Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Do We Want in LEAF II?

A discussion has been fueled by comments from Nissan that the redesigned LEAF coming in a few years will be have a look of less "EVness."  We take that to mean that it will be less distinctive and more mainstream looking. So, what do we want?

** Driver Seating Position; Getting into and out of my LEAF is by far the easiest of any car I have used in years. Maybe I am getting old but I feel like I am climbing out of a hole in my other cars. No so with the LEAF.  Frequently, I am spending up to 90 minutes on a commute home which makes me rather stiff so an easy exit is much desired.

Maybe this is another benefit to a limited range EV. Less driver fatigue. I will admit to stopping in Fife for a quick boost and coffee to clear  the cobwebs from my head when Blink was still free  more than a few times at the end of a long day. Sometimes, just getting out of the car and taking a brisk walk of a few blocks during a cold Winter's day was enough. This resulted in the many times I stopped and charged for 10 minutes or less.

** At least 4 doors.  The hatchback design is awesome but can be inconvenient but not as bad as a trunk can be. Easier loading plus fold down seats makes the storage options in the current LEAF very flexible so definitely would love to have that again but not opposed to a great sedan design either!

** Another price cut. Nissan released the S trim in 2013 and I have to guess they wished they had done it sooner. Cutting a few thousand off the price really brought in a large group of new buyers who shied away from the near mid 30's price sticker.  But then again that is the Human Psyche when it comes to buying. That "starts under $30,000" is what got them in the door to buy. After the commit to buy is done, the salesman should NEVER again mention the purchase price. After that is all about "for an extra $21 a month (without mentioning what the monthly payment is) you can get "this" and "that".  No matter that the average S selling price was actually closer to $32,000, it was still that "less than $30,000" that did it.

Now, cutting the price before now was probably not doable but it has to be now. Higher volumes,  Production experience, and advancing technology should be making the LEAF cheaper to build. The next S needs to come in at $25,000 before incentives which btw, ain't gonna be around forever.

** Connectivity.  AKA; get rid of 2G!  Built in wi-fi that can be billed thru your cellular provider after a interim trial period, internet SW updates, etc.  This would allow a real ability to search for and determine the status of charging stations in the area.  Remember the story about someone who was told to take their LEAF in for a checkup and mentioned oddities about the car and the response was Ya, we know. Carwings alerted us and that is why we told you to come in? or some such.  That was great. Some of these features could become an additional revenue stream for Nissan to help offset the loss of service revenue.

Ok, so a lot of you will say "Bill me for wi-fi? forget it!"  well, its better than paying for XM Radio! Verizon used to offer this service and once upon a time you could even bill your OnStar services thru them.  This is an option that could easily be brought back.  Yes a multi-platform system would be required but keep in mind; the hardware is pretty cheap. The service is where the money's at.

** OPTIONS!! We need choices. Nissan needs to take a page from Tesla and offer a MINIMUM of 3 battery pack sizes.  Keep the 24 kwh pack (that is all most of us need anyway)  but add two more sizes as options available across all trims.

As competition builds, Nissan will see pressure to lower prices. Again, this can be circumvented by offering low and piling on options.  Multiple battery pack sizes is the easiest way. The new breed of EV'ers will be the less adventurous, mostly wanting to save money on the gas bill. They will have multiple cars, be attracted to the new lower sticker prices and "thinking" their existing gasser will still be the main source of transportation with the LEAF being a valuable niche player. We all know better.

Soon, the LEAF will be the main driver and the real thought process begins on getting the "loaded S" with the big battery, fast charger, etc.  This will be Nissan's bread and butter.


  1. I really hope they don't change the Leaf too much. I LOVE it in its current incarnation. It fits two car seats well and has great head-room.

    SAFETY: Improve the front-offset crash results.

    "Nissan needs to take a page from Tesla and offer a MINIMUM of 3 battery pack sizes."

    Huh? Tesla only offers two battery sizes. I'd be happy with two.

    1. Tesla offered 3 but only 2 were taken. But they were catering to a market where most households could easily afford two $100,000 cars. The LEAF market is different and that is good because the biggest market will be the $25,000 LEAF which means the high teens as long as the Federal tax break holds out. Another issue is making that a tax credit that can be rolled over from year to year but that is another blog!

  2. I need more like the room in an 2004 Land Rover Discovery. Room for the 110 pound dog, bikes, a PA system and my guitar. More like a Van. OK forget the Leaf, I need the E NV 200 electric Van currently in production in Spain. Come on Nissan. Import the damn Van. LOL

    1. The NV 200 is definitely coming to the US but I think Nissan won't do it in volume until the larger battery packs are out. I don't think the margin on them is as good as a general passenger vehicle which makes putting out right now hard to do at a price that will sell well. Plus, something like needs more range

  3. When will the 2016coming out, I'm turning in my hundai lease in 2015mid June, n will it hv a longer range?

    1. If Nissan follows its most recent pattern, the 2016 is likely to be released in mid to late Spring 2015. Now most rumors have Spring of 2016 when the longer range LEAF comes out with model year 2017. I am with you, I hope its sooner and with possible competition with Kia (if they decide to widen their distribution and bump production WAY up that is) that might be enough incentive for Nissan to push that timetable up