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The Nissan Leaf is getting a lot of media coverage lately and there's a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which is the fact that the 2013 model is selling at a huge discount to the 2012 model.

That's right... the new 2013 Leaf S base model actually lowers the price of entry. After incentives, the pure battery-powered vehicle can start at a very competitive price of around $19,000. That’s $6,400 less than the previous cheapest model Leaf.

And on top of that, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released economy and range numbers for the 2013 Nissan Leaf. Nissan’s EV is now rated at 130 MPGe city, 102 MPGe highway, and the EPA says it has a 74-mile range. Interested?

According to Digitaltrends.com, Nissan is saying that, because the 2013 model was tested under a new EPA methodology, it’s ratings can’t be compared to those of the old Leaf. The 2012 Leaf was rated at 106 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway, and had a 73-mile range. Nissan says the difference in performance between the 2013 and 2012 models could be greater than indicated.

The 2013 Leaf has two charging modes. The default is a “100 percent Long Distance Mode,” which maximizes range. However, there is also an “80 percent Long Life Mode,” which is meant to save wear on the battery.

The 2013 Leaf is also the first model to be tested under a new EPA regimen that blends the two charging modes. Previous tests used the range-optimized “100 percent” mode exclusively.

What’s the difference? Travis Parman, Nissan of the Americas’ director of corporate communications, told AutoBlog that the 2013 Leaf would have an 84-mile range if the entire test was conducted in “100 percent” mode. In “80 percent mode,” range is reduced to 66 miles.

Nissan has even made a few improvements for 2013, including tweaks to the regenerative braking system and aerodynamics, that account for the increased MPGe and longer (theoretical) range.

Of course, Nissan knows that all electric vehicles are competing for the same customers and the more attractive the price, the better the chances of closing the sale...

With the compelling price and impressive EPA numbers Nissan expects Leaf sales to rebound after a slow couple of months in early 2013. The automaker anticipates averaging 1,500 sales per month in the U.S. very soon, with total sales projected to rise by 20% this year.