New EV testing procedures are being implemented by the EPA for model-year 2013, and the agency has taken longer than expected to release official ratings for many cars. The 2013 Leaf is one such car, and Nissan has published projected efficiency figures for its all-electric hatchback. Based on its own testing and following the EPA’s new rules, Nissan arrived at a projected 130/102 MPGe city/highway – up significantly from the 106/92 MPGe of the 2012 Nissan Leaf. In addition, the 2013 model’s projected range is up two miles from 2012, to 75 miles.
Curious about this seemingly huge leap in efficiency and not insignificant bump in range, we reached out to Nissan to find out what the new numbers mean. A Nissan spokesman told us the “new EPA testing methodology means [the 2012-to-2013 Leaf range] is not an apples-to-apples comparison.”
When it comes to range, the EPA’s new estimate is actually an average of the Leaf’s performance in its two charging modes, which include a driver-selectable Long Life Mode that charges to 80 percent to help preserve battery life; and the factory default Long Distance Mode that charges to 100 percent. Previously, the EPA only listed estimated range of a 100-percent charge on Monroney labels.
Testing the 2013 Leaf in the 100-percent charge state, the EPA got a result of 84 miles estimated range, or 11 miles longer than the 2012 Leaf’s EPA rating. The extra 100-percent-charge range comes from improvements to the Leaf’s regenerative braking system, an overall weight reduction, and enhanced aerodynamics for 2013. The difference in efficiency can also likely be chalked up to those upgrades. In Long Life Mode (to preserve battery life), the 2013 Leaf is rated at about 66 miles of range.
Nissan expects official numbers for the 2013 Leaf to be finalized by early March. Until then, the company’s projected figures will be printed on Monroney stickers. With its increased range and considerable price drop, would you consider a 2013 Nissan Leaf?