The updated 2013 Nissan Leaf is now more efficient than the nearly identical 2012 model. Last year's Nissan Leaf was rated at a 99 MPGe for combined city and highway, while the 2013 Leaf now has a 115 MPGe rating. Updates to the 2013 Leaf have made it more aerodynamic and its regenerative braking system has been improved. The 2013 Leaf has a drag coefficient of 0.28 compared to 0.29 for the 2012 Leaf.
Nissan also managed to cut 129 pounds from the Leaf's weight due to some part changes, like a smaller charging unit. Although the 2013 Leaf has a higher EPA rating, Nissan feels that it could be even higher, but the EPA's current practice of averaging the two driving modes has prevented that.
For the 2012 Leaf the EPA used a test that measured the Leaf's range with a 100 percent charged battery, while this year the EPA averaged together the Leaf's two driving modes. "The EPA has instituted a new testing methodology, which makes comparing the performance of the 2013 Leaf to previous models difficult," Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman says.
This year the EPA first tested the Leaf with a 100 percent battery charge, just like last year and then the second test involved testing the Leaf's battery-saving Long Life Battery Mode. The battery-saving mode prevents the battery from being charged beyond 80 percent of its capacity. According to Brockman if the EPA had only done the same initial test as they did last year, the 2013 Leaf would be rated even higher.
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