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Nissan upgrades Leaf electric car, lowers price

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 3:02 am •  Published: November 20, 2012
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More than 17,000 Leaf cars have been sold in the U.S. and monthly sales are recently at about 1,500 vehicles, according to Nissan.

Senior Vice President Masaaki Nishizawa told reporters the Leaf does away with the hassles of going to gas stations and allows drivers a cleaner conscience.

"People who try out the Leaf are moved," he said. "But they are worried about cruise range."

When the Leaf first went on sale, recharging facilities were at 200 Nissan dealerships in Japan. That will grow to 700 Nissan dealers later this year, or 1,200 locations, when including other spots such as convenience stores.

Among other changes to the Leaf:

— Roomier luggage space after the recharging mechanism became smaller and was moved to the front.

— A dashboard display that tells how much battery charge is left.

— A navigation system that calculates the best energy-saving route to your destination.

— A smaller lighter recharging nozzle.

— Reduction of rare-earth use by 40 percent for the electric motor.

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