First Nissan LEAF Experiences: 75 MPH Highway Driving Provides 60 Miles of Range

By · December 15, 2010

Olivier on Day One

It’s been four days since Olivier Chalouhi became the world’s first owner of the all-electric Nissan LEAF. Since that time, he’s been logging miles and recording his experiences on the MyNissanLEAF.com owner website. I combed through the past few days of entries, and pulled the most interesting discoveries.

Olivier is having a great time with the car. “It's way more comfortable than my wife's [Honda] Fit, accelerates better, is much more silent, way better equipped,” he writes. The lack of noise gives a perception of lower speed, but in reality the LEAF moves faster down the road. Olivier believes that ECO mode is “way less fun than regular.” It makes the car feel more like a “regular car,” but Olivier doesn’t mind using it in the city (presumably to conserve battery power).

Apparently, the biggest disappointment has been range. He writes, “If you want to cruise on the highway at 75+ mph, then you should not hope to get more than 50-60 miles of range, with light climate control.” The range indicator quickly changes in response to conditions. When Olivier left on one trip with a full battery, the dash said 96 miles left, but as soon as he turned on climate control, it dropped to around 85. It works the opposite way as well. He left on one nighttime trip with 82 miles of range left, and returned home with the same amount, despite having driven 10 miles.

Brisk highway driving is definitely a range-killer. “My current feeling is that at 75 mph, with light climate control, you'll be looking at a range in between 55 and 65 [miles].” As a result, Olivier is not recommending the car for those with a daily commute which has more than 25 miles on the highway each way and are used to driving slightly above speed limits. (Note: Olivier feels confident that driving at 65 mph, still highway speed, would provide enough confidence for a 30 to 35 mile daily commute.)

He’s using one of the two default setting for charge limits: 100% and 80%—currently preferring the 80% setting (which extends the life of the battery) during the week, and 100% for Friday through Saturday, to be ready for more driving on the weekends.

Final notes for now:

  • No carpool lane sticker yet. They can only be ordered with the arrival of license plates.
  • Bluetooth connection is great—the “best communication experience you’ll experience”
  • Visibility to the back has been fine, but he finds the front pillars “annoying,” especially when taking a right turn on red.

I’ll do my best to keep an eye on Olivier’s progress, and plan to directly reach out to him and the other first drivers.

Update: I added "75 MPH" to the headline to clearly state that the shorter range results from highway speeds that exceed the legal limit.

Comments

· Nick W (not verified) · 6 years ago

It seemed iffy that Nissan had quickly been spreading the 100mi number during the leaf tour after they had presented some pretty clear evidence that 60-65 was a more realistic range earlier in the year.

Awesome to get some non-auto press hands on impressions.

· · 6 years ago

"gudy" basically admits to driving like a maniac, though, so it's something to keep in mind; "however I refuse to get on the highway at anything bellow full throttle ... I like to find my way from ramp to left lane as fast as possible"

Range for an EV is going to vary much more with driving habits than a gasoline vehicle so we'll need to wait for more Leaf owners to weigh in with their experiences. Still, though, the Leaf is clearly capable of ~100 mile range so it's not exactly like Nissan has been lying about it. A gasoline car won't get the rated MPG driving like that either!

· Jimmydreams (not verified) · 6 years ago

My Escape Hybrid is EPA rated 31city, 35 highway. I routinely get 38-40mpg simply by driving 60-65. The tradeoff in energy used between 65 and 75 is HUGE. That doesn't mean the labeling on my car is wrong, only that my driving habits GREATLY effect my MPG numbers.

See Smidge204's quote of Gudy from www.mynissanleaf.com. Gudy is driving the car very spiritedly. That accounts for his lower range numbers and he admits as much. NO ONE EVER SAID YOU'D GET 100 MILES IN A LEAF DOING 75MPH! Slow down to 60-65 and watch your range go to 80+ miles.

Also, keep in mind that the Leaf is not a car for everyone. At this stage of the EV game, the Leaf is a GREAT car for commuters of less than 40 miles one way, and for those with a second car. Revisit EV's in 3-5 years and see how they have changed. The first cell phones were 'brick' models that required a shoulderstrap because they were so big and heavy. And a lot of people scoffed and said "only the rich could ever afford/want that". (insert sarcastic pause here) Uh-huh.

The Leaf is a start. A GREAT start for some, not so much for others....it's VERY early in the EV game.

· evnow (not verified) · 6 years ago

"My current feeling is that at 75 mph"

Isn't that the one that needs to be highlighted ?

Nick W, if you drive hard @ 75mph, yes, the range will be less. Nissan consistently said 100 miles as per LA4 cycle.

· · 6 years ago

He's got the EV grin, it sounds like? So, he's lead-footing it and like any car, the efficiency drops way off when you go fast. The aero drag goes up by the square of the speed.

If he slowed to 65mph, would the range go up to 75-80 miles? If he drove 60mph, would it stretch to 90 miles?

It is called ecodriving! Learning to coast helps a lot. If you are on the accelerator right up until you get on the brake -- then your range will suffer!

I'm sure in a few weeks or months, he'll cool his jets. Or, if he doesn't need the range -- he'll keep the EV grin...

