Mar 15

Nissan LEAF drivers are saying range is lower than expected

 

Instead of Nissan under-promising and over-delivering on the range capability for its new all-electric LEAF, some are alleging it may have done the opposite.

At least this is the scuttlebutt from stories beginning to stack up in a LEAF discussion forum and news outlets saying LEAF drivers are experiencing “range anxiety” in fewer miles than they were led to believe they would.

And no, it is not because they attempted a coast-to-coast drive in the limited-range car, or something like that.


Stories are adding up of lower than promised range, and erratic drops in range estimates from the Nissan Leaf’s computer. (Photo courtesy of Nissan.)

As the stories are playing out, LEAF drivers are depleting battery power within the estimated allowable traveling distance, and learning the hard way what it is like to be out of juice in a world where electrical recharging stations are few and far between.

For those not familiar, the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery pack holds more charge than the 16 kWh battery in the Chevrolet Volt, but Nissan took the chance of producing its electric car without a back-up power source.

The Volt cannot travel as far in all-electric mode, but, as explained last year, it has a 1.4L gasoline engine (generator) to power the drive motor(s), allow for “extended range,” and recharge the battery.

On a full charge, Nissan has said the LEAF should be good for around 100 miles in the city up to as much as 138 miles if the driver really nurses it.

A growing feeling among some early adopters is the LEAF’s real range may be closer on average to 60-80 miles, more or less.

The U.S. EPA has also pegged the expected range at 73 miles.

But not living up to range is only part of the problem owners are describing.

The LEAF comes with a sophisticated computer to estimate range based on available battery charge, plus past data that tracked how aggressive the driver was in the past. Despite this, tales of the computer’s readout being erratic and inaccurate are also coming forth.

As reported by Jalopnik, anecdotes have included one owner who said the LEAF is good for only 50 highway miles, another who watched a 17-mile range vaporize inside of five, leaving him stranded, and a reporter who ran out of power – and then posted an unflattering but pithy commentary on the Wall Street Journal’s Web site (see video below).

Fortunately, the reporter was able to take advantage of free towing that Nissan offers LEAF owners who run the car out of power.

Nissan released the LEAF this winter and has only reported 154 units sold in January and February combined. Its battery is not climate controlled as is the battery in the Volt.

Regardless of mounting anecdotal evidence, in question is whether problems will be shown to be faults of the car or driver or both.

Even with a computer second guessing driver patterns, range will vary depending in part on how hard and fast the car is driven.

For now the jury is out, but we’d surmise dramatic accounts of being stranded in busy traffic cannot be helpful to sales, as people are often swayed by perception.

Presently Nissan has all the pre-orders it can handle at an estimated 20,000.

In light of our story yesterday centered around a wide-spread lack of knowledge of electric vehicles, it would not be surprising to learn in time whether some of the early enthusiasm for the LEAF, at least by some, was not based on full information.

But thus far Nissan has not said it has withheld any facts.

In response to the range issues, a Nissan spokesperson said “isolated incidents” experienced by some LEAF drivers do not represent a trend.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at 4:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 109


  1. 1
    nuclearboy

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:46 am)

    My middle school aged son has been saying for the last year that when he learns to drive it will be in an electric car because I have been saying that my next car will be electric. Just the other day he quizzed me some more about the cars and it came up that you could only go 60 to 100 miles in an electric and then you had to charge it for many hours.

    His response was a complete let down. He was visibly upset like I was misleading him on electric cars. His next question was, who would ever want one.

    Of course I explained that some people can live with that but for us, we would have a backup engine to make sure we never get stuck.

    His initial response to the pure electrics, however, was right on target.


  2. 2
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:49 am)

    The credibility of any electrical engineer is inversely proportional to how many times he/she uses the word “should”. It is their main form of denial when they have a bad habit of under promising by remaining silent, and under delivering when the buyer has not had their expectations properly clarified as to what they are spending all that money on in the first place.

    Judge Judy would admonish litigants with a terse “shoulda, woulda, coulda” “you can’t fool me”, “cuz I gotta mind like a steel trap”!!

    On the other hand, if only GM would green light a sixty mile electric range option for us very high annual mileage drivers,

    “It would be all over”,

    because your electric range would be 90 percent of your 24,000 annual miles by plugging in each night at 240 volts. 60 miles electric range would be the most we would ever need. Cuz the generator takes you another 300 on gasoline for a long trip.


  3. 3
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:53 am)

    On June 12, Lyle reported the real life testing of the Leaf provided a wide range of mileage from 47 to 138 Miles. Imagine the owner getting in the car one morning and expecting the car to have a 100 mile range, then end up with only 50.

    A pure EV is not yet practical in this country. I really want the Leaf to succeed, but we are not ready. Charging stations are too far apart, or non existent.
    Naureen Malik did a very nice job of covering her issue. I completely agree with her. I’m not ready for it either. The Volt is the right car at the right time.


  4. 4
    Raymondjram

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:02 am)

    My wife asks me about the range of EVs, and I explained that for now, it is more of an urban vehicle, especially for city drivers that travel less than 50 total miles per day. I live less than 500 feet from a large shopping mall (I walk there often) , but my wife doesn’t dare cross the avenue on foot, so she drives our Equinox and spends more time idling and slowly looking for a parking space than the actual travel. This is why I wish to buy an EV so we can use pure electric power for short trips, use no energy while waiting or little energy at slow speeds.

    The Leaf can fulfill this need for us and for many city dwellers, especially in New York City (my birthplace), but the woman reporter in the video had to travel many miles before entering the city, and that is the factor that excludes most EVs, including the Leaf, from becoming a useful vehicle. Only hybrids and EREVs (like the Chevy Volt) can qualify for her type of driving, where the EV range could be lesser, but the onboard charger can extend her range.

    I know that this report, as good as she did it, will affect future EV buyers, but GM and other EV manufacturers must show what their vehicle can really do well and provide more EV education. Like the acceptance of gas vehicles during the 20th century (that was only ten years and three monts ago!), we now have to begin the acceptance of a different vehicle for our future.

    I prefer domestic over import EVs, like the Leaf, but any EV that fails will give a bad promotion to all EVs. Nissan must correct their marketing, educate their drivers, and show more sense on how to sell and use EVs. I do hope Ford does better with their EVs this year!

    Raymond


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    ziv

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:05 am)

    I would love to be able to drive all my miles using American electricity, but it might be the Leaf II before I can do that reliably. Or maybe the Ford Focus Electric will have a longer, more reliable range than the Leaf. Coming to the game a year behind the Leaf gives Ford the chance to do it right.
    But the Volt gives me the ability to drive 90% of my miles using electricity while never leafing me stranded. That seems like a no brainer, if the Volt was below $30k after tax credit.
    Come on GM! Lets work on that MSRP!


  6. 6
    Tim Jenkins

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:07 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    TheChevyVoltBlog@Blogspot.com

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:16 am)

    I agree with Dan, a sixty mile range Volt would be great. 20 40 60 Done.


  8. 8
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:21 am)

    Tim Jenkins:
    Sounds like the new GM-Volt unlike Lyle’s wants us all to dislike the Leaf.

    How do you figure? I offered a more neutral assessment than a few others who reported this, and added possible explanations for why the LEAF owners have said what they did.

    I qualified “the jury is out.”

    In case you are still led to believe I am biased, I’ll state unequivocally: The LEAF is what it is. The market will decide, and time will tell.

    -Jeff


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    PatsVolt

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:24 am)

    Buying a pure EV requires some real thought, because it has some REAL limitations that will affect how it can be used. The Volt on the other hand gives the buyer lots of flexibility on how the car is usedl. Not much thought required as it matches most of the conditions here in this country. If you are a person that will never charge the Volt, then it is not the car for you. But I think that most people to understand the how and why of the Volt. The leaf will work for a limited number of people who may prefer to own two cars to fit there needs. It is difficult for the leaf to fit all transportion needs. Two big needs have to be filled for pure EV to succeed, one fast charging infrostuctur, and batteries that can withstand fast charging for a full life time of use.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:50 am)

    Jeff Cobb: How do you figure? I offered a more neutral assessment than a few others who reported this, and added possible explanations for why the LEAF owners have said what they did.

