I've been giving a lot of thought to the fact that Nissan clearly fell short of expectations with the Leaf's range. While I blame it heavily on being oversold by the likes of my well-intentioned yet dangerous friend Paul Scott who can't keep quiet about the "100 mile range" that he gets while crawling 28 miles each day in the slow lane, in the temperate west side of LA, proudly hypermiling.
As a start, let's just look at what it means to take care of your battery. This means don't charge it to more than ~80% of capacity and don't discharge below 20%.
- This takes the 73 mile range down to 73 X 80% X 80% or 46.7 miles
Next, let's assume that after 7 years, the capacity is expected to be down to 80% of the new, maximum.
- This takes the 46.7 miles down to 46.7 X 80% or 37.4 miles for 'battery-kindness"
What this means is that if you drive the benign EPA driving cycle, you shouldn't buy a Leaf if you expect to need to drive more than 37.4 miles between charges every day. Conveniently, for me, my daily drive between charging opportunities is 37 miles :-)
The question people really want to know, however, is what normal people will get. Then the question becomes: What is normal. Let me suggest that one view of normal that Paul Scott, for example sees daily are the 99.9% of the people on I-10 that are driving faster than Paul Scott. Let me dock the range by another 80% due to driving a lot faster.
- This take the 37.4 mile battery-kind range down to 37.4 X 80% = 30 miles
Now, if you're in a place other than the California beach areas that have real temperatures, you'll need to knock it down another 10% for heavy A/C or heag
- This takes the 30 miles down to 30 X 90% = 27 miles
This also means your commute, without charging at work, needs to be less than ~13 miles each way.