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2013 Nissan Leaf: Driven Through Tennessee Countryside

After our quick drive of a 2013 Nissan Leaf before the New York Auto Show in late March, we were finally able to spend some extended time with the updated electric car outside Nashville.

Our initial impressions remain the same: The Leaf is a perfectly normal, competent compact five-door hatchback that happens to run on a battery-electric powertrain.

Its limited range of 75 miles aside–that’s 15 percent higher than comparable ratings from earlier years, but the calculations are complex–the Leaf will do anything that any other compact hatchback will.

75 miles (in nice weather)

We covered two different drive routes, of 23.0 and 22.1 miles respectively.

After starting with a full battery, the car told us at the end we had 43 percent remaining charge–for an imputed range of about 79 miles.

That’s fairly close to the 84 miles the EPA says the Leaf should get when charged to 100 percent, as ours had been.

It’s worth noting that the weather in Tennessee was pleasant–in the 60s and 70s–which is just about ideal for an electric car. Range would have been lower in a Northeastern winter.

Four-fifths U.S.-made

By this point, many readers will likely know that the Leaf is now built in Tennessee, as are the lithium-ion cells in its battery pack. By value, more than four-fifths of the Leaf electric car is now made in the U.S.

Nissan made a number of changes to the 2013 model, the most important being an available 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger. It also relocated the charger to under the hood, which expands the storage space available in the cargo area behind the fold-down rear seat.
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