Neil

· Neutron (not verified) · 6 years ago

If NIssan has been stating 100 MPC and it is 60 then that is a 40%reduction. Nissan was not very clear how the 100 MPC was determined. Owners may have a right to make a complaint about that claim,

Kind of like the VOLT and its 40 MPC range early on. Now it is like the Fox News comment. Here is the car now you decide what the MPC should be (25 to 50). And new VOLT owners too have a right to make a complaint about that claim,

my 2 cents

· Jimmydreams (not verified) · 6 years ago

Nissan was very clear about how they came to the 100mpc claim: the LA4 driving cycle. Look it up and see all the variations in speed/stops. It's not entirely realistic for most people's driving needs.

Again, an EV is NOT the same as an ICE, and your expectations shouldn't be the same. My commute is 63 mile round-trip. I usually drive 60-65mph. I'm expecting the Leaf to work JUST fine for my round trip without charging at work. Once at-work charging becomes available, I'll drive 75+ and grin my silly face off!!! :)

· Olivier Chalouhi (not verified) · 6 years ago

I'm not recommending the car for those with a daily commute above 25 miles of highway driving each way, IF they plan on driving at 75mph+...

You'll get your 100 miles of range in city driving easily (35-45 mph).
Also, the range doesn't jump around ... it adapts really well to how you drive. So, of course, if you switch between ECO or not, and climate control or not, the range changes (instantly), otherwise, based on how fast / aggressively you drive, it takes a few minutes.
When you drive it, it all makes sense. When I'm having fun with the car, I see my range get lower. When I'm trying to play it nice, it gets higher.
So far, I haven't planted any tree (in their ecometer thingy) ... but the car is WAY TOO MUCH FUN to drive ... and I only drive 20 miles a day (although I'll be at 300 miles soon :D)

· · 6 years ago

Maybe Brad should talk to Nick before publishing an article on the LEAFs range. http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-leaf-116-mile-range.html

· · 6 years ago

@Olivier - Thanks for reiterating that it's all about the speed you drive. Even though Nissan mentions LA4 driving cycle, I think the point mostly gets overlooked (or is not understood by regular folks). Driving cycle and speed absolutely matter. We should all acknowledge that--become aware of it and make the driving decisions that get the results we want.

I think it's fantastic that you CAN have a lot of fun with a green car, something that has been lacking with most of the hybrids.

@Indyflick - I know all about Nick's drive in Tennessee. I guess you're suggesting that I'm somehow dissing the LEAF. Not at all. I suppose I should have been more emphatic that Olivier was talking about highway speeds (which are in fact usually 75 mph, especially if you are commuting 25 miles on a regular basis). Nick's trip in Tennessee was definitely more leisurely--kind of ideal conditions for long range. We all know that there will be a range of ranges. I was just trying to summarize what Olivier was writing up as his most significant and newsworthy experiences.

By the way, in my shorter test run of the LEAF in city conditions in SF, I got tremendous range and miles-per-kWh, reported here:
http://www.plugincars.com/first-drive-nissan-leaf-shatters-range-concern...

That trip was not representative, but shows what's possible--just like Olivier's 75 mph range might not be representative of what you might typical experience or what most people will experience. On that trip, it's the range indicator jumps up and down--not the actual range. I've experienced the same thing in other EVs.

It's a good healthy conversation. One that we need to have at this moment in the EV rollout.

· · 6 years ago

@Brad, I'm not saying you're "somehow dissing the LEAF", I'm saying you're dissing Nick. :-) Nick, what say you? Cat fight!!

May I suggest that instead of a headline which reads "First Nissan LEAF Experiences: Highway Driving Provides 60 Miles of Range", you might consider "First Nissan LEAF Experiences: Driving 75mph+ Provides 60 Miles of Range". Or even better how about, "Just like gasoline powered cars, it turns out if you drive the LEAF like a maniac, the range is significantly reduced".

· · 6 years ago

Way to go Olivier! We finally find out how the Leaf responds when it is actually driven. Don't be discouraged by all the aficionados of slow driving. For years, it was the only really viable option available to be ecological. That era is gone forever now!
Many of us also have someplace to go when we get on the road and we, too, want to find out how well the Leaf handles it. We can now get on with progress again. I've been waiting since the '70's for this!
By really driving with the traffic, you'll encourage other people who really need to get somewhere to consider an EV. This will help our planet infinitely more than a smug 55 mph Prius driver who's using more than twice as much energy as you are.
Are you getting a lot of reaction from people on the street?

· · 6 years ago

Okay, here we go. It's ON. :)

So, indyflick, I guess you're saying that Olivier drives like a maniac? Olivier, you're not going to put up with that, are you?

If I say "highway driving," what mph do you think of? What speed do most people drive at on the highway? (Of course, I drive way on the right side, and everybody passes me.) Are we going to have all the LEAF drivers piled up on the right side with everybody laughing at us, saying that EVs are wimpy? Hell no. Let's enjoy the sweet power of the electric drive--but admit that range is not 100 miles all the time, for all conditions, for all driving styles. Let's be proud of it, instead of covering it up with apologetic headlines.

· · 6 years ago

Q: "If I say "highway driving," what mph do you think of?"
A: 55 mph, I'm a big Nixon fan!

Q "What speed do most people drive at on the highway?"
A: On weekday mornings here in SoCal, 5 mph. On the 5 at 11:00am, maybe 90ish.

· Olivier Chalouhi (not verified) · 6 years ago

@Brad, My problem is the "bold" statement in the article. while I agree that 75mph is not excessively, fast, we're still talking highway speed.
"Olivier is not recommending the car for those with a daily commute above 25 miles each way" should be :
Olivier is not recommending the car for those with a daily commute which has more than 25 miles on the highway each way and are used to drive slightly above speed limits".

