For 2016, the model year just ending, the Nissan Leaf electric car got a larger-capacity battery for all but its lowest trim level.
The Leaf SV and SL models this year have been fitted with a 30-kilowatt-hour battery, up from the previous 24-kwh capacity, that boosts their EPA-rated range from 84 to 107 miles.
The base Leaf S version, the only one with a price below $30,000, continued with the old 24-kwh battery.
Now, however, very quietly, that turns out to have changed.
One of our colleagues spotted a Nissan order guide, dated September 26, saying that midway through the 2016 model year, Nissan had changed the battery in the base Leaf S model to 30 kwh as well.
Along with that change came a new and higher price that crossed the crucial $30,000 barrier.
We reached out to Nissan to inquire about the mid-year change, and indeed the company confirmed that it was real.
Paige Presley of the communications group at Nissan North America wrote:
We have made a running change to the 2016 Leaf S model to equip it with 30-kwh battery packs as standard equipment, offering best-in-class range across all trim levels for Leaf.
ALSO READ: 2016 Nissan Leaf 30-kwh Battery Gives 107-Mile Range; Leaf S Unchanged (Sep 2015)
Additionally, all 2016 Leaf S vehicles equipped with the 30-kwh battery pack will also come with the Quick Charge Package as a standard feature.
The base price of the 2016 Leaf S with the 30 kWh battery and Quick Charge Package is $32,450 before any federal, state or regional incentives are applied.
Should a customer desire a 2016 Leaf S with a 24-kwh battery, they can visit [the Nissan USA website] to locate a vehicle or find a dealership that will assist.
The Nissan Leaf remains the highest-volume electric car in the world, with 233,000 sold globally since December 2011.
A second-generation Leaf is expected to be unveiled and launched over the next year to 18 months, most likely as a 2018 model, to replace the six-year-old current model.
Thus far, no Nissan unit has released any information about the anticipated 2018 Nissan Leaf, although at least one version is expected to offer a range of roughly 200 miles to compete with the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, rated at 238 miles.
Meanwhile, the updated 30-kwh 2016 Nissan Leaf S cars started to reach dealerships late last month.