    Jeff, don’t pay attention to stupid stuff like this. If he bothered to read the entire article, he would have noticed your, “For now the jury is out“. Thanks for a great article. I truly do hope the Leaf is successful. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. My concern is this: If the Leaf gets a lot of negative press, will that negative press bleed over to the Volt? I would bet it will and that could hurt sales of the Volt. Like you said, “…people are often swayed by perception“. I’ll add, ‘reality just gets in the way of that’.


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    joe

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:00 am)

    Jeff Cobb,

    The CEO of Nissan must have been dreaming when he announced Nissan would sell zillions of Leafs. Over promising and under-delivering has compounded the problem even more.


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    Tim J

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:01 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:02 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Jeff, don’t pay attention to stupid stuff like this.If he bothered to read the entire article, he would have noticed your, “For now the jury is out“.Thanks for a great article. I truly do hope the Leaf is successful.I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.My concern is this: If the Leaf gets a lot of negative press, will that negative press bleed over to the Volt?I would bet it will and that could hurt sales of the Volt.Like you said, “…people are often swayed by perception“.I’ll add, ‘reality just gets in the way of that’.

    Thanks Rashiid. Of course you are right.

    When I came here a little over two weeks ago, I had only reader feedback to guide me, and talking to Lyle since helped too.

    I’ll have more to say regarding the editorial vision soon enough, but if it’s not apparent, I’m trying to add quality, and stay true to what GM-Volt has been, while looking to where it can go.

    As for the LEAF, I offered some explanations because yes, it is a perception problem that will have to be faced.

    The WSJ online site is ranked #219 by Alexa, thus it gets enormous amounts of traffic. The story is already out.

    Every day, it may be hit or miss, but I try to come up with something newsworthy for this site, and try to stay fair minded.


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    Mitch

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:10 am)

    Tim Jenkins: Sounds like the new GM-Volt unlike Lyle’s wants us all to dislike the Leaf.

    Au contraire mon frère..

    As often covered, the differences good and bad of any BEV / PHEV /EREV are often discussed. You can see some not so glamourous posts here onthe Volt.

    the Leaf being seen as the alternative to the Volt for those desiring a pure BEV is often a talking point here. As news (good or bad) gets onthe site re: Volt, I find Jeff’s article regarding the trend of feelings from Leaf OWNERS and FORUMS (not simply created from thin air ) timely.

    It fills my need for information on my choices. Good article Jeff.


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    MichaelH

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:14 am)

    Mitch,

    Ditto. Moving right along . . . 8-)


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    Yea

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:18 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:19 am)

    joe:
    Jeff Cobb,

    The CEO of Nissan must have been dreaming when he announced Nissan would sell zillions of Leafs. Over promising and under-delivering has compounded the problem even more.

    I think he is an optimist, and he is closer to the issues facing his dream.

    To make it more possible, quite a few things will need to happen to make it come true – technologically, culturally, and society wide.

    Compared to the electric Ford Focus, the LEAF has a 3.3 kW charger, instead of a 6.6, and its battery is not climate controlled. Another pro-EV source attempted to explain the range issues, and got some to confess they flat ran the battery low – but even then said range in cold weather may be lower, leaving the question open about Nissan’s real range potential. Others have said Nissan knows it should have installed a more powerful charger.

    If this is true, Nissan better hope people buy the Gen 1 car anyway, and where feasible, it will want to adapt and improve the design as soon as possible.


  18. 18
    Mark Z

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:22 am)

    Nissan should notify all their customers who have an order about the true range of the Leaf and the details about those who experienced difficulties. This will allow future owners to change their mind or plan for more charge infrastructure in their daily drive. Adding the ability to charge at work could eliminate range anxiety for those who are dreaming of their 75 mile round trip commute. The Leaf must NOT be an experiment for owners, but rather a perfect solution for measured and known driving distances. GM was very selective of who could buy during the EV-1 years. Nissan needs to have the same diligence to assure customer satisfaction.


  19. 19
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:24 am)

    Mitch: Au contraire mon frère..

    As often covered, the differences good and bad of any BEV / PHEV /EREV are often discussed. You can see some not so glamourous posts here onthe Volt.

    the Leaf being seen as the alternative to the Volt for those desiring a pure BEV is often a talking point here. As news (good or bad) gets onthe site re: Volt, I find Jeff’s article regarding the trend of feelings from Leaf OWNERS and FORUMS (not simply created from thin air ) timely.

    It fills my need for information on my choices. Good article Jeff.

    As an administrator, I see both TJs have absolutely bogus email addresses, which leads me to believe these are spammers.

    I am not the one who does not want this site to succeed, and my real name is on the line every day.

    We like free discussion around here, and different opinions are good for all when brought with intellectual honesty. Blatantly negative comments may need moderation however, if their intention is perceived only to tear down and disrupt.


  20. 20
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:35 am)

    Tim Jenkins:
    I loved the article, I don’t think it was biased at all!

    I’m also for moderation of comments, I think China has it right.

    So your e-mail address is now “Jeff@Cobb.com?”

    Goodbye.


  21. 21
    Lyle

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:42 am)

    I have long believed the Volt will far outsell the LEAF.

    Regardless of its range variability there will be those who use the LEAF to its fullest and enjoy a life completely without gasoline. Those will be highly motivated and educated people with limited driving needs. Others not so well prepared will find themselves disappointed with the LEAF.

    The Volt however will appeal to all and work for everyone. I have just passed 2000 miles on my personal Volt and have used about 12 gallons of gas. I continue as always to love the car.

    I think Jeff is doing a great job – writing daily Volt articles isn’t easy – but can be a lot of fun.

    My advice – don’t go toe to toe with trolls – hit the down vote button instead – that’s what it’s there for.


  22. 22
    gmtx2652

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:02 am)

    From the article:

    “The Volt cannot travel as far in all-electric mode, but, as explained last year, it has a 1.4L gasoline engine (generator) to power the drive motor(s), allow for “extended range,” and recharge the battery.”

    The gasoline engine (generator) doesn’t recharge the battery to my knowledge. Can’t recall a specific article, but I think GM didn’t intend this due to the efficiency of electric (plug-in) charging. Good article, just wanted to mention this. Corrections/comments welcome.


  23. 23
    MichaelH

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:46 am)

    Lyle: My advice – dont go toe to toe with trolls – hit the down vote button instead – that’s what its there for

    In other words, PDNFTT. ;-)

    Good to see your post, Lyle. (My Volt is almost “here,” about 1-1/2 weeks out.)


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    jeffhre

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:47 am)

    gmtx2652:
    From the article:

    “The Volt cannot travel as far in all-electric mode, but, as explained last year, it has a 1.4L gasoline engine (generator) to power the drive motor(s), allow for “extended range,” and recharge the battery.”

    The gasoline engine (generator) doesn’t recharge the battery to my knowledge.Can’t recall a specific article, but I think GM didn’t intend this due to the efficiency of electric (plug-in) charging.Good article, just wanted to mention this.Corrections/comments welcome.

    Yes, The Volt is designed to maximize electricity use from the plug when driving fully electric and recharging at the plug. And maximize MPG’s when in charge sustaining mode. That is coincidentally why there is no mode (like on the Ampera) that runs the engine continuously until the car reaches a zero emission or congestion management zone.


  25. 25
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (10:54 am)

    MichaelH: PDNFTT

    I think this is good advice. I will say last week we noticed a troll, and Lyle did moderate him at that time.

    Won’t feed them, but don’t really need them.

    Going toe to toe however, is not what I want to do either. Doing the best I can here, and learning as I go.

    If anyone has disagreements, that’s fine. I’ll hope you folks reading this will vote accordingly.

    Thank you. It’s been great so far writing for such an engaged group as this has been the past couple of weeks.