Although, I'd bet that I'd feel totally safe doing 30 or maybe even 35 at 65 mph, which is also highway speed.

Now, all that is going to do, is get me a ticket ;p

· Anonymous (not verified) · 6 years ago

I would love to hear the range at 60 mph. Just to get a comparison of what the range is like at a more reasonable highway speed (by reasonable I mean for eco driving). Thanks for the updates Olivier!

· · 6 years ago

@Olivier - That's completely fair, and I made adjustments to the article text. Much better. I like this manual wiki approach to getting the right info out there. It's great to read your posts and to get your feedback on when the interpretation is not accurate. Cheers, and keep the reports coming.

· · 6 years ago

Nice work everybody... though of course I DO still have a problem with the concept of, "Hey, let's all break the law so we can all be thought of as being as cool as the gasoline-powered speeders!" I just don't know what I'd do if somebody *laughed* at me. I might cry.

What the hell. I'm old. I only drive for transportation these days.... the big time difference between driving 60 and 75 mph is rarely more than a couple of minutes per trip... and when I see somebody pulled over signing a speeding ticket - or in extremem situations, wrapped around a tree, I realize that I'm often *saving* significant time (for myself and others!) at 60 mph.

But hey... don't let me get in the way of this awesome catfight. ;)

· · 6 years ago

Wait... more... So if the idea here is to trumpet how great electric drive is - how much like gasoline speeders we can be in our eco cars, how about this for a subject line change:

Existing, dull line that tells us in no uncertain terms that EVs fall short of the promise:
First Nissan LEAF Experiences: Highway Driving Provides 60 Miles of Range.

New, exciting line that tells us that we can drive EVs like *real* cars:
First Nissan LEAF Experiences: Highway Driving at 75mph is quiet and fun!

The first part of the article, "better equipped, better acceleration, more comfortable, that "eco mode" makes the car feel slower - more like a gas car" gets swept under the rug... so we can make room for several paragraphs about the "feelings" he has about the range? I have no "feelings" about the Range of my EV. I know EXACTLY what they are under differing situations. But anyway...

Hmmm. I'm grumpy tonight.

· Olivier Chalouhi (not verified) · 6 years ago

@Brad
So I did a test on the 280 tonight, from the junction with 92, to the alpine road exit. I was at 75, on cruise control, with climate control off (and 40 outside, but interestingly, it wasn't even cold in the car, and I wasn't wearing my jacket, simply my sweater, however the windows get somewhat foggy).
I got an average of 2.9 kWh / mile over that trip. It goes uphill for some time, and then downhill, so I'm not sure about the total elevation gain / loss.
2.9kWh / mile, if you trust the 24kWh battery capacity, is almost 70 miles of range. So it might be ok for people having 30 miles of highway to commute.
With climate control on, then the number would be lower. With battery degradation over years (assuming you don't move and don't change jobs for many years), then 25 miles seems to be, in the end, a fairly good number.
25 miles of highway, and a few miles to / from the highway, and you'll be fine, with never fearing of running out of juice, and you'll have extra capacity to do detours to a grocery shop on the way back.
The car is not for everyone, ie you need a fairly short commute (what's the %age of the population driving less than 25 miles of highway each way to commute?), but if you can "afford" the limited range, then it's a no brainer. I really think that Nissan will sell as many as they can produce.

I won't even comment on the "maniac" thing ;) It's an exciting car, as someone else said, I'm just discovering how cool EVs are.

· Bill (not verified) · 6 years ago

Brad, highway speeds here are NOT 75. They are 65, and you can definitely get a ticket for ten over although most photo radar is set for '11' over. I'm going to be going 65 in the HOV ALL the time and I will obtain much more than 60 miles. You wanna bet that I can get 80 miles or more at that speed? And to any ignoramuses out there that believe you can get a ticket for impeding traffic at the speed LIMIT, check your driving laws.

· taztaz (not verified) · 6 years ago

One other thing to remember, it's not only about the speed you are cruising at.. It's the acceleration to reach thoose speeds. If you floor it when going onto the highway of course the battery wont last very long.. It's too soon to write articles about Olivier's range with the car.. He have only been driving it for a couple of days! :) God I wish this car would be availible in Sweden soon!!!!!! :)

· · 6 years ago

@Olivier,

Apparently, the usable capacity of the Leaf is 95% of the 24kWh, or ~22.8kWh (as per Nick Chambers' 116.1 miles drive: http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-leaf-116-mile-range.html). This averages 1.96kW / 100 miles, or 196Wh / mile.

My question for you is this: is there (a lot of) regenerative braking on the accelerator pedal? Does it differ on this, depending on the mode you are in?

Is it easy just free wheel coast -- if you lift your foot off of the accelerator, what happens?

Does the Economy mode affect the range at highway speeds?

Thanks, Neil

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Folks,

I hope Olivier means 290 Wh/hr per mile. That would put him right in the middle of the range of DIY car conversions. Not surprising since the Leaf's drag is not even as good as a Prius's. An EV uses energy exactly like an ICE. You get to use 80% of 24 kWh, which is roughly equivalent to 2.4 gallons of gas. A five passenger sedan the size of the Leaf, with one occupant, gets about 30 mpg at 75 mph. Was anyone expecting magic?

I was a big fan of the 55 mph speed limit. They just raised the limit to 70 mph on the interstate here. Nothing has changed. Everyone still goes 75-80 mph. If you drive your EV at 60 on the interstates around here, you will be looked at as a tree hugger in a golf cart. I am passed every day by sanctimonious Prius drivers getting worst mileage than I get on my aging Sentra, because they are going 15 mph faster.

