Introduced to the market for the 2011 model year, the 2013 Nissan Leaf remains the highest-volume battery-electric car on sale in the United States. Though the Leaf has the distinction of being the first modern battery-electric vehicle produced by a major automaker, neither it nor its primary rival, the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt, have managed to sell in the quantities originally predicted by their respective companies.
Nissan is mixing things up to boost sales in 2013, and that’s a good thing for consumers. Production has now moved to Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, which ultimately translates into a lower production cost for the Leaf. As a result, Nissan has added a new, less-expensive base Leaf model, while updating equipment throughout much of the model range.
Those driving the Leaf for the first time are often impressed by how little difference there is between the electric car and a comparable internal-combustion hatchback. The Leaf is no golf...