    -Jeff


  26. 26
    Randy Cobb

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (11:06 am)

    The Volt can charge it’s battery from the Engine however. In Mountain Mode the Battery can go from depleted to having some range, I’m not sure how much but I’d guess at least 5 miles. Someone with a Volt could probably answer this question.


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    Truman

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (11:25 am)

    “Range anxiety gave way to range panic”

    Classic.


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    Mitch

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    gmtx2652: From the article:“The Volt cannot travel as far in all-electric mode, but, as explained last year, it has a 1.4L gasoline engine (generator) to power the drive motor(s), allow for “extended range,” and recharge the battery.” The gasoline engine (generator) doesn’t recharge the battery to my knowledge. Can’t recall a specific article, but I think GM didn’t intend this due to the efficiency of electric (plug-in) charging. Good article, just wanted to mention this. Corrections/comments welcome.

    The ICE drives a generator to deliver power to the the battery and then the electric motor. It can be included in the gear set to improve overall efficiency at certain speeds, but it does NOT drive the wheels. It is there to drive the generator. The main drive for the Volt is Electric.

    This allows the battery to be a buffer when the Ice is on and to cycle more efficiently (to my knowledge) it will not RECHARGE the bettery, but at low power draw, the Ice runs and excess power can be stored and drawn upon (when the generator is insufficient )(briefly) the excess charge allowing the ICE to remain inthe “sweet spot” at a certain limit, the ICE turns off.


  29. 29
    Noel Park

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Blatantly negative comments may need moderation however, if their intention is perceived only to tear down and disrupt.

    #18

    Hey it’s the blogosphere. it’s all part of the fun. Just ignore them on the principle of PDNFTT. If they’re already “off the island”, I just never click to view and give them an automatic additional “-1″ to help keep them there. It gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling, kind of like driving a stake through their hearts, LOL. History proves that they go away on their own if you ignore them long enough.

    You are doing a great job. Just ignore the static (sorry statik!) and go ahead on. +1


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:41 pm)

    I knew tow trucks were going to love the Leaf. A car with a 25 mile radius will be niche for people that have multiple cars or drive short distances and not too often. At their current state, I only place them slightly more advanced than an NEV.


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    nasaman

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    Lyle: I have long believed the Volt will far outsell the LEAF.

    Regardless of its range variability there will be those who use the LEAF to its fullest and enjoy a life completely without gasoline. Those will be highly motivated and educated people with limited driving needs. Others not so well prepared will find themselves disappointed with the LEAF.

    The Volt however will appeal to all and work for everyone. I have just passed 2000 miles on my personal Volt and have used about 12 gallons of gas. I continue as always to love the car.

    I think Jeff is doing a great job – writing daily Volt articles isn’t easy – but can be a lot of fun.

    Truman: “Range anxiety gave way to range panic” (quote from the lady journalist stranded while test driving a Leaf in NYC)

    Classic.

    Great to hear from you, Lyle. Good comments, as always! (And nice to hear from Jeff that you’ve done a bit of volunteer moderating for us —thanks!)

    And Truman, your comment “Classic” harks back to the common sense, right-to-the-point style of your namesake, Harry Truman.


  32. 32
    Noel Park

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    My vast experience driving my Volt – since last Friday afternoon, LOL – has already taught me that the electric range available changes very quickly depending on driving conditions. I started out from home yesterday showing 41 miles of AER. I drove 33 miles and arrived at work showing 14 miles of AER remaining. I charged the battery at work and left with 41 miles of AER again showing. I drove home along the exact reverse of the route and arrived at home with 4 miles of AER remaining. The difference is the 1000 feet of elevation loss/gain along the route.

    I have also noticed that the AER drops dramatically when driving 70-75 mph on the freeway. Aero drag is alive and well.

    And this is all in nice mild SoCal temperatures in the 50s and 60s with no use of heater or AC. And no loss of battery capacity due to cold weather. Put those variables into the mix and the range predictions get even more iffy IMHO.

    So it’s no surprise to me that Leaf owners get in trouble if they count too strongly on what the dash display is showing them. The cars are pretty smart, but no car is that smart. If the driver does not stay aware of what driving conditions and terrain are doing to his or her range, they will come up short pretty quickly.

    I think that we have all known from day 1 that “range anxiety” is real, and that the range extended electric vehicle is the answer. That’s why we’re here. I agree with Rashiid that poor old Carlos seems to have gotten a little bit to far ahead of the curve.

    The good news is that, if I keep my wits about me ( getting harder every day, LMAO), I can do my commute with NO GAS!!! Very cool, again IMHO.


  33. 33
    Noel Park

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    kdawg: At their current state, I only place them slightly more advanced than an NEV.

    #28

    Yup. +1


  34. 34
    Steve

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (12:52 pm)

    This isn’t a surprise to me.


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    nasaman

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    Noel Park: I agree with Rashiid that poor old Carlos seems to have gotten a little bit to far ahead of the curve.

    Noel Park:

    kdawg: At their current state, I only place them slightly more advanced than an NEV.

    #28

    Yup. +1

    Right on both counts, Noel! Glad you’re enjoying your Volt —how ’bout a photo?

    Regarding Carlos, decision makers are sometimes most dangerous after a long period of success.
    For Carlos, it must have involved becoming a billionaire —so his own sense of infallibility may have caused him to overrule Nissan’s engineers. It happened to us at NASA too, when engineers gave Challenger a “NO GO” for launch on Jan 28, ’86, but Top NASA & contractor brass overruled them. :(


  36. 36
    omnimoeish

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:02 pm)

    LOL, I would never go on a 75 mile round trip in a LEAF. I totally called this. They’re having this many stranded people with a few hundred total sales to mainly the most hard core EV savvy customers. Also, this lady is a moron because regenerative brakes doesn’t increase your range, it only makes it not waste as much as regular braking. That is a huge misconception.

    I can’t wait to see when hundreds of thousands of these people that think BEVs run on hydrogen get their hands on these and think they’re some kind of perpetual motion machine. There’s still people so stupid they don’t realize they need to put gas in their own Prius according to a Toyota salesmen I talked to and they bring them into the shop wondering what’s wrong with them.


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    LauraM

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:05 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: As an administrator, I see both TJs have absolutely bogus email addresses, which leads me to believe these are spammers.

    I am not the one who does not want this site to succeed, and my real name is on the line every day

    Unfortunately, there’s been a troll problem here for a very long time.. I’m not sure what their deal is. If you can figure out a way to moderate them, so much the better.

    You’re doing a great job. Even the trolls can see that. Which is probably why they’re back.


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    Noel Park

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    nasaman: Regarding Carlos, decision makers are sometimes most dangerous after a long period of success.

    #33

    I have all the respect in the world for Carlos Ghosn, as I have said her many times before. What he did with Nissan was little short of a miracle IMHO. But I fear that you are exactly right in this case. What ‘s the famous quote about “He started believing his own press clippings”?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    In order to get electric drivetrains to the masses, the batteries need to be cheaper. In order to get the batteries cheaper, they need to start selling units.. In order to sell units they need to eliminate the nightmare scenario from the video above. No one wants to be ‘that guy’ who’s blocking traffic on a busy street. We simply won’t want to buy a car where that’s a probability driving the distances we have gotten used to. The Volt is the right car, at the right time! Great balls of steel to build this car when no one said it would work. It will be the game-changer and begin the irreversible transition towards electric drive.

    I hope the gen2 Volt really goes for the gold. 40 miles for 40k? How about 60 miles for 30k? I think the range extender will be a fixture until we can get 250 miles of battery for under 30k.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    LauraM: You’re doing a great job. Even the trolls can see that. Which is probably why they’re back.

    #35

    Good point. +1

    My mother always used to say “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Maybe “Trolling is the sincerest form of flattery”, or something like that applies here?

    I’ve always thought that they worked for Toyota’s PR consultants, LOL.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    The Leaf isn’t a car that one wants to push to the limit. It’s a local run-a-bout that will perform beautifully within 30 miles of home. Which is actually a pretty good area. A recharge to full in less than 5 hours from a reserve of 18 miles is respectable.

