Months ago, we heard that the U.S. version of the 2013 Nissan Leaf would go farther per charge in cold weather thanks to a better heater. This was about the Leaf that will be made in Smyrna, TN starting later this year. A new report on Inside EVs (based on the Japanese language Sankei Biz site) says that the new Leaf, at least the version destined for sale in Japan, will have its range extended to over 250 kilometers (155 miles) in any weather.
Of course, since that is on the lenient Japanese test cycle, it doesn't mean that U.S. drivers will get double their range (the Leaf is rated at 73 miles by the EPA). Instead, the new Leaf should get a range improvement of around 25 percent, which would translate to around 91 miles of EPA range, thanks to more efficient motors and better batteries in the new Leaf.
More interesting – since we expect incremental improvements with each generation of vehicles, especially when EVs are concerned – is that Nissan is also considering an entry-level Leaf for release by the end of the year. If Sankei Biz is correct, this model would start at 2.5 million yen ($31,500 U.S. at today's exchange rates) compared to the current version's starting price of 3.7 million yen ($46,600). Inside EVs notes that, "A similar price reduction in North America, would price this new base Nissan LEAF at $26,600." Sankei Biz says the update are coming a year earlier than planned in order to boost sales. A before-incentive price of $26,600 would certainly do that, wouldn't it?
We've asked Nissan for any sort of confirmation or denial of these reports and will update once we hear something.