Warren

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Oops! meant to say 290 Wh/mile.

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

"the usable capacity of the Leaf is 95% of the 24kWh"

Absolutely...if its not your car. :-) If you want to get the hoped for life out of your lithium battery, you'd best shoot for 80%. No news here. The less you abuse the battery, the longer it lasts.

Warren

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Ultimately, I hope EV's will teach people the laws of physics. Maybe we will figure out that you don't need to drive to work in a vehicle the size of the average Japanese person's apartment.

Warren

· curt (not verified) · 6 years ago

People in cars tend to push the speed limit because they are wrapped in a metal cage that buffers the speed out. Its too bad they don't mandate that you have to ride a motorcycle for a year before you can drive a car to appreciate the fragility of your situation. Myself, I minimize commute time on a motorcycle (yes, splitting lanes) and still get 50mpg, but when I'm in my car I tend to go slower (usually stay around 65mph or less beating EPA mileage rating by 3-4mpg). Once I get the Leaf I'll hover around 60mph. I figure for an hour drive that is only 5-10 minutes longer, so no big deal. Maybe I'll draft those semi(s) to really stretch my range :-)

Reminds me of the old commercial for saving gas, "are you a lead foot or a grannie?"

· · 6 years ago

@curt

I tend to see motorcyclists driving much more dangerously can "cage drivers" on the average. Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, doing wheelies from stop lights, driving up on the shoulder... the very fact that you admit to lane splitting is pretty contemptible IMHO.

My own hypothesis is "driving like an ass" is in no way related to the kind of vehicle being driven.

· · 6 years ago

Olivier posted a 1-way route consuming about 345wh/mile with the cruise control set at 75 mph. That energy use rate is quite a bit higher than my Prius, so I'll wait for more data before wondering why it is so high. Wind is the usual answer, but round-trip data will be helpful too.

By the way Olivier, I'm delighted to hear you are enjoying the LEAF. Please keep posting for your living vicariously buddies !

Come to think of it, a couple of questions if you do not mind:
Even with the car set to CC, did you have reason to brake or accelerate ?
How long was the test route ?
Was the test started after CC was engaged ?

· · 6 years ago

>> An EV uses energy exactly like an ICE.

I'm not sure what you meant here, Warren... but no, an EV doesn't use energy exactly like an ICE. Of course they both use energy, but there are some significant differences. An ICE has a power and efficiency curve, and staying in that sweet spot with gearing is always a trick. EVs on the other hand havean (almost) flat motor efficiency curve. Since air resistance acts equally on both vehicles, you can more clearly see the efficiency difference in slow driving before air resistance takes over. Drive a gas car around all day at an average of 25 mph and report your gas mileage relative to what it gets at 60 mph. Then drive an EV at 25 mph and you'll soon see that the range increases DRAMATICALLY. Gas cars are tuned and geared for efficiency at highway speed. EVs are tuned and geared for efficiency at every practical speed - almost natively.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 6 years ago

I live in Georgia and it's pretty hot during the summer months. If I run my air conditioning system which is a must during summer driving then I'm going to be in trouble from what I understand from the posts. Nissan should have been honest about the mileage and should have posted realistic numbers under average conditions summer/winter. I have one on order but will not take delivery until more numbers are available. I also don't like the fact that the delivery dates keep moving around all over the place. Maybe Tesla will be available by the time Nissan gets these cars to dealerships. Nissan communications to its prospective customer is terrible.

· · 6 years ago

Since Darell indirectly raises the question, I wonder how the LEAF transmission does energy loss-wise at high rpm.

· · 6 years ago

Anonymous -- are you volunteering your GA summer as THE typical environment Nissan should assume for fuel economy testing in the summer? It sure is not similar to mine.

· · 6 years ago

@Smidge204: At least in California, lane splitting is perfectly legal for motorcyclists and is not generally considered "contemptible" behavior. In heavy traffic, I've done it on my bicycle!

@Darell: I would point out that, in driving a Prius (as you well know), it is very easy to observe the differences between ICE and EV efficiency curves. At very low speeds, driving in EV or "stealth" mode can be far more efficient than having to run the ICE. But try driving in "stealth" (EV) mode at higher speeds, and that little battery pack will drop its charge like a rock (which you of course don't want to do unless you're about to go down a big hill and can use regenerative braking to recharge).

· · 6 years ago

Headlines are a tricky thing, and I'm the first to admit that I can miss the mark. I'm a firm believer that electricity is the killer app of automotive technology. Getting us off oil is my primary motivation. Yet, not every story and every piece of new info can serve a purely promotional purpose. Sometimes, we need stop and assess new information coming in. It's wonderful that we can drive fast, smooth and silent in the LEAF. I can't wait to get mine. At the same time, as Olivier points out, if we drive at 75 mph, it's going to take a hit on range.

Thanks to everybody for all the intelligent and passionate input on EV highway driving! Please continue to call me to task when I veer between lanes...I know Darell doesn't need to be encouraged to give a poke when necessary :)

· Nick W (not verified) · 6 years ago

Sorry I didn't mean to imply that 100mi range isn't possible in the Leaf. I think most EV oriented drivers will be able to get over 60. However, drop the average American lead foot driver in one, add climate control and I think 60 is more realistic number to convey. Establishing good standards is really hard and I just hope the story can become - "Drivers surprised- Leaf range better than expected" not - "Nissan said 100mi and I'm getting 55".

· · 6 years ago

So much to say, and no time to do it!