    70 miles gained / 4.5 hours = 15+ miles per hour recharge @ 240V

    Here’s a recent photo of Volt #555. It’s doing great and is a pleasure to drive on a daily basis.

    Volt555plate.jpg?t=1300208536


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    Raymondjram: The Leaf can fulfill this need for us and for many city dwellers, especially in New York City (my birthplace), but the woman reporter in the video had to travel many miles before entering the city,

    Until they fix that range estimator, they need to stay out of New York City. We have a lot of congestion, and one lane streets. The last thing we need is BEVs running out of power in the middle of the street, blocking them for a least a half an hour until a tow truck arrives.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    APC: Great balls of steel to build this car when no one said it would work. It will be the game-changer and begin the irreversible transition towards electric drive.

    #37

    Amen brother, preach on! +1


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:14 pm)

    Dave K.: Here’s a recent photo of Volt #555. It’s doing great and is a pleasure to drive on a daily basis.

    #39

    COOL LICENSE PLATE!!!!

    +1, just because I can’t give you +100, LOL.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:23 pm)

    I’ve sat quiet long enough (someone on the internet is wrong…:). I am a LEAF owner.

    When charging to 80% (a move to increase the battery life), we are seeing a range of around 70-80 miles (a mix of freeway, around town, and hills). Yes, this is an anecdote, but then most of the “facts” presented above are also.

    Driving at 70 mph down the freeway saps the range, as it does in a conventional car. Lower temperatures don’t really seem to have much of an impact (and we’ve gotten down to 20degF since we got the car) – I would guess it is about 5-10 miles on really cold days due to heater usage.

    We haven’t run out of battery power. We know the limitations of the car (range-wise) and plan accordingly. Five days a week, the car does about 30 miles a day (20 mile commute, 10 miles misc.). On the weekends we go farther, but still haven’t bumped into any limitations. I live in a spread-out community of about 150,000.

    We charge overnight, so the current charger is fine (although a faster charger would be good for folks that opportunity charge during the day).

    We have another car (minivan) for long trips. Since we’ve got the LEAF, this car has been driven less than 200 miles, while we’ve got almost 1400 miles on the LEAF.

    In short – different strokes for different folks. I understand other people need a car that can do it all, or they don’t have a place for a charging dock, etc. For a second car, the LEAF works great.

    As for the Barron’s reporter, she kept on driving for 20+ miles after the car indicated low battery. When you do this in a regular car, it runs out of gas – why the surprise and snarky comments? Nissan has a toll free number for situations like this – why wait until the battery is completely dead to call? As a last-ditch effort, the car comes with a 120V EVSE that will charge the battery (albeit at a very slow rate). This seems more like a stunt to me.

    Nissan has advertised 100 miles of range, with the caveat that this is run on the LA4 cycle – it’s mostly around town stop-and-go, not driving down the freeway in the fast lane. Anecdotally, people driving down the freeway (at 60-70 mph) seem to be getting 50-60 miles of range. It’s a communications problem, but it is very much like the mpg of the Volt – it depends on how you drive it.

    The LEAF isn’t for everyone. Like I said above, I have two cars. When I want to go to the big city (3 hours+ one way), I’m not taking the LEAF. When I want to go to the grocery store (3 miles), I take the LEAF.

    From my perspective, range anxiety is about as real as the boogyman. Something to frighten small kids with, but disappears when you use your noodle. Yes, I can’t drive to Las Vegas on a whim – but I also don’t buy any gas, worry about any maintenance, or spit anything out the back end (I live in the Pacific Northwest – about as clean as it gets on power generation).

    Greg


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:27 pm)

    i dont know why should congress subsidize the nissan leaf car which doesnt even promise a suitable range.nissan just jumped the gun on electric cars unlike GM which nearly took 3 yrs to make the car a perfect hybrid.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    nasaman: Regarding Carlos, decision makers are sometimes most dangerous after a long period of success.
    For Carlos, it must have involved becoming a billionaire —so his own sense of infallibility may have caused him to overrule Nissan’s engineers. It happened to us at NASA too, when engineers gave Challenger a “NO GO” for launch on Jan 28, ’86, but Top NASA & contractor brass overruled them.

    Carlos is, IMHO, a visionary and a risk taker. Like Steve Jobs. We need visionaries like them to take risks and make big investments. Unfortunately, those don’t always work out.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    I’M BACK FROM JURY DUTY!!!

    GUILTY ON MURDER 1!
    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/03/11/3466570/monk-mobb-pair-convicted-of-murder.html#disqus_thread

    OK, back on topic. did anyone say at what SOC they were at before they took off for their drive? I have a feeling it’s the computer calculating the wrong distance/range.
    Why?
    Glad you asked….
    The LEAF’s batt pack is larger than 24KWh and has a “crippled mode” when low in battery.
    Can’t recall the users article at this point. So my guess is the computer is showing incorrect range.

    JMHO


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    Greg P: From my perspective, range anxiety is about as real as the boogyman. Something to frighten small kids with, but disappears when you use your noodle.

    Most people are not going to want to have to plan their lives around their car’s limitations, IMHO. True, if you have two cars, you can generally plan accordingly. And some really dedicated people will do so. But it’s a lot easier to just buy a Volt and not have to think about it.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    Also, this aint no big surprise to me. It was bound to happen. Especially when it’s a reporter looking (making?) for a story.

    /expect one for the volt when they “forget” to put gas in it.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    Greg P: I’ve sat quiet long enough (someone on the internet is wrong…:). I am a LEAF owner.When charging to 80% (a move to increase the battery life), we are seeing a range of around 70-80 miles (a mix of freeway, around town, and hills). Yes, this is an anecdote, but then most of the “facts” presented above are also.Driving at 70 mph down the freeway saps the range, as it does in a conventional car. Lower temperatures don’t really seem to have much of an impact (and we’ve gotten down to 20degF since we got the car) – I would guess it is about 5-10 miles on really cold days due to heater usage.We haven’t run out of battery power. We know the limitations of the car (range-wise) and plan accordingly. Five days a week, the car does about 30 miles a day (20 mile commute, 10 miles misc.). On the weekends we go farther, but still haven’t bumped into any limitations. I live in a spread-out community of about 150,000.We charge overnight, so the current charger is fine (although a faster charger would be good for folks that opportunity charge during the day).We have another car (minivan) for long trips. Since we’ve got the LEAF, this car has been driven less than 200 miles, while we’ve got almost 1400 miles on the LEAF.In short – different strokes for different folks. I understand other people need a car that can do it all, or they don’t have a place for a charging dock, etc. For a second car, the LEAF works great. As for the Barron’s reporter, she kept on driving for 20+ miles after the car indicated low battery. When you do this in a regular car, it runs out of gas – why the surprise and snarky comments? Nissan has a toll free number for situations like this – why wait until the battery is completely dead to call? As a last-ditch effort, the car comes with a 120V EVSE that will charge the battery (albeit at a very slow rate). This seems more like a stunt to me.Nissan has advertised 100 miles of range, with the caveat that this is run on the LA4 cycle – it’s mostly around town stop-and-go, not driving down the freeway in the fast lane. Anecdotally, people driving down the freeway (at 60-70 mph) seem to be getting 50-60 miles of range. It’s a communications problem, but it is very much like the mpg of the Volt – it depends on how you drive it.The LEAF isn’t for everyone. Like I said above, I have two cars. When I want to go to the big city (3 hours+ one way), I’m not taking the LEAF. When I want to go to the grocery store (3 miles), I take the LEAF.From my perspective, range anxiety is about as real as the boogyman. Something to frighten small kids with, but disappears when you use your noodle. Yes, I can’t drive to Las Vegas on a whim – but I also don’t buy any gas, worry about any maintenance, or spit anything out the back end (I live in the Pacific Northwest – about as clean as it gets on power generation).Greg

    I agree with almost everything Greg says except the range anxiety. This is not about Volt verses Leaf, I believe one compliments the other. There are a number of factors that govern range, as such, it will take time to learn how to juggle these variables. In the meantime some will run out of juice. It is not the car’s fault, like pilots, drivers need to understand their vehicles and drive in an intelligent manner. By the way, I’ve only seen two posting of Leaf drivers running out of power, so it would be wrong to believe this is a widespread problem.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    Greg P:
    I’ve sat quiet long enough (someone on the internet is wrong…:).I am a LEAF owner.

