By on July 19, 2011

My, what a busy morning it’s been for EV news! Now Nissan is jumping into the fray by bumping the price of its 2012 Leaf EV by $2,420, reports Automotive News [sub]. But don’t worry, you’re getting something for that extra money…

Compared to 2011 model year’s $33,630 base price, including delivery, the 2012 model will begin at $36,050. The car’s upper-grade SL model will sell for $38,100, an increase of $3,530 over 2011.

Brian Carolin, Nissan North America Inc. senior vice president of sales, was to tell an electric-vehicle industry audience in Raleigh N.C., this morning that the 2012 model will contain two new standard features, according to his prepared remarks.

One is a cold-weather package that includes heated seats and steering wheel and a battery warmer. The other, available on the car’s more expensive SL model, is a standard quick-charge port that allows the vehicle to be recharged up to 80 percent of capacity in under 30 minutes.

So, just as Toyota goes public with its fears about the ChaDeMo DC rapid charge protocol, Nissan doubles down on the standard by offering compatibility on the higher trim level (incidentally, Nissan says that 93% of sales are of the upmarket SL trim, and “most” customers opt for the optional ChaDeMo DC charging compatibility). As if raising prices by over two grand after less than a year of sales weren’t risky enough, Nissan is also gambling that ChaDeMo will win out when the SAE rules on a DC fast-charging protocol for the US market. At this point, it almost seems as if the charger compatibility issue might be more of a risk than tthe price…

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6 Comments on “Nissan Bumps Leaf Prices By $2,420...”

  • avatar

    Interesting changes. Did some digging. The Cold Weather Package wasn’t available out of the gate on the 2011 model and became a “late availability” package.

    Nissan states in the above link it uses less electricity to heat a seat and a steering wheel than heat the whole cabin; hopefully the Leaf faithful get the memo and don’t run the heat, the seat heater, the steering wheel warmer and rear defroster while wondering why range just dropped. I cannot find a price anywhere for the cold weather package, it is not on the Nissan site. There is are low level complaints in the Leaf community on the shroud of mystery (as one person put it) around the option package.

    I do find it interesting as Nissan starts to roll out the Leaf nationally that they have added a heater to the battery for cold weather as standard equipment. There were many concerns voiced that without temperature control, the range of the Leaf will suffer.

    I’m not surprised by the price increase given Yen/US Dollar exchange rate and the growing Leaf strength in the market, but I am surprised by the size of the price increases. You don’t see it very often when the early adopters get off easier than those coming later to the party.

    I know that Volt vs. Leaf commentary tends to start a Holy War that would make Christians and Muslims in the Middle East blush with envy – but with the Volt price decrease, and the Leaf price increase, the delta between the two is more narrow and it changes the math.

    With a plug-in Prius IV with no options (beyond what comes with the IV) coming in probably around $33K (with no government hand out) I have to admit, the advantage appears to be in Toyota’s court in this race. (I pick a Prius IV as it is closest to the kit found in a Leaf or Volt)

    By the end of 2012 we’ll know who the winner is (or if it is a two or three horse race). They are three very different vehicles offering three different experiences addressing three different needs.

    • 0 avatar

      “They are three very different vehicles”

      I disagree. The Volt and plug Prius differ more in quantity than quality. The Volt can run longer and harder on full-electric, where the Prius has a much smaller battery and will turn the gas engine on under non-trivial acceleration. They’re both four-seat range-extended EVs with a fairly limited electric-only range that still should be sufficient for most that purchase.

      The Leaf is completely different from these two, lacking the entirety of the gas powertrain and the more complex transmissions.

  • avatar

    Very few of these are being sold. At this point, the price doesn’t matter much. If anything, the more earnest among the early adopters might be happy to pay more, just for the sake of it.

    The plan to sell 200,000 units per year strikes me as being aggressively optimistic at best. I just don’t see that happening, not even close.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “They’re both four-seat range-extended EVs with a fairly limited electric-only range”

    Except that the Volts goes 3-4 times farther in EV mode than the Prius and will NEVER use the the gas engine until the battery has depeleted. The Volt is an electric first with gas assist. The Prius is an ICE first with electric assist. I’d say that categorizes them as “different animals”.

    • 0 avatar

      The Volt has 3 times the battery (16 kwh vs 5 kwh) and nominally goes 3 times farther in EV mode (40 miles vs 13 miles). The Volt WILL turn on the gas engine before the battery reaches charge-sustaining mode under certain conditions, chiefly during cold ambient or battery temperatures.

      From the FAQ at :
      “Q. Will the engine ever start when there is EV range available?
      A. Yes, when vehicle power is ON, the engine may start to provide energy for heating and cooling, independent of the vehicle being plugged in or completely charged. Some other conditions that may also cause the engine to start include:

      – Propulsion battery charge is low
      – Propulsion battery temperature is hot or cold
      – Cold ambient temperatures
      – Hood is open
      – Engine and Fuel Maintenance (occur only if engine has had very limited operation over a long period)”

      I’ll agree that the Volt is a battery-focused hybrid and the Prius is an ICE-focused hybrid. Bottom line is they’re both extended-range EVs, with the advantages (easily refueled) and disadvantages (haul around complete ICE drivetrain in EV mode, or depleted batteries in ICE mode) associated with it. It’s not that there’s no distinction between the two – just that I find the differences between (say) 40% EV / 60% ICE and 60% EV / 40% ICE to be less meaningful than 100% EV.

  • avatar

    Fast-charging is bad for lithium ion cells, and so I don’t understand how EV mfrs will be able to stand by the government-mandated 8-year warranty on the packs.

    This substantial price increase substantially decreases the interest I had in the Leaf.

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