Abasile - don't consfuse rapid battery depletion with inefficiency! Battery power will ALWAYS be more efficient than ICE. Faster speed uses more of either one, but battery will always win (I mean unless you then refill the battery from a gasoline generator like in the Prius and the Volt!)

Brad... I'm just sayin'. We don't have headlines that read, "drive 75 mph and you won't get the rated gas mileage in your gas car" so I'm not sure what service it provides here. Reality is what it is. I agree that no everything has to be or should be "promotion" of EVs. At the same time I'm not sure everything has to be a demotion!

Gotta go ride. last sunny day for a while!

· Olivier Chalouhi (not verified) · 6 years ago

ERRATA ... I got the units wrong (obviously).
I got 2.9 miles / kWh (sorry it was late when I wrote this)
here's the google map link to the trip I used :
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=I-280+S&daddr=I-280+S&h...

@SageBrush
Even with the car set to CC, did you have reason to brake or accelerate ?
none.
How long was the test route ?
see map
Was the test started after CC was engaged ?
yes

· · 6 years ago

Olivier: I eyeballed the route in Google Earth which has elevation data, it looks like you had about a ~125 foot climb overall. If the car's mass+you is about 1600 kg, the elevation used 38*9.8*1600 joules, or about 15wh/mile over your 11 mile route.

That brings us down to ~ 330wh/mile on level terrain, still some 23% higher than a Prius. Prius data from Wayne Brown.

Hmm. I'm looking forward to more data!

· · 6 years ago

One possible caveat -- I think Wayne Brown's data is energy consumption at the ICE driveshaft. If that is the case then the comparison is approximately Prius transmission+aero+wheels to LEAF battery-to-wheels+aero+wheels.

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Well, I will just sit here and type, as it is 25 F and snowing. :-)

I meant that EV and ICE both convert stored energy to motion. Granted EV doesn't waste as much in heat. But right now in Virginia that heat wouldn't all go to waste! I have no AC in my commuter car. It gets hot and humid here in the summer. It is very unpleasant. For 30-40 minutes I can handle that..with a big iced coffee. In the winter (did I mention how much I hate winter?) I can pamper myself by running the heat wide open. That's right...I am sweating in my car in the winter...cheaper than a vacation in the Bahamas. :-) And I can do it with no guilt whatsoever. Now resistance electric heat makes no sense at all. Much better to run a catalytic propane heater, converting hydrocarbon directly to heat.

On the fabled flat power curve of EV. Basically, you can run a tranny with a smaller motor, and lower C battery pack, or go with a big motor, and a high C battery pack. Which is "best" depends on many factors.

My wife just pointed out that 2.4 gallons is how much is left in the tank when she starts insisting we pull into the next gas station. I believe that is what GM means by range anxiety.

· · 6 years ago

Sorry I'm late to this game. Cat fight! Or rather, cat fight in the LEAVEZ! Oh noez. Badumpbump.

@Olivier, Brad, Indyflick, Darell, and, oh hell, everybody else... loving the discussion! It's great when we get a bunch of people, some of whom have only been driving and EV for literally days, some of whom have have been driving them for more than a decade and some of whom have never driven one but fully support them. I'd "fight" about this topic all day long and into the night (provided the proper libations and setting).

@Olivier specifically, wanted to say it was too bad you kept getting whisked away last weekend just when I was starting to get to the really good questions with you ;) Wish I could have spent some more time getting to know you and talking with you, but your fame star was shining too brightly for me to get close :)

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Well, I will just sit here and type, as it is 25 F and snowing. :-)

I meant that EV and ICE both convert stored energy to motion. Granted EV doesn't waste as much in heat. But right now in Virginia that heat wouldn't all go to waste! I have no AC in my commuter car. It gets hot and humid here in the summer. It is very unpleasant. For 30-40 minutes I can handle that..with a big iced coffee. In the winter (did I mention how much I hate winter?) I can pamper myself by running the heat wide open. That's right...I am sweating in my car in the winter...cheaper than a vacation in the Bahamas. :-) And I can do it with no guilt whatsoever. Now resistance electric heat makes no sense at all. Much better to run a catalytic propane heater, converting hydrocarbon directly to heat.

On the fabled flat power curve of EV. Basically, you can run a tranny with a smaller motor, and lower C battery pack, or go with a big motor, and a high C battery pack. Which is "best" depends on many factors.

My wife just pointed out that 2.4 gallons is how much is left in the tank when she starts insisting we pull into the next gas station. I believe that is what GM means by range anxiety.

· Olivier Chalouhi (not verified) · 6 years ago

@Nick
The feeling is shared. I'd be honored to answer any questions you have. By the way, on the L2 charging question ... it is really convenient to have one at home, charing takes me about 10 secs (time to plug). I also feel that it's not as easy for someone to steal it, as an L1 charger would be, when charging from your driveway.

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Whoa! That was strange. The screen was covered in computerese gibberish...and then it reposted my comment. Worm hole...disturbance in the force?

· · 6 years ago

Olivier, thanks! Good points about the Level 2 station... certainly if you are charging in your driveway having it hardwired to the wall is a deterrence against theft... hadn't thought about that before.

What's great about your charging station story is that it is finally giving large amounts of coverage to the fact that Nissan LEAF owners don't HAVE to install a L2 charge station using the exact process Nissan and AV have outlined. You saved yourself a bunch of money by having your own electrician do it and I'm sure many others will now do the same. In fact, I'd wager that one story item alone saved future LEAF owners many multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars (at a savings of ~$1,000 per station)—perhaps even millions. Good on you mate! Now imagine if you could take a 3% cut of each of those transactions for your "consulting" time :)

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Is Olivier's Leaf an SL? I am wondering because the SL comes with a camera to replace some/all of the mirrors..correct? Can someone clarify that for me?