    When charging to 80% (a move to increase the battery life), we are seeing a range of around 70-80 miles (a mix of freeway, around town, and hills).Yes, this is an anecdote, but then most of the “facts” presented above are also.

    Driving at 70 mph down the freeway saps the range, as it does in a conventional car.Lower temperatures don’t really seem to have much of an impact (and we’ve gotten down to 20degF since we got the car) – I would guess it is about 5-10 miles on really cold days due to heater usage.

    We haven’t run out of battery power.We know the limitations of the car (range-wise) and plan accordingly.Five days a week, the car does about 30 miles a day (20 mile commute, 10 miles misc.).On the weekends we go farther, but still haven’t bumped into any limitations.I live in a spread-out community of about 150,000.

    We charge overnight, so the current charger is fine (although a faster charger would be good for folks that opportunity charge during the day).

    We have another car (minivan) for long trips.Since we’ve got the LEAF, this car has been driven less than 200 miles, while we’ve got almost 1400 miles on the LEAF.

    In short – different strokes for different folks.I understand other people need a car that can do it all, or they don’t have a place for a charging dock, etc.For a second car, the LEAF works great.

    As for the Barron’s reporter, she kept on driving for 20+ miles after the car indicated low battery.When you do this in a regular car, it runs out of gas – why the surprise and snarky comments?Nissan has a toll free number for situations like this – why wait until the battery is completely dead to call?As a last-ditch effort, the car comes with a 120V EVSE that will charge the battery (albeit at a very slow rate).This seems more like a stunt to me.

    Nissan has advertised 100 miles of range, with the caveat that this is run on the LA4 cycle – it’s mostly around town stop-and-go, not driving down the freeway in the fast lane.Anecdotally, people driving down the freeway (at 60-70 mph) seem to be getting 50-60 miles of range.It’s a communications problem, but it is very much like the mpg of the Volt – it depends on how you drive it.

    The LEAF isn’t for everyone.Like I said above, I have two cars.When I want to go to the big city (3 hours+ one way), I’m not taking the LEAF.When I want to go to the grocery store (3 miles), I take the LEAF.

    From my perspective, range anxiety is about as real as the boogyman.Something to frighten small kids with, but disappears when you use your noodle.Yes, I can’t drive to Las Vegas on a whim – but I also don’t buy any gas, worry about any maintenance, or spit anything out the back end (I live in the Pacific Northwest – about as clean as it gets on power generation).

    Greg

    Bravo GregOOOO!!!!!

    I agree totally. One thing this person doesn’t mention is that the LEAF told them when your range is low AND the telematics shows you where the next closest charge port is. Nowhere does it mention they attempted to get to the next closest charge port, nor did they pull over as you can see in the picture. Unlike a ICE car, the LEAF has the crippled mode to get you off the street but only if you are smart enough to use it.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (1:58 pm)

    Noel Park: #39

    COOL LICENSE PLATE!!!!

    +1, just because I can’t give you +100, LOL.

    I think it shouldda been “NPNS 69″ myself. :-)


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    Greg!
    Excellent to hear from a real Leaf owner. No car has an unlimited range – it’s just a matter of what, where and when you re-fuel.
    I wonder why your Leaf doesn’t seem to be affected by temperature, and my Volt with all that thermal management stuff is. Maybe my range is decreased in the cold because of the TMS operating?!


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (2:40 pm)

    gmtx2652: The gasoline engine (generator) doesn’t recharge the battery to my knowledge. Can’t recall a specific article, but I think GM didn’t intend this due to the efficiency of electric (plug-in) charging. Good article, just wanted to mention this. Corrections/comments welcome.

    That is not entirely true. If you drive the Volt in Normal mode until it switches to CS Mode you can charge the battery back to about 12-13 miles by putting the Volt in Mountain mode.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    hamchief:
    Greg!
    Excellent to hear from a real Leaf owner. No car has an unlimited range – it’s just a matter of what, where and when you re-fuel.
    I wonder why your Leaf doesn’t seem to be affected by temperature, and my Volt with all that thermal management stuff is. Maybe my range is decreased in the cold because of the TMS operating?!

    We do see a difference, just not the dramatic swings others are talking about. I suspect it is due to several things:

    - We almost always preheat the car in the morning (while it is connected to the charging dock). This obviously means the car and heater are warmed up and ready to go, lowering the load on the battery.

    - The car is charged in the garage, so the lowest temperatures seem to be about 40-45degF, even when it is really cold outside. If I understand correctly, charging temperature is supposed to have an effect on how much you can put back into the battery.

    - I also suspect Lithium-ion (as a general statement) batteries are less affected by colder temperatures than other battery types (like NiCad, lead-acid), but this doesn’t explain any difference between LEAF and Volt. My daughter’s science fair project backs this up (although it was with AA batteries, so still Lithium but different chemistry again).

    Consumer Reports really dinged the heater in the Volt – maybe it has to work harder? I am really guessing here – I haven’t seen a Volt yet, much less ridden in one. People in SoCal have complained about the LEAF heater, but it works fine for us (even on really cold days), so maybe this is a matter of perception.

    Greg


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (3:36 pm)

    Noel Park: I think that we have all known from day 1 that “range anxiety” is real, and that the range extended electric vehicle is the answer. That’s why we’re here. I agree with Rashiid that poor old Carlos seems to have gotten a little bit to far ahead of the curve.

    The good news is that, if I keep my wits about me ( getting harder every day, LMAO), I can do my commute with NO GAS!!! Very cool, again IMHO.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your Volt. Are the air conditioner and the radio still giving you problems?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (3:54 pm)

    LauraM: I’m glad you’re enjoying your Volt. Are the air conditioner and the radio still giving you problems?

    #55

    Thanks. +1 I’m sure it’s just a generational sort of technology resistance, LOL.

    I spend a few minutes every day sitting in the drivers seat with the owner’s manual trying to puzzle it all out. I’ve got the radio pretty well figured out. The XM/Sirius is great. The air conditioning and heated seats have come on a few times seemingly of their own accord, LOL. Boy, your butt gets really warm in a hurry when that happens. Today I somehow managed to fumble around and get it into “sport” mode, which reduced the predicted AER from 47 miles to 26 miles! But a few more minutes of fumbling, and a few near collisions, got me back to normal.

    I have to confess that i find myself longing for the CaptJack no frills version, but I know that I’m not the target generation, so I guess I’ll have to discipline myself to figure it out enough to get in a comfort zone.

    That said, the EREV part of it, which is the point of it after all, seems to be performing exactly as envisioned, atr least hee in temperate SoCAl. So what’s to complain?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:01 pm)

    Noel Park: I have to confess that i find myself longing for the CaptJack no frills version, but I know that I’m not the target generation, so I guess I’ll have to discipline myself to figure it out enough to get in a comfort zone.

    Well, I am the target generation, but I hate a lot of those frills. All they do is make operating things more complicated. There are some “frills” that are lifesavers though, so I guess it’s worth it.

    Noel Park: That said, the EREV part of it, which is the point of it after all, seems to be performing exactly as envisioned, atr least hee in temperate SoCAl. So what’s to complain?

    Well, that is the point..but still. You should have a good customer experience! It’s a 40,000 car! You should enjoy it.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:23 pm)

    Thanks Jeffhre and Mitch (#23 and #26).


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:25 pm)

    Greg P:
    When charging to 80% (a move to increase the battery life), we are seeing a range of around 70-80 miles (a mix of freeway, around town, and hills).Yes, this is an anecdote, but then most of the “facts” presented above are also.

