Thursday, July 28, 2011

2012 LEAF: Sloppy Seconds?

As my regular readers know, I'm usually trying to put a positive spin on a number of things, but every so often, I feel the need to get nasty and I think with the constant delay with respect to ordering of the 2012 Nissan LEAF, I can't help but ponder a bit the changes between this model year car and the previous one.

I've already reported that the price difference between the 2011 and 2012 model years is $1,490 for the base SV trim and $1,900 for the base SL trim and I stand by that.  Any site which exaggerates this price difference is likely to get a comment from me seeking to rectify the situation since I'm all about the truth.

After all, you're getting a complimentary Cold Weather Package with that cost increase, and the TEPCO plug on the SL trim, so a lot of the cost is just those options or alternate Trim levels carried over from the previous model year as standard.  Then again, how useful is the Cold Weather Trim in Florida?

But what else is new in the 2012 LEAF?  Did they add the 6.6kW charger?  No, not even as an option!  Have they made improvements to the batteries or the charge capacity?  No.  Have they improved the Software?  Yes, but 2011 drivers are getting that update for free.  Have they improved the motor or the aerodynamic?  Have they added a new audio or driving comfort option?  No, apart from what's already included in the Cold Weather Package.  The Cold Weather Package isn't even exclusive to the 2012 LEAF: it was an available trim level for the 2011 LEAF late in the model year.

So what do you get for your $1,490 - $1,900 in new model year premiums?  Nothing!  You don't get anything for this cost increase.  If you're in the original Tier 2 states of AL, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC and VA:

  • not only was your ordering window delayed by 7 months and now 4 more days

  • not only were you kept in the dark about Nissan's plans for Tier 2

  • not only were you forced to listen to Nissan rant and rave about how great a car the LEAF is even though you couldn't (easily) buy it

  • not only were you still denied the long sought after 6.6kW charging option that the Ford Focus Electric is beating the LEAF's ass on

  • not only were you denied the color Green, a natural for a car called LEAF

  • not only were you given the same set of Port Options / Accessories as 2011

Not only all of that, but you're also going to have to pay about 5% more for it.

Thanks a lot, Nissan!

Originally, I was all in favor of those of us in Tier 2 getting first pick of the brand-spanking-new 2012 model year under the assumption that it would be an improvement, even if just a slight improvement, over the 2011 as a reward for braking their commitment and forcing us to wait an extra half-year to order the car we've been pining for since at least 20 April 2010.  Now I say, bring me the Smyrna 2013!


  1. What about the rear heat and cooling vent? I am in AZ, and anything to push more cold air arround the car is worth it's weight in gold...

  2. Well, I'm not familiar with the Rear Cooling Vent so I may be wrong then about no improvements in 2012. EVNow on the MyNissanLEAF forum ( ) has lamented not having the option of the Cold Weather Trim when he ordered, but there were 2011 models where this trim was available, all be it only the last 3 or so months of ordering. Now I've yet to use the AC in my LEAF; the hottest I've dealt with was sufficiently cooled by the fans alone and hopefully it'll remain so for the next 6 months because hot-and-humid Washington Summers are no fun in a car without A/C! But I'm sure I'm gonna be right angry with the 2013 model year comes out and they *do* have the 2013 charger. Believe me, we'll all end up with future envy eventually. :)

  3. Thanks for insight into the increased prices. I wonder why other reports have differing figures.
    I agree with most of your points. It is silly that Nissan doesn't offer green in their paint choices. That addition alone might have staved off some of the furor over the price increase.

    BTW not trying to nitpick, but you might want to use the correct catchphrases for "visa vi" and "all be it". Professionalism makes others more inclined to take you seriously :)

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you kindly for your complements and advice. The great thing about online writing is that you can change your articles if you see a mistake. Now, I didn't see any problem with those phrases you listed per se, but since you indicated an issue, I used a couple other expressions to say the same thing. However, what are you suggestion? That convention dictates visavi and albeit as the correct spellings of these expressions? I suppose you would then suggest perse is how I should spell per se and etceteras how I spell et cetera. Well, I'm of the mind that it's 6 of one half a dozen of the other. Certainly both are correct spellings from a grammatical point of view though I generally like to break out our Latin-derived words into their original Latin divisions. But if you have issues, I'm sure others do to do thank you for pushing me to change it into something less controversial. :)

  5. Know I'm reading an old post so this could covered elsewhere...

    By now, I'm sure you've heard mention from Nissan brass that the 6.6kW charger will be made an option for older cars left with the original. Cost? Who knows - but infinitely easier than upgrading the whole car to a 2013 model.

  6. Mark Perry said as much back in 2010 before the first LEAF delivery but stopped saying it once Gudy got his ride. Overall I'm more of "I'll believe it when I see it" mind. Talk on the MyNissanLEAF forum is divided whether the current LEAF wiring is 10 Gauge and if it can run the 28A continuous peak current at 240VAC. Some say yes, some say no. But either way, feel free to leave a comment under any post as I read them all and am happy to respond. :)

    Currently, I'd say my 3 pillars of EV perfection are:

    1) 6.6kW Charger
    2) Charging at Work
    3) Getting Dominion Virginia Power to hook up my new meter already! Stupid Fairfax County inspector, where the heck are you??

    And add to that this bit of jealousy: Dominion Virginia Power is working with OnStar to provide dynamic charging information so that your Volt can take advantage of Super Off Peak charging in an optimal way. Why can't the LEAF do this. And of course, when my EVSE is again connected, with the 6.6kW charger, I charge CO2 Fre from 1am to 5am and with at work to 80% at home and 80% at work (multiple timers per day would be nice!). And of course some opportunistic charging at the various MOM's Organic Market and buya! we've got ourselves a winner!

    And I'm working on all of these, and the $1100 Fairfax County Car Tax and the Capital LEAFs meetup not to mention, ...

    Well, let's just say I keep busy so it'd be nice if at least Nissan could help me out a bit with the charger! :)

  7. Amen, brother. Fight the good fight! I'm sure many (myself included) appreciate it.

    As for me and the pseudo-announced 6.6kW upgrade, I'm siding with hope that when Nissan said that they don't want to orphan their early adopters, I truly want to believe that they will stick with the statement in some agreeable manner. Besides, it makes them look real good to the Customer if they can pull this off.

    On another note, I opted for the more simplistic, non-sub meter EV plan for my car. While walking through both options, however, I seem to recall that the electrician is supposed to arrange for the procurement and installation of said sub-meter. DomP merely provides the meter (was my understanding). That said, maybe your electrician needs to light a fire under their feet?

  8. My guy, Joe from Cullen Electric (yes, his name is Cullen) had done his best to get his end of the electrical work complete. It's the county inspector that's holding things up. We wanted him there on Wednesday but Joe couldn't find him. Now any day would be fine by me so where is the guy. Just come in, poke around, verify that Joe is still the master electrician you think he is and Bob's your uncle and we can call Patrick at Dominion and binga-banga-boom there's your new meter. So that's the hold up. I'm planning to write up this adventure soon as it sounds like from my chat with the guy from Dominion at the 350Green event at Pentagon City that I'm *the* first to go for the Dual Meter solution so it's handy to document it for others. It's not easy being in the vanguard and thanks ever so much for the appreciation! :) And don't forget, the Capital LEAFs are meeting this Saturday at Nissan of Chantilly (noon-4pm); all are invited and it's a great way if you've yet to get your LEAF to learn from the folks that have had it for a while. :)