• 2013 Nissan Leaf range now 75 miles
  • Fuel economy ratings also increased
  • Due in part to new testing methods

Nissan says the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) range and fuel economy ratings for the Leaf EV will increase this year. The increase is due to revised testing procedures and updates to the EV. According to Nissan, the range will get a small boost to 75 miles, while fuel economy will jump even more.

While the EPA has not confirmed Nissan's figures, the brand says fuel economy will reach a 130-mpg equivalent in the city. That's a major jump from today's figure, which stands at 106 mpge. For highway drivers, the Leaf's rating will increase to 102 mpge. That, too, is a big boost from today's 92 mpge highway figure.

According to Nissan, the new rating isn't due to a vastly more efficient Leaf. Instead, the EPA has revised its testing methods for electric vehicles. Although the EPA hasn't announced exactly what the changes are, Nissan says the difference between 2012 and 2013 numbers "is not an apples-to-apples comparison." Of course, updates to the Leaf, such as improved regenerative braking, likely play a part too.

The Leaf's range figure is also increasing for 2013. The automaker says the range will now stand at 75 miles, which is up two miles from last year's 73-mile range figure. The number is due to a new EPA procedure and updates to the 2013 Leaf.

On the EPA's end, the new range figure now takes into account both of the Leaf's charging modes. While the EPA's old method only factored in the factory default 100 percent mode, the EPA will now include Nissan's driver-selectable long life mode. While long life mode only charges the Leaf to 80 percent, it's designed to improve battery life. The two modes are averaged, leading to the 75-mile figure.

Once again, the rating is also partially due to updates to the Leaf. In addition to improved regenerative braking, changes include better aerodynamics and an overall weight reduction.

What it means to you: The 2013 Nissan Leaf has higher fuel-efficiency and range ratings than its predecessor. But that doesn't mean it's vastly more efficient.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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