    Hi Greg, thanks for posting.

    Is your 70-80 mile range something you’ve actually determined, or is it just what the car claims after charging. It sounds like you regularly only drive 30 miles a day, so I’m curious.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    In the video, did anyone else notice she backed the car in, so she had to run the cord all the way to the front to plug it in? Not sure the reasoning for this. Maybe its difficult to back out where she was located, so she backs in. I guess there’s no 1 good spot to put the plug on an EV. Maybe they should offer 2 as long as the cost dosen’t skyrocket.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    OK, on my way back from lunch I saw a dude on the freeway walking with a gas can in the rain.
    Is it because of the car? lol….

    I would’ve picked him up but he was walking the opposite direction but the strange thing is, the closest gas station is the other way right off the freeway.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Hey!
    Where’s the edit thingy?

    /@61, just realized he may have already filled his red gas can.

    duhhhh…..

    //need some Kahlua to straighten me out!


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:01 pm)

    Greg P,

    Greg, hypothetically, if your Leaf had a free option of a range extender that in no-way affected its current performance/cargo room/etc. other than providing an ICE backup; would you get that option?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:02 pm)

    #60 kdawg In the video, did anyone else notice she backed the car in, so she had to run the cord all the way to the front to plug it in?

    Since my wife started backing our Prius up the driveway; we have never scraped our bumper. I don’t know if this is why she does it but it solved our scraping problem. BTW, my computer says KDAWG as dog; so I have always thought you went by dog LOL, no dissrespect intended.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:51 pm)

    Zod: Hi Greg, thanks for posting.

    Is your 70-80 mile range something you’ve actually determined, or is it just what the car claims after charging.It sounds like you regularly only drive 30 miles a day, so I’m curious.

    We’ve never run it to empty, so this is a bit of an educated guess based on a couple of factors:

    - Actual range used versus the state-of-charge bar graph (which is a bit crude with twelve bars, but a better indicator of how much is left in the “tank”)
    - Driving on weekends (which tends to be anywhere from 35-50 miles, depending on what we’re up to)
    - Somewhat-based on the car’s estimate. It does jump all over the place for us, as we usually jump on the freeway for a couple of miles (which is on a hill), then around town, etc. When we drive around town, I find the range estimate a close match to actual miles driven. I think we’ve started more relying on the SOC indicator than the range indication.

    We have to work hard to drive more than 50-60 miles in a day, even criss-crossing all over town.

    If you search the LEAF forums (mynissanleaf.com) you’ll find some folks have run the car to empty (or down to turtle mode).

    Greg


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (5:58 pm)

    kdawg:
    Greg P,

    Greg, hypothetically, if your Leaf had a free option of a range extender that in no-way affected its current performance/cargo room/etc.other than providing an ICE backup; would you get that option?

    For me personally, no, unless it was somehow removable from the car. Even then, a big plus to a BEV (for me) is the lack of maintenance and moving parts. I hate maintenance – we’ve always kept up our cars (the car that the LEAF replaced was 16 years old and still running with someone else), I just dislike the time and money investment required. I realize the battery will be a maintenance item someday, but my hope is that either a) technology will improve for the replacement, or b) I’ll be back to where I am now.

    I guess the other thing for me is that the LEAF is a great car around town, but it is too small for us on a long trip (we’d need more luggage space and elbow room). Now a range-extended, electric minivan/crossover/station wagon – I might be interested in that (except the minivan is only a couple of years old).

    Greg


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    Nelson

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:00 pm)

    Does anyone know if Nissan dealerships selling the Leaf have any requirements like having two, pay-per-charge, public fast chargers in their customer parking lot?

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    kdawg

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:09 pm)

    BLIND GUY: BTW, my computer says KDAWG as dog; so I have always thought you went by dog LOL, no dissrespect intended

    It’s an old college nickname. Sometime’s people would shorten it to just “dog”, so no big deal. When you first started posting as Blind Guy, the last thing I thought is you were literally blind; that just seemed too obvious. I guess I was thinking too hard.

    Does your computer register the smiley faces so you know when someone is being sarcastic?
    Smile = :)


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    Buzz

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:17 pm)

    Lyle congrats on 2k mi on your Volt. Got a LEAF in January, just crossed the 2k mi mark. Range is as Nissan described months ago here (see below):
    http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index#/leaf-electric-car/range-disclaimer/index

    Actually, I get about 10% better than I expected under SoCal driving conditions which translates to about 75 mi freeway; when I keep it at 60-65MPH and flat terrain.
    Love the LEAF, almost bought a Volt but so far I’m happy with my choice. Took the extra $5k credit and bought some more PV, another 8k mi per year from the “oil well” on my roof. Haven’t run out of gas in 20 yrs, don’t expect to get stranded with the LEAF.
    I don’t think of the Volt and LEAF as competitors. They both have different features and flaws.
    No need to cut each other down. I hope both thrive.

    ————————————————-
    Depending on the conditions, when your battery is new your range may vary anywhere from 138 – 62 miles. range is most affected by:
    Climate control – the more extreme the temperature is outside, the more energy used to heat or cool the cabin.

    Speed – higher speeds require much more energy to overcome air resistance.

    Driving style – smooth acceleration and deceleration will extend range while aggressive acceleration and deceleration will decrease range.

    Cargo and topography – heavy cargo and driving up steep long inclines will reduce range.

    there are an infinite number of range scenarios*, based on many variables. here are just a few, starting with the EPA LA4 test cycle:
    EPA LA4 test cycle: 100 miles
    The Nissan LEAF has been tested under the EPA Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule, a laboratory test commonly called the LA4 test cycle, which represents city driving conditions. Top speed is 56.7 mph and average speed is 19.59 mph. Ambient temperature can vary from 68 – 86 degrees. Climate control is off. The Nissan LEAF easily achieved 100 miles.

    Ideal driving conditions: 138 miles
    Speed: Constant 38 mph
    Temperature: 68 degrees
    Climate control: Off
    Driving on a flat road at a constant 38 mph means less air resistance, and therefore less energy use. And at 68 degrees, there’s no need for climate control, extending the range even further. The result: a range boost up to 138 miles.

    Suburban driving on a nice day: 105 miles
    Speed: Average 24 mph
    Temperature: 72 degrees
    Climate control: Off
    The average speed in this scenario is 24 mph; common when commuting and running errands. The ambient temperature is 72 degrees and the climate control is off. Not using the air conditioner and driving at slower speeds mean less energy use and a little extra range.

    Highway driving in the summer: 70 miles
    Speed: Average 55 mph
    Temperature: 95 degrees
    Climate control: On
    Averaging 55 mph on the highway, in 95 degree weather, with the air conditioning on high may produce range figures like this. Higher speeds require more energy to overcome air resistance. Running the air conditioner means energy that could be used to increase range instead goes to cooling the car.

    Cross-town commute on a hot day: 68 miles
    Speed: Average 49 mph
    Temperature: 110 degrees
    Climate control: On
    Driving from a rural area into the city at an average 49 mph with the a/c on high may produce this range. Under these conditions, climate control combined with higher-speed driving produces increased energy consumption, hence the effect on range.

    Winter, urban stop-and-go, traffic jam: 62 miles
    Speed: Average 15 mph
    Temperature: 14 degrees
    Climate control: On
    Though the average speed is only 15 mph with stop-and-go traffic, the 14-degree temperature means the heater is doing a lot of work so you spend considerable time and energy heating your car rather than moving forward. Despite these conditions, it would still take more than 4 hours to run out of charge!


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    Greg P

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    Nelson:
    Does anyone know if Nissan dealerships selling the Leaf have any requirements like having two, pay-per-charge, public fast chargers in their customer parking lot?

    Volt#671
    NPNS!

    I believe they are required to have two publicly available for LEAFs – my local dealer has two public EVSEs, and two more in the maintenance area. They are the Aerovironment model – there isn’t any functionality for accepting money.

    All this isn’t too useful for me – the dealer is in another part of town and we usually don’t have a reason to go there.