· · 6 years ago

Warren, Olivier's is an SL and yes it does have back-up cameras. They don't replace the sideview mirrors though, and they only operate when you are backing up, so you still need all of your physical mirrors for driving.

· · 6 years ago

Warren, so far as I know the more expensive trim has a back-up camera, but there is no difference in mirrors.

· · 6 years ago

@Darell: Yes, I did not intend to imply that rapid battery depletion equates to lower efficiency, and I agree that an electric motor will always be more efficient than an ICE. I think we also agree, however, that the EV/ICE efficiency difference is typically less pronounced at higher speeds.

That said, I would rather see Olivier zipping along at 80 mph in his LEAF (in the HOV lane) than driving 60 mph in a Prius. Not using gas is a big deal!

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Camera only for backing up. I would think it would make sense to use it all the time. Get rid of the outside mirror's drag. On the other hand, it is run off the battery pack. Maybe no net gain. So then it is just a high tech toy. I really like the fact that an EV makes you pay attention to your energy use.

Man...I wish they had made a serious attempt at a commuter EV. Something with low frontal area, and good aerodynamics...one or two occupant, like people really drive. I suspect that retirees, and childless couples have more disposable income than couples with kids. The companies that have tried, all small start-ups, don't have the money or cred to succeed.

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

"Drive a gas car around all day at an average of 25 mph and report your gas mileage relative to what it gets at 60 mph. Then drive an EV at 25 mph and you'll soon see that the range increases DRAMATICALLY."

Sure. When you are averaging 25 mph, much of your time is spent stopped...when an EV uses zero energy.

· · 6 years ago

@Nick, welcome to the cat fight! Now I'm not one to go around talking out of school, but Brad... well Brad has casted aspersions on your 116 mile test drive of the LEAF. If I remember correctly (there's little chance of that happening) he called you a good for nothing hypermiler. (Collective gasp from the crowd followed by a loan voice, "get a rope") Me, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I just hate seeing your journalistic integrity called into question.

· · 6 years ago

lol

· Ernie (not verified) · 6 years ago

Jesus, 75 mph? Maybe you SoCal americans or flatlanders think that's either "reasonable" or even "slow", but in my neck of the woods the speed limit is 100 km/h, and for good reason. In the Vancouver area, typical road conditions for 8 months of the year are at least "wet and slippery" with "icy and slippery" thrown in on occasion just for kicks. Traffic congestion turns local 50 Km/h speed limits down to at least 40 Km/h by necessity for most of the day. And then there's the rest of the province, which is characterized by fairly narrow, winding highways. There are many places where highway speed limit signs quite emphatically state "70 Km/h" because taking the road much faster than that causes death once breaking through the barrier and tumbling the 300+ feet into the ravine below.

But besides that, there's so much fun stuff to do within 70 miles (and some already equipped with charge points, like campgrounds) that you'd be hard-pressed to find things to do that *require* more than 100 miles of range.

· · 6 years ago

. . . the big time difference between driving 60 and 75 mph is rarely more than a couple of minutes per trip . . ."
This is actually just an emotional rationalization for your preference to drive slowly. If I do the math, I get a totally different answer:
I drive about 70 freeway miles per day, about 200 days per year on my commute to work. At 60 mph, this means I waste about 233 hours per year on the road. At 75 mph, I only waste about 187 hours per year. By driving 15 mph faster, I save myself 46 hours or about 1 work week per year. Speed really is important for society's productivity and we need to strive to increase it, not decrease it. EVs are a way to keep increasing it as our forefathers have done but we need to find a way to do it sustainably.

· Basjoos (not verified) · 6 years ago

If they want to provide good fuel efficiency at higher speeds, they need to do a much better job of designing the car's body shape to reduce aerodynamic drag (Cd). This is especially important with EV's with their limited fuel capacities. I've done extensive aeromodding of my Honda Civic and now get low 60's mpg at 80mph where the car with its original shape would getting less than 40mpg at that speed. Over the past year my car has been averaging low 70's on a commute that is mostly interstate while still being driven at normal interstate speeds. If my car were an EV using the Leaf's propulsion system, that battery equivalent of 2.4 gallons bandied about above would give me a range of 172 miles while driving mostly 60-70 mph.

· · 6 years ago

EV1,
Can I say your 70 miles a day is to work and back home -- two trips ?
400 trips a year that "cost" your 46 hours more, or 2760 minutes.

My calculator may be off, but it says your speeding saves you 6.9 minutes a trip.
Just curiosity, how much time do you allot for lunch, and how much TV time do you watch on average a day? I ask based on the presumption that you regret time not spend in productive income generating activity.

· Jim (not verified) · 6 years ago

Basjoos, what the hell are you talking about?

· · 6 years ago

@ Warren - OK, I'll change my scenario to make my point more clear. Let's not call it "average" speed. Let's say steady 25 mph for either car. The point is that if you take aero drag out of the equation, you quickly see how much more efficient electric drive is - not just because of idle losses, though that's obviously a consideration as well. (I'll point out that all EVs do use energy while standing still, just not enough to worry about.) I'll note that if you spend a lot of time stopped in your EV, your range will NOT increase. You actually have to get somewhere to increase your range!

