The Nissan Leaf is getting its first major upgrade.
Nissan has revealed its revised 2013 Leaf electric for the Japanese market. Although not the exact vehicle that will land in U.S. showrooms, the JDM Leaf should give us a good idea of what to expect from the North American-spec car.
The exterior styling of the Leaf largely carries over for the 2013 model year, but Nissan is introducing three new body colors - Dark Metal Gray, Brilliant White Pearl and White. Up-level models will also receive standard LED headlights with auto-leveling.
Inside Nissan is adding a new black interior color as well as an optional leather package. Cargo room increases by 1.35 cubic feet for the 2013 model year, thanks to the use of a smaller onboard charger that moves from the back of the car to the front.
Other interior tweaks include a new percentage readout for battery capacity shown in the Leaf's in the Multifunction Display, a foot-operated parking brake, light-weight Bose audio system and Nissan's Around View Monitor.
Nissan has totally revamped the Leaf's electric drivetrain for 2013, resulting in a 30 percent reduction in volume and a 10 percent reduction in weight. Those improvements will trim about 176 pounds from the Leaf's waistline.
Nissan says the Leaf's revised electric motor will net a snappier throttle response and quicker acceleration.
Nissan engineers have also tuned the 2013 Leaf's steering for better response, particularly in the medium-speed range.
No changes were made to the Leaf's battery, but improvements to the car's brake regeneration and heating systems should net a few extra miles of range.
However, even with those upgrades range anxiety remains a concern for Leaf drivers, so Nissan has upgraded the EV with three new functions - "Stop-off charging spot guidance", "Power-saving route guidance" and "Battery capacity at a destination forecast".
As previously rumored, Nissan is adding a new entry-level Leaf model for 2013. The base Leaf - known in Japan as the 'S' - will retain the standard car's electric drivetrain, but will delete added extras like fog lights in the name of a lower price point.
The 2013 Nissan Leaf is available for purchase now in Japan, so look for the EV to hit the U.S. market either later this year or in early 2013.