    Greg


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    Greg P,

    Not sure why you would want to remove it? But I can understand the maintenance point. To me, a free backup option seems like a no brainer though; and also increases the versatility of the vehicle at no cost (in my hypothetical argument). Have you calculated your Kwh/miles yet?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:25 pm)

    Since it is on topic – here’s a link to a LEAF forum that discusses range:

    http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=2523

    There are comments by other LEAF owners and more feedback on type of driving (freeway versus city streets, etc.).

    Greg


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:33 pm)

    Buzz: Haven’t run out of gas in 20 yrs, don’t expect to get stranded with the LEAF.
    I don’t think of the Volt and LEAF as competitors. They both have different features and flaws.
    No need to cut each other down. I hope both thrive.

    I too would like both vehicles to thrive, but would like to make a distinction. Even though you are a careful planner with your ICE cars and your EV car, other people are not. People run out of “fuel” all the time, but “so what?”. The difference between running out of fuel in an ICE car vs an EV is putting a small amount of gas in your car compared to an expensive/tasking tow service.

    There aren’t many headlines about people running out of gas. The job gets taken care of rather quickly. But when the job requires a tow truck, you’ll hear more about it. As others have stated earlier, I just hope this doesn’t put any negative pressure on the EV movement. If quick charging technolgy (in the battery) becomes viable, maybe a service would emerge that would show up like AAA, and give the EV a 15 mile quick charge from a super capacitor or Li-ion battery. Its not as easy as getting a 1 gallon gas can yourself, but that would take away a lot of the anxiety.


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    BLIND GUY

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:43 pm)

    #68 kdawg Does your computer register the smiley faces so you know when someone is being sarcastic?
    Smile =
    kdawg(Quote)

    I’m not sure; if the above line is a pic of a smilie face; then it says “smile” and it is written out.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:45 pm)

    kdawg:
    Greg P,

    Not sure why you would want to remove it?But I can understand the maintenance point.To me, a free backup option seems like a no brainer though; and also increases the versatility of the vehicle at no cost (in my hypothetical argument).Have you calculated your Kwh/miles yet?

    As far as removing a range extender, it’s more a KISS thing to me. A trailer or removable genset might be interesting. Not to rehash issues, but I’d love to see a transmission-less in-wheel motor for a BEV or EREV (and have the engine as a strict genset not coupled to the drivetrain). I realize there are other issues with that much weight out on the wheels but from a reliability/maintenance standpoint it seems ideal.

    The average for the car is 3.3 for about 1400 miles (according to the dashboard), Carwings is saying more like 3.9 – 4.6 (but there appears to be a reporting problem with it).

    The real question is how much of the battery capacity is available to use – I’ve seen one post indicating the real capacity was 27 kWh, with the usable at 20-24. Depending on how you slice it, 24kWh * 0.80 * 3.3 miles/kWh = 63 miles. If we’re getting better at driving efficiently (which I think we are – assuming Carwings trend is accurate even if the absolute values are not), then we might be somewhere around 3.6 kWh now. We’re definitely running the heater less (as it gets warmer).

    I think we’ve improved a fair bit in recent weeks – we’ve somewhat gotten over the thrill of stomping it at the light and are being a bit more sedate/efficient. I think I tend to be a bit more efficient than the boss, but she drives it more.

    Greg


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    Scott R.

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    20 40 60 mile volts would be ideal.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:10 pm)

    Greg P: I’ve sat quiet long enough (someone on the internet is wrong…:). I am a LEAF owner.When charging to 80% (a move to increase the battery life), we are seeing a range of around 70-80 miles (a mix of freeway, around town, and hills). Yes, this is an anecdote, but then most of the “facts” presented above are also.Driving at 70 mph down the freeway saps the range, as it does in a conventional car. Lower temperatures don’t really seem to have much of an impact (and we’ve gotten down to 20degF since we got the car) – I would guess it is about 5-10 miles on really cold days due to heater usage.We haven’t run out of battery power. We know the limitations of the car (range-wise) and plan accordingly. Five days a week, the car does about 30 miles a day (20 mile commute, 10 miles misc.). On the weekends we go farther, but still haven’t bumped into any limitations. I live in a spread-out community of about 150,000.We charge overnight, so the current charger is fine (although a faster charger would be good for folks that opportunity charge during the day).We have another car (minivan) for long trips. Since we’ve got the LEAF, this car has been driven less than 200 miles, while we’ve got almost 1400 miles on the LEAF.In short – different strokes for different folks. I understand other people need a car that can do it all, or they don’t have a place for a charging dock, etc. For a second car, the LEAF works great. As for the Barron’s reporter, she kept on driving for 20+ miles after the car indicated low battery. When you do this in a regular car, it runs out of gas – why the surprise and snarky comments? Nissan has a toll free number for situations like this – why wait until the battery is completely dead to call? As a last-ditch effort, the car comes with a 120V EVSE that will charge the battery (albeit at a very slow rate). This seems more like a stunt to me.Nissan has advertised 100 miles of range, with the caveat that this is run on the LA4 cycle – it’s mostly around town stop-and-go, not driving down the freeway in the fast lane. Anecdotally, people driving down the freeway (at 60-70 mph) seem to be getting 50-60 miles of range. It’s a communications problem, but it is very much like the mpg of the Volt – it depends on how you drive it.The LEAF isn’t for everyone. Like I said above, I have two cars. When I want to go to the big city (3 hours+ one way), I’m not taking the LEAF. When I want to go to the grocery store (3 miles), I take the LEAF.From my perspective, range anxiety is about as real as the boogyman. Something to frighten small kids with, but disappears when you use your noodle. Yes, I can’t drive to Las Vegas on a whim – but I also don’t buy any gas, worry about any maintenance, or spit anything out the back end (I live in the Pacific Northwest – about as clean as it gets on power generation).Greg

    I think you really hit the nail here and I would like to add a rethorical question… Those who were left stranded, are they really “First Addopters” or they just had to have the latest toy without knowing what they are getting into?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:10 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Jeff,

    You are doing an outstanding job. Not just good, not just very good, not just excellent, but outstanding, outstanding outstanding.
    It’s really great to have your commentary. I know Lyle wanted the thread to develop each line of conversation on its own. But it is really refreshing to know the values and professionalism of your direct responses too.

    Everything you are doing is outstanding. Period.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:18 pm)

    I think the other person is right, this reporter was looking for a story. Or else she wouldn’t of pushed the car so hard without really knowing it. Plus she, (Accidentally) made a wrong turn


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:45 pm)

    Dan Petit:
    Jeff Cobb,

    Jeff,

    You are doing an outstanding job.Not just good, not just very good, not just excellent, but outstanding, outstanding outstanding.
    It’s really great to have your commentary. I know Lyle wanted the thread to develop each line of conversation on its own.But it is really refreshing to know the values and professionalism of your direct responses too.

    Everything you are doing is outstanding. Period.

    Thank you Dan. Very nice of you to say so.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (7:46 pm)

    joe: The CEO of Nissan must have been dreaming when he announced Nissan would sell zillions of Leafs. Over promising and under-delivering has compounded the problem even more.

    Carlos Ghosn has more trouble than he can handle. He has had to publicly apologize for wrongfully terminating three high level execs in the phony espionage scandal (thanks to his intel-con artist informant.) This should have cost him his job – but he got someone to cover for him. Now he’s got an under-performing EV rushed to market with nowhere NEAR the field testing that VOLT has done.

    This is BAD for the entire market sector. Since as many of us suspected, a bad first impression for EVs will sour the market for everyone. Carlos wanted to be first with a production vehicle but at what cost? At least GM and Tesla have delivered what they promised – and then some.

    On top of all, shipping out of Japan is going to be retarded for six months minimally. Meanwhile the price of gas continues to rise. Let’s hope that people take a hard look at the GM VOLT lease at the SAME cost as the under-performing Leaf ($350/month) and go with the solution that works today.

