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Quite new to my Leaf; suggestions to improve range?

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Jack Stilts · · 5 years ago

I'm not thrilled with the current range I'm getting out of my there anything I can do to increase this while driving? While charging? Should I brake more? Less? Drive a certain speed on highway vs city? I suppose any suggestions would be appreciated.


· · 5 years ago

@Jack Stilts,
Unfortunately, the Leaf is a bit limited on range.
The main way to increase the range is to slow down. Above 55 mph, this will be the main use of energy as air drag increases with the velocity squared.
Reducing your use of heating and air conditioning will help a bit. Coasting instead of braking can help a bit, as can accelerating slowly.
In reality, assuming an 85% charge for maximum battery life, I find a useful range for daily driving in the Leaf of about 45 miles away from home and 40 miles back to home or a round trip of about 40 miles because I live at 2000 ft elevation. I have places to go so I drive at serious speeds and don't like to drain my battery all the way down on a daily basis. On a periodic basis, I could do full charges and dip low and probably get 60 miles away from home and about 55 back without having to slow down too much. Folks who live in the flat lands and are willing to drive slower will probably get a bit better range. If you are willing to drive 55 to 60 mph and have flat driving, you should be able to achieve the advertised 100 miles range.

· · 5 years ago

@Jack Stilts, Slowing down is the biggest boost to range, as ex-EV1 driver mentioned above. The reason is that aerodynamic drag increases as the square of velocity.

However, there are a number of other things you can do to improve range:

• Use preheating/precooling. You didn't say where you live but if you are using the cabin heater, it is a big power drain. Those of us who live in cold climates try to preheat the car while it is still plugged in then just use the steering wheel and seat heaters, which use very little power.

• Use driving techniques that "hypermilers" use to increase range: gentle acceleration, coast instead of brake where practical and safe, anticipate stops so as to slow gradually rather than use friction brakes. In the LEAF you should find it easier to drive efficiently in the Eco setting due to more gentle acceleration mapping on the pedal as well as increased regen. When slowing, whether for a stop or descending a hill, it is best to use regenerative braking and try to avoid friction brakes. If you keep the energy screen up you can watch how you are doing. You can also use the "dot" display to help you with gentle acceleration; at slower speeds try to keep acceleration to one dot.

• Take a look at the range chart put together by Tony Williams of
There is a lot of useful information about how far you can go at what speed. Factors that affect range are hills, temperature, wind, weather (rain/snow reduce range), and elevation, in addition to driving techniques mentioned above. You might want to print a copy of the chart to plan routes.

I routinely get 70-80 miles range in winter, with major elevation changes of about 2500 feet. But there are no freeways where I live and the maximum speed limit is 60 mph, so I don't deal with very high speeds and the big hit to range they cause. I also get a boost from being at high elevation (my driving is nearly all at 8000' to 5750') so that offsets some of the major hills I face every day.

· · 5 years ago

One more thing. I hesitate to mention it because it is somewhat controversial: you can increase your tire pressure. Nissan recommends 36 psi but those trying to improve mileage often use 40 or even 44 psi. In my experience, the ride and handling at 39-40 psi is fine (and I drive a lot of curvy mountain roads). Whatever you do, don't drive with your tires below 36 psi (cold, before leaving home). If you don't have a gauge and pump at home, buy them.

· · 5 years ago

You do not say how long you have had your car or how many miles you have driven it. In addition to the advice above, use Carwings to understand your driving habits. I have found that 63 mph vs 65 mph makes a difference. I also let off the accelerator well in advance of where I need to stop. Rather than applying the brakes, I use engine braking.

Today, starting with an 80% charge, I drove 56 miles with about 23 of it on the interstate at 63 mph. The trip to work I had the head lights on . Came home with the AC at 70F and parked it with 15 miles on the guess-o-meter.

· · 3 years ago

I've managed to get 72 highway miles out of my 2011 Leaf SL with a 90% charge on flat ground in fairly cold weather (30's). In warmer weather with a 100% charge I probably could have gone another 20 miles. The two biggest things you can do to increase range are, SLOW DOWN and don't use the climate controls unless you have to. If I know I'm going to go more than 50+ miles I drive at 55 MPH and wear a coat. There is big difference in range between 55 MPH and even 65 MPH. In hot weather staying cool is a bit more of a problem, but you won't have a range limitation due to a cold battery. The Leaf is really at it's best in a moderate climate.

· · 2 years ago

My suggestion is to put a gas engine into your leaf or at least carry one in the trunk as a back up (ie, see ebay item # 361199031706) This will allow you to actually charge your leaf once you reach your destination or once you reach your work site. That or plug it into to an actual electric outlet at your work (assuming it meets with your employer's approval).
All joking aside, there's not much you can do to increase the range on a nissan leaf (short of driving very slowly and I mean under 60 mph or less). And even if you were to follow every basic rule, over time the range on the nissan leaf will significantly worsen. If you drive the leaf about 50 to 75 miles daily R/T then count on about 1% loss of range for every month of vehicle ownership. In fact, it's not uncommon to see range shrink approximately 20% within 2 years of ownership. That's down to 79-82 miles range in a mere 22-24 months / max capacity compared to when your leaf was brand new at 105 miles for full capacity. In other words, in time (2-3 years) range will significantly shrink on your leaf. Count on it! A loss of 20 to 40% battery capacity / range is still considered quite normal to nissan service.

· · 2 years ago

Man, losing 1% battery per month is frightening! I feel bad for that guy. I have my leaf for 10 months and get better mileage than when I got it... On the mileage issue, I find I get the best mileage (5-5.5kw/mile) at 53 MPH. I do not use the "ECO" button, it makes you drive like an old man and have no power in an emergency. Also, I have gotten almost no decrease in mileage if I run the air conditioner at 70-72 degrees, 2 bars of blower, and the top left "recirculation" button on the control panel..

Also, I really don't care about mileage that much because I charge at a Chargepoint (FREE) station every day (which is walking distance from my work), and I drive my Leaf for FREE!

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