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Base Nissan Leaf EV gets bigger battery, bigger price

The larger, 30 kWh battery found on the costlier Nissan Leaf models has now found its way to the cheapest one, too.

Engine: Electric motor Output: 107 horsepowerBase price: $20,010The second Nissan on the list is the Leaf electric car, which comes to the table a 107 horsepower rating. But it's the up to 107 miles of electric range on a single charge that actually is impressive and keeps this aging electric vehicle relevant.

While many factors help determine the ultimate success or failure of a given EV, for most buyers, choosing the right car basically boils down to a combination of range and price. For the Nissan Leaf, one of the oldest and most affordable EVs on the market, that equation has just changed slightly.

As spotted by Green Car Reports, the base Nissan Leaf S has been quietly upgraded from its original 24-kilowatt-hour battery up to the larger 30 kWh unit found on the SV and SL models, like the one we reviewed earlier this year. That bumps the EPA-estimated maximum range up from a tolerable 84 miles to a much more livable 107.

However, the cost has risen as well. New starting price for the base Leaf S is $32,450, up from around $29,000, but that also includes the Quick Charge Package, which will give you an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. At that price you're still saving about $2,000 over the SV, with its posher interior, and $4,000 over the SL, which throws in the roof-mounted solar panel and some other niceties.

The extra range and charger seems like a fair trade to us, but if all that sounds like unnecessary excess to you, don't fret. Nissan says there are still some 24 kWh Leafs around on dealership lots -- but you'd better move fast if you want one.