@ Abisile - got it. Yes, the efficiency difference is less pronounced as the aero drag gets higher. But that doesn't mean EVs become LESS efficient at higher speed (they do, but it isn't worth arguing about), just that the aero drag does the lion's share of efficiency robbing, thus lowering the EV benefit.

@ Ex-EV1 - No. It is not an emotional rationalization by any stretch. I'm not sure why you think that you and I drive the same trips?? My math is based on the reality of my driving - NOT on your insane number of driving miles. If time is so important to you, why are you wasting so much of it being unproductive on the road... at ANY speed? Time is money to you, I get that. Time is money to a lot of people. And that's why most days I don't drive a car at all. And the days I am forced to drive, I don't waste... er... spend nearly as much time as you do. For my typical trips, the unemotional, unrationalized time "savings" of speeding is just two or three minutes at most. If I am also not stopped for a ticket, and I do not get involved in a high-speed collision, I SAVE untold minutes.

@ Sagebrush - How about sleeping!? ;) Or listening to music, or vacationing, or exercising.... We all have our priorities. How to drive the fastest is not high on my list, though it sure was in my youth!

· · 6 years ago

Warren said: On the fabled flat power curve of EV. Basically, you can run a tranny with a smaller motor, and lower C battery pack, or go with a big motor, and a high C battery pack. Which is "best" depends on many factors.

Not sure I understand? My point on the flat power curve was that with electric propulsion, you get exactly what you ask for. I don't care how big the motor is or how big the battery pack is. The motor is roughly equal in efficiency at all practical speeds. And that's simply not the case for an ICE. A gas engine needs to be kept in it's sweet spot to run efficienty. An EV is always in its sweet spot.

· Jim (not verified) · 6 years ago

I know the Leaf and other EVs has range variation due to speed, climate controls, SOC ect. and that it cost more than a similar gas powered car, but I want one. Not because it is practical but because I can give the finger to the Oil companies just a little. It is at least a choice. Until the Leaf and the Volt, I had no practical choice.

· · 6 years ago

Yay Jim! Wanting to "stick it to the man" is a perfectly valid reason to purchase an EV in my book!

· CT (not verified) · 6 years ago

Wow! You guys have a lot of time on your hands. All I know is that in my neck of the woods 60 mph is not that slow when commuting to work. In fact if you are going that fast on your way to work anywhere in the Bay Area you are lucky. I must be getting old because driving on the highway is not a thrill at all for me. The only time I am thrilled is when I am in my Prius flying by Porsches, BMWs etc.. at 60 mph in the carpool lane:)

· · 6 years ago

@ Warren: the 22.8kWh that is available from the Leaf battery pack is equivalent to about 2/3 gallon of gasoline (33.7kWh = 1 gallon). This is what Nissan has programed into their car, and it should last at least as long as the 8 year warranty.

The problem with going fast on the highway is in heavy traffic, you have to slow down frequently, and if you accelerate and brake, accelerate and brake -- you use a bunch of energy, and you do not save much time at all; and worst of all, this kind of driving actually makes traffic flow worse.

Slower and steady adds very little time, uses a lot less energy -- and every traffic study I have seen shows that it yields much better traffic flow. I used to commute ~45 miles one way in very heavy traffic, and the time difference between staying at 55-60mph (when possible -- many times traffic stopped) and going 70mph is about 3-5 minutes. And slowing down and concentrating on my mileage made me much more relaxed! When driving fast, you worry about all the problems, and my blood pressure goes up when I get to worried about speed.

Driving an ICE, you can add 100-150 miles per tank when you ecodrive. I'll bet the Leaf would go from 60 miles to 85-90 if you ecodrive.

Sincerely, Neil

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Neil,

Before I lost 5th gear, I would get 34-40 mpg on my Sentra at real highway speeds. I only hope it hangs together another 8-12 months, so I get to test the Leaf's mileage for myself!

Warren

· · 6 years ago

Thanks Neil! Right on the money. I haven't even brought up the lower blood pressure of driving legal speeds.

I'm a reformed speeder. I've heard all the excuses... most of them from my own mouth. I think I even invented some of them that I hear used today. Now I have plenty of experience in speeding, and in driving at reasonalbe speeds. I can clearly see the results of both driving methods, and I've made my choice. Everybody else gets to make theirs, and we are all forced to live (hey... or die!) with the consequences.

· Jim (not verified) · 6 years ago

darelldd,
Not sure if you are kidding or not. But I am not, I would pay a premium in order to use less or no gas. I think the Volt would work great as my only car. Just saying.

· · 6 years ago

Jim -

100% serious. Please know that I'm on my third production EV. I'm still driving the Rav4EV that I paid $42,000 for (when the gas version was selling for $17,000). I power my house and my car with solar.

Yes, I stick it to the man!

Be assured that I'm not kidding, and love to hear your comments!

· Jim (not verified) · 6 years ago

darelldd,

Thats great! Some people I work with talk about the "tech will get here when the market will support it" and I get that, but there in more to it then just dollars and cents, for me.

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

darelldd,

I know about the conversion calculations for converting hydrocarbons/electricity/anything into heat. But then you have to talk about how an electric is some much more efficient, and gets the equivalent of some amazing number of miles per gallon. I think it is easier for folks to think about the fuel they have always used. I like to use 1kWh is about 1 pint...or 8 kWh to the gallon, as a rule of thumb. If you look at your car/motorcycle/whatever, you can convert it to an electric, and figure out what size battery it will need based on your normal mpg.

