Nissan has unveiled the 2013 Leaf in Japan.

Modestly updated, the model is equipped with restyled alloy wheels and optional blue-tinted LED headlights. The hatchback is also available in three new exterior colors: Dark Metal Gray, Brilliant White Pearl and White.

Interior changes include an updated multifunction display, an improved Around View Monitor and a Plasma Cluster Ion generator that promises to eliminate odors and kill germs. Other changes include an additional 40 liters (1.4 cubic feet) of cargo capacity and newly optional leather seats.

While the styling changes are minor, engineers put a lot of work into updating the car's electric powertrain. The Leaf's high voltage unit - which consists of a new electric motor, an inverter and a DC/DC converter - has been "integrated" so it's now 30 percent smaller and 10 percent lighter. This enables the car to weigh approximately 80 kg (176 lbs) less than its predecessor.

Besides updating the powertrain, engineers minimized power consumption by improving the cabin heater, heated seats and heated steering wheel. They also upgraded the regenerative braking system to maximize power regeneration.  These changes enable the model to have a range of up to 228 km (141 miles).

Despite all the upgrades, Nissan has been able to lower the starting price by introducing an entry-level S variant that costs ¥3,349,500 in Japan.

Check out the press release for additional information

Gallery: 2013 Nissan Leaf unveiled with updated powertrain

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