Now in its fourth year of manufacture, the 2014 model year of Nissan’s all-electric LEAF will remain largely unchanged from last year’s model, Nissan announced today.
Unlike last year’s model, which gave the all-electric hatch some much-needed improvements over the 2011 and 2012 models, changes for the 2014 Model year are far less dramatic.
Most noticeably — aside from the $180 price increase across the board on last year’s models — the entry-level 2014 LEAF S now gets a rear-view monitor as a standard-fit item. Previously, it was only available on the entry level LEAF as part of Nissan’s optional Charge package. The increase in price over the previous year more than accounts for the addition of this feature as a standard fit item, probably introduced as a direct response to future NHTSA regulations calling for backup cameras to be fitted to all new cars.
There’s also a new colour choice for buyers: Gun Metallic, which replaces last year’s Metallic Slate colour option.
Aside from these, the only other noticeable difference is a change in official EPA range, from last year’s official 75 mile rated range to 84 miles. On paper, this might appear to indicate that the 2014 LEAF has received a boost over previous year’s range, possibly from a new battery pack. Sadly however, that’s not true.
As those eagle-eyed folks at GreenCarReports point out, the change is one that’s more about changing the rating math than it is about improving the car’s battery pack. And the removal of a feature many Nissan LEAF drivers love: the ability to charge halt charging at 80 percent.
Thanks to changed EPA rules last year, cars which offered the ability to recharge to 80 percent as well as 100 percent were required to be given an official EPA range rating that was a blend of the range possible from both an 80 percent and a 100 percent charge. The result was an official 2013 LEAF EPA-approved range of just 75 miles, despite the car being able to travel far further than that with a 100 percent charge.
To avoid the disadvantage of being given a lower rating due to its 80 percent charge option, Nissan has removed it altogether for the 2014 model year. It’s removal — something Nissan hasn’t yet talked about — could also indicate that Nissan is now happier that its LEAF battery packs will happily charge to 100 percent in all situations without affecting battery longevity.
This contrasts Nissan’s original stance on the matter, which was that drivers should use the 80 percent charge wherever possible to ensure the best possible battery lifespan, especially in warmer climates.
The effect of removing this option from the 2014 LEAF no doubt be given extreme scrutiny by existing LEAF drivers and the wider EV community, especially since both the Tesla Model S and the Tesla-engineered Toyota RAV4 EV offer 80 percent ‘long-live’ charging modes to improve battery lifespan.
The 2014 Nissan LEAF has already entered production at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee facility, and will go on sale shortly across the U.S. The base-model 2014 LEAF S will retail for $28,980 before incentives, while a 2014 mid-range LEAF SV will retail for $32,000 before incentives, and the top-of-the-line LEAF SL will cost $35,020 before incentives. Each car will also attract a mandatory destination fee of $850.
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