Warren

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Jim,

Basjoos is talking about ecomodding.

http://ecomodder.com/

Twenty years ago, I met Bryant Tucker. His Honda Civic wound put the Leaf to shame. The major car makers aren't even trying. The Leaf is like a loaf of bread compared to a rain drop. Aerodynamics.

Warren

· Steven (not verified) · 6 years ago

I hope the backup camera on the Leaf works better than the one on the Prius. As I recall, I paid extra for mine. This summer on a day-hike trip, recalling that extra outlay, I consciously decided to use the camera rather than turning around to look through the windows. Big mistake! (Actually, the consequences were minor, undetectably and easily repaired with the palm of my hand applied to the right rear fender.) There was a dead-and-down log just out of view of the camera. Another routine problem with the camera is glare.

The point of all this is: I guess the backup cameras are good for something but I haven't quite figured out what or how, exactly, to use them yet.

· · 6 years ago

Yes, Basjoos is the granddaddy ecomodder; and this project is the state of the art:

http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/honda-insight-tail-extension-p...

I *highly* recommend that you log in to read the entire thread -- here are a couple of teaser pictures:

http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/8812/img3380u.jpg
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/3943/img4266l.jpg
http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/7627/img4272c.jpg

The Insight already has a similarly elegantly constructed *full* belly pan, and he will be adding rear wheel strakes after doing tuft testing.

Sincerely, Neil

· · 6 years ago

^^
Nothing is perfect.
Use your neck. And your mirrors. And your camera. And your brain.

· · 6 years ago

I meant to say that if the Leaf was as aerodynamic as the above Insight is, I'll bet it would easily go 150 miles at highway speeds. That is at 150Wh/mile, and it might even go below that... 130Wh/mile would be 175 miles! I think the right car (i.e. one with a Cd of 0.15-0.17 or so) could even get down to 100Wh/mile -- which would be 225 miles range!

Neil

· · 6 years ago

@ Warren

I drive a 2005 Scion xA, and the first 2 1/2 years, I averaged 37MPG year round (I live in New England). Now that I have started ecodriving and done a few aerodynamic mods (grill block, wheel skirts, smooth wheel covers, video side mirrors, Kamm back), I am now averaging about 45MPG year round. Last summer, I averaged above 50MPG.

And the final drive on my car is stoopidly short: 4.31:1 yields ~3,500RPM at 65MPH in fifth gear. It really should be a 3.56:1which would drop the RPM's to ~2,800; which would still be plenty of power. I might even hit 60MPG with that?

Sincerely, Neil

· Warren (not verified) · 6 years ago

Neil,

Yes. Like the X/E/Zero-Tracer. Cd of .18 and an MPGe of 189.9-197.1 in the X-Prize. It has covered 15,500 miles driving in 71 days, from Vienna to Shanghai, and Vancouver to Cancun, in the Zero Race. Like I said, the majors aren't even trying.

Warren

· Steven (not verified) · 6 years ago

@Sagebrush
I'm going to assume this comment was @me:
Nothing is perfect.
Use your neck. And your mirrors. And your camera. And your brain.
It's too bad that last item isn't offered as an accessory. There are a lot of drivers out there who need it or, like me, keep looking for some electronic substitute.
.

· Jim (not verified) · 6 years ago

Warren, Basjoos, darelldd and NeilBlanchard:
I have gone to the web site, now I know about some of the stuff you all are talking about.
Usually when I hear someone say that they have a 35mpg car getting 70mpg I call BS. I stand corrected. I have heard of some of the modifications that are talked about on the web site. They are all fine and good, if someone has the time, tools and knowhow to make such mods. I would also agree that the one big change that many people could make for free, is to just pay attention to their driving habits. I know that in my youth I just drove fast. Now I drive with efficiently in mind and being easy on the car. I see people who just drive stupid, they are just wasting lots of fuel.

We are going to have to replace gas sooner or later, may as well be sooner. Bring on the Leaf and the Volt and many more like them.

· sjLEAF (not verified) · 6 years ago

Maybe Olivier or someone else can comment on the back-up camera--my wife's Nissan Altima hybrid has one, and it has a 4 sets of lines superimposed over the image. These lines indicate distance range to an object that appears between them, and project the right and left edges of the car in the backing direction. Does the LEAF back-up camera have same? I was so excited when I went for my test drive that I forgot to put the car in reverse and check.

Also, I'm planning to use the LEAF for a 32 mi commute (1 way) of which 28 miles is on highway. The range I get will depend on what time I leave the house--after 7:45AM I'll make it to work easily on 8 kWh I figure.

· Fanie NEETHLING (not verified) · 6 years ago

does someone know what a new battery pack will cost,and after how many miles can this be expected. ??

· · 6 years ago

@Fanie NEETHLING

The battery is under warrenty for 8 years.

Batteries don't all of a sudden stop working. What will happen is over time the battery will lose the ability to hold as much charge. At the 8 year mark - this is my guess - the battery will be someone around the 85-95% point. Meaning the battery can still hold 85-95% of it's origianl charge.

Battery cost is high right now. Probably looking at something like $10,000-$15,000. In 8 years once the batteries are being mass-produced, I wouldn't be supprised to see Leaf batteries for 5-7k.

· · 6 years ago

@Fanie NEETHLING "does someone know what a new battery pack will cost,and after how many miles can this be expected. ??"

Nissan isn't selling the battery now - so we don't know the price. Batteries are warranted for 8 years, 100K miles. I expect about 80% capacity at the end of that period - though Nissan doesn't specify that.

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