Electric is unstoppable, particularly with the next gen if batteries!

RaVOLT
13th April, 2013 @ 10:54 pm PDT

hi i have mixed feelings about EV and all electric cars we are pouring billions of £s and $s when we can ill afford it. thanks eric roberts

pellon
14th April, 2013 @ 06:26 am PDT

re; RaVOLT

It's an overpriced urban runabout. Too expensive for a 2nd car.

Slowburn
14th April, 2013 @ 09:13 am PDT

The high mileage per day people will need gas/petrol/diesel fast refueling vehicles for some time - at least until IBM gets its Lithium-Air battery technology into production (estimated 600-700 mile range for an average car). However, polls show that the majority of people drive within the range of many EVs most of the time. One Leaf owner I know drove 15000 miles in the first 10 months of owning the car. Sure he has a gas car as well but the Leaf gave him 15000 miles of gas-free driving at fairly low cost. He now uses his gas car so little he rents it out to other people!

Nissan and the other EV distributors could make a business model of selling the EV and offering a hugely subsidized occasional rental of a gas powered vehicle to go with it. That might encourage more buyers; and I would bet that only a few would need the gas vehicle rental more than once a month.

-dphiBbydt
15th April, 2013 @ 09:20 am PDT

Nissan LEAFs have had severe battery degradation problems due to the lack of a battery thermal management system. There have been cases where the range went from over 90 miles (144 km) to less than 40 miles (64 km). The Chevrolet Volt, Holden Volt, Ford Focus Electric and Tesla Model S are much better choices since all of these models do have a battery thermal management system.

I wouldn't touch a LEAF. More here (540 pages worth): http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=8802

GoForward
15th April, 2013 @ 10:01 am PDT

re; -dphiBbydt

Even if the Lithium-Air battery works as advertised it adds hours to the trip from Denver, CO to Las Vegas, NV and if I'm on my way to LA it adds a day. And I still can't put a few jerrycans in the trunk and double my range.

Slowburn
15th April, 2013 @ 01:06 pm PDT

hello @RaVolt since you think tow-able generators are good, i suggest an actual trailer-wheeled-motion electrical generator, being pulled behind a vehicle to pump juice into a smaller battery needed to power electric vehicles, which once in motion began generating their own electricity. put an energy source right in the vehicle by dropping a wheeled alternator onto the road surface, or put the contraption on a tow behind trailer and extend the range up to when the vehicle breaks down from wear. even little wind turbines could be incorporated on a trailer. electric vehicles could produce their own electricity.

rollzone
17th April, 2013 @ 07:44 am PDT
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