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It’s been one year since the Nissan Leaf hit North America, and to celebrate, the automaker is going to expand this EVs availability into new U.S. markets.
If you live in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, you’re in luck – Nissan has re-opened reservations and has begun taking orders for the 2012 Nissan LEAF (this brings the grand total of states that will selling the LEAF up to 50). These locations can expect deliveries of the LEAF in the spring 2012.
“Nissan LEAFs have been on the U.S. roads for one year now, and thousands of drivers have become living proof that a 100-percent electric, zero-emissions vehicle fulfills the daily needs of drivers from all walks of life,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. “We are seeing already-strong interest in the LEAF continue to grow across the country. This market expansion brings us one step closer to true, nationwide availability.”
At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the 32nd annual Car of the Year Japan Awards saw the Nissan Leaf emerge as the overall winner, despite some fairly stiff competition.
Not surprisingly, considering the efforts Japan’s second largest automaker has taken to provide the concept of all-electric vehicle mobility on a truly global scale, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance was understandably pleased at the outcome.
“We have sold 20,000 LEAF models [worldwide]. This is as much a win for Nissan as it is for our customers,” he said. Besides winning the JCOTY title, the much hyped LEAF has also garnered 2011 World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year awards.
Previous JOCTY winners (which must be vehicles produced by Japanese manufacturers, a separate “Import Car of the Year award is also held at the Tokyo show); include the Honda CR-Z (2010-11) and Toyota Prius (2009-10). For more information on the LEAF and JCOTY click on the video below:
The 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leaf for earned five stars in crash testing performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For the front crash and dynamic rollover test, the Leaf received four stars, but overall scored five stars. Combine that with the Top Safety Pick Award it won from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and you’ve got yourself one safe vehicle. It’s also important to note that the Leaf is the first pure electric vehicle to be evaluated for its crash protection.
Fewer cars have made the cut ever since the NHTSA implemented more rigid standards for vehicles to earn five stars in its safety ratings system in 2011. This new system includes a more comprehensive testing when it comes to front and side crash, and rollover resistance. As well, each model receives an overall vehicle score, which is combined with the results of the three tests and compares them to the injury risk in other vehicles.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
In response to what it says is feedback from thousands of customers who’ve already driven the Nissan LEAF for extended periods of time, the Japanese automaker is instigating a few changes on the 2012 model as well as hiking prices.
Said changes comprise standard (instead of optional) DC Fast Charging system, allowing the car to be charged at 480 volts which reduces the time it takes to fully charge it up (Nissan says with the DC FC, it takes 30 minutes to reach 80 percent charge from complete depletion).
In addition, the 2012 LEAF will also incorporate cold weather features to help ease operation in Northern climes, including a battery warmer, heated steering wheel and heated seats, both front and back.
As a result of these changes, Nissan has also announced that it will increase availability of the 2012 LEAF, to include Northern states such as Illinois, as well as much of the South East, including Alabama, the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia.
In terms of pricing, Nissan has announced that the 2012 LEAF will retail for $35,200 in SV trim (it was $32,780 last year) and $37,250 as a more uplevel SL (which sold for $33,720 in 2011). For those looking to lease one, expect to pay around $369 or more for the privilege of driving the latest version of this much hyped all-electric car.