Nissan Begins US Production of All-Electric LEAF
Domestic Assembly Will Help Automaker Respond to Increased Demand
WARWICK, R.I. (01/15/2013)(readMedia)-- Nissan has begun U.S. assembly of the 2013 Nissan LEAF at its Smyrna, Tenn. manufacturing plant. The move will help to fulfill demand in the United States for the all-electric vehicle, which is now entering its third year on the market. About 19,500 LEAF vehicles are on U.S. roads, and about 50,000 worldwide.
Nissan is not only assembling the LEAF in Smyrna, but also producing its batteries there. With the recent opening of a lithium-ion battery plant on its Smyrna campus, Nissan became the only automaker to produce its own electric-vehicle batteries. Meanwhile, the LEAF will be made on the same lines that turn out the Altima and Maxima, enabling Nissan to not only reduce production costs, but also to move closer to its goal of manufacturing 85 percent of its U.S. sales volume domestically by 2015.
"Bringing LEAF production stateside is a great move by Nissan, because it allows the automaker to react quickly to U.S. demand," said Steven Doss, general manager of Rhode Island Nissan dealership Balise Nissan of Warwick. "Not only are the LEAF and its batteries being made in Smyrna, but its electric motors were already being produced at another plant in Tennessee. That means that Nissan can promptly deliver to customers as they respond to the vehicle's new design improvements for 2013."
Several of the LEAF's 2013-model-year improvements are aimed at energy efficiency, and Nissan expects the vehicle to offer significantly improved range. Among the changes are refined aerodynamics and an available 6.6-kW onboard charger, which the automaker says will reduce 220-volt charging time by nearly 50 percent to about four hours for a full charge. In addition, the available navigation system now includes an "Eco route" feature that suggests power-saving alternative routes.
New for 2013, Nissan is also offering a lower-priced, entry-level LEAF S grade, which joins the existing SV and SL grades. Other 2013-model-year enhancements include an available "B" drive mode that boosts regenerative braking, an optional hybrid heater system that provides higher, more-efficient performance in cold weather, and a new charge-port door release button on the intelligent key fob. Cargo space has also increased to 24 cubic feet with all five passengers present, and that number expands to 30 cubic feet with the standard 60/40-split rear seat folded down.
"Nissan listened to its customers as well as the market when it updated its LEAF, and now buyers will have even more efficiency and the option of a lower-cost LEAF S," added Doss. "I think the industry will remember 2013 as the year that the all-electric vehicle turned the corner and became commonplace, and you'll see the Nissan LEAF leading that charge."
About Balise Nissan of Warwick:
Balise Nissan of Warwick has been serving the motoring needs of Rhode Island drivers for years, providing great new and used Nissan sales, service and parts with a steadfast focus on customer service. Offering vehicles like the Nissan Altima, Sentra, Versa and Maxima for comfortable, efficient commutes, as well as rugged yet refined rides like the Pathfinder, Frontier and Armada, Balise Nissan of Warwick has something for everyone. Visit their Rhode Island Nissan dealership at 1350 Post Rd. in Warwick, R.I., call them at 401-352-5908 or visit them online at www.balisenissanri.com. They can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BaliseNissanWarwick.