    We wish Carlos and Nissan good luck. And hope they adjust their AER to better reflect the actual field mileage – like other EV manufacturers have done recently. The public’s good will is worth more than the gold from short term sales.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (8:07 pm)

    It seems that the phrase “Your Mileage May Vary” is amplified in an electric vehicle.

    Any electric vehicle.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:23 pm)

    Greg P: I realize there are other issues with that much weight out on the wheels but from a reliability/maintenance standpoint it seems ideal.

    If you want no reliability/ maintenance issues then wouldn’t you put them on a half shaft instead of having them bouncing around on the hubs completely unsprung?


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:38 pm)

    Dan Petit: On the other hand, if only GM would green light a sixty mile electric range option for us very high annual mileage drivers,

    “It would be all over”,

    because your electric range would be 90 percent of your 24,000 annual miles by plugging in each night at 240 volts. 60 miles electric range would be the most we would ever need. Cuz the generator takes you another 300 on gasoline for a long trip.

    Respectfully, I’m still holding out for EREV100 — eventually (in a world where BEVs get 200+ per charge. It will take less time for this to appear than for the public charging infrastructure it requires, IMO).

    Of course, I’ll gladly take a real world EREV60 — if offered. ;-)


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:40 pm)

    APC: In order to sell units they need to eliminate the nightmare scenario from the video above. No one wants to be ‘that guy’ who’s blocking traffic on a busy street.

    As long as “that guy” is a reporter creating the news instead of reporting, then we’ll be OK. In more mundane “true life” stories, I agree whole heartedly with comments like LauraM that Nissan needs to re work their range estimator post haste.

    Nissan’s comments about it to date are that drivers should go by the state of charge gauge and not the miles remaining estimate. I wonder if that gauge has been saying “get charged ASAP” and people have been ignoring it for the miles left estimates. Easy to do if the gauge reads “driver use your brain” and the mileage estimate has big bright easy to read amount in plain Arabic numerals (but no YMMV). Maybe when the mileage estimate gets below 25 they should start using roman numerals.


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    Jackson

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:42 pm)

    Your new edit rule STINKS!!!

    Someone posting in the morning gets less editing time than someone in the evening? Get real!!!


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:45 pm)

    Jackson,

    What do you mean? Did something change?

    UPDATE:

    … at Jackson’s request, I’ve edited this!
    :)


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:49 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    Jackson,

    What do you mean? Did something change?

    I’m tempted to accuse you of questionable humor; I was editing to clarify when you posted this comment.

    The edit script locks you out if a comment was posted after yours: “Comments may not be edited after new comments are posted” (or something close to that). Try editing your comment above, now that I’ve posted this one.

    I don’t write so much as edit, so this change will hurt me greatly; however, it strikes me as blatantly unfair for someone posting in the morning to get less editing time than someone posting in the afternoon.


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    Driverguy01

     

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (9:56 pm)

    Yea,

    LOL for Yea’s comment….


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    Jackson: I’m tempted to accuse you of questionable humor; I was editing to clarify when you posted this comment.

    The edit script locks you out if a comment was posted after yours:“Comments may not be edited after new comments are posted” (or something close to that). Try editing your comment above, now that I’ve posted this one.

    I don’t write so much as edit, so this change will hurt me greatly; however, it strikes me as blatantly unfair for someone posting in the morning to get less editing time than someone posting in the afternoon.

    Jackson, no questionable humor or any humor at all. This caught me by surprise. I did not make the change.

    Before you even wrote this however, I sent an e-mail to the guy who can give me some answers.

    And keep in mind, this is not a fair or unfair issue, it is GIGO. Sorry it messed you up, but maybe we can fix it …?

    That’s all I know at this point — and that I can edit the posts I do, which I did at your request.

    :)

    I do not go through the same system you do.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (10:04 pm)

    I think one thing that’s been reported about the Leaf that’s a true flaw is how the estimated range changes suddenly toward the end of the battery reserve. While the Volt’s range gauge does adjust to conditions and its recent range performance, the only times I have seen it make quick adjustments is in the first few miles of a trip. The rest of the time you can almost set your odometer to it, right down to when it cuts over to CS mode. Seems to me that GM engineers got this gauge to perform accurately, and Nissan engineers clearly did not. This may be in part due to the fact that the Volt has very tightly conditioned batteries used within a conservative charge range, while Nissan went kind of fast and loose with its batteries. The irony is that in the Volt, the battery range estimate is not all that critical a function, but in the Leaf its failure can ruin your whole day.

    I’m sure there are some satisfied Leaf owners out there, like Greg P above, but personally I don’t see a big market that will be comfortable with the car’s limitations. IMO, pure EV’s must have an honest 100-150 mile range (with the 100 being the extreme low-end case) to gain much sales traction, and the ability to fully charge in around 4-6 hours. Will be interesting to see how close the Focus EV gets to that. Nissan has really NOT helped the case for EVs by starting with 100 mile hype (which I’m sure explains much of their early hand-raisers) and now fizzling with 50 mile range when driven on the highway like a normal car with normal interior temp regulation under less than ideal environmental conditions. If there’s a “Who Killed the Electric Car II”, the villain might be Nissan. I honestly hope that doesn’t happen.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (10:26 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: GIGO

    Is this something which could save you hundreds on auto insurance? ( ;-) Sorry, I am easily flummoxed by internet acronyms).

    Thank you for looking into the edit thing. Cap’n Jack Sparrow noticed that something was wrong with edit earlier today, but didn’t elaborate.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (10:35 pm)

    Jackson,

    GIGO: pre-internet, but yes computerese (probably from the 60s or 70s? — maybe someone else will know?)

    Means “Garbage-In, Garbage-Out.” i.e., the results experienced are random occurrences of input that did not produced desired results.

    Missed Cap’n Jack Sparrow’s comment.

    Will see if I can learn anything more on this editing problem.

    (Do you like the way I did not suggest you write your answers in a separate doc and then copy and paste them once you have them edited? I want this working right too, if it can.)
    :)


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (11:27 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: GIGO: pre-internet, but yes computerese (probably from the 60s or 70s? — maybe someone else will know?)

    I can’t say that I know, but my first college computer class, in the late 60s, used an IBM (370?) and entered fortran programs using actual punch cards. At that time GIGO was already in use.


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    Mar 15th, 2011 (11:35 pm)

    MichaelH,

    Sounds about right. By the way, is the timer issue still ongoing?

    (RE: “The edit script locks you out if a comment was posted after yours: “Comments may not be edited after new comments are posted” (or something close to that) … ” – from Jackson)

    An IT guy got back to me (at 11:30 EST!) and said he is fiddling with the settings.

    He said he never touched them before either, so this late/early question is still a mystery.


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    nasaman

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    Mar 15th, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: …(RE: “The edit script locks you out if a comment was posted after yours: “Comments may not be edited after new comments are posted” (or something close to that) … ” – from Jackson)

    An IT guy got back to me (at 11:30 EST!) and said he is fiddling with the settings…

    I’ve had editing block me LONG before the 6 minute limit several times, Jeff. This AM was the 1st of several such occasions over the last few days that the error msg said something like “Comments may not be edited after new comments are posted.” For the several other cases, sometimes after only maybe 4 minutes, there was no explanation given. Hope this helps.

    /I’m sure everyone here really appreciates you keeping close watch on all comments! Keep up the great work!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:13 am)

    I would love an option like this. Seriously, the competition would be a long while playing catch up, and GM would be THE car to own, no question.

    With 60 EV miles and 300 on gas, I’d be set as I would almost never need more for 95% of my driving.

    Here’s hoping GM reads some of these wishes.

    Dan Petit:

    On the other hand,if only GM would green light a sixty mile electric range option for us very high annual mileage drivers,

    “It would be all over”,

    because your electric range would be 90 percent of your 24,000 annual miles by plugging in each night at 240 volts.60 miles electric range would be the most we would ever need.Cuz the generator takes you another 300 on gasoline for a long trip.


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    WVhybrid

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:36 am)

    Lyle:
    I have long believed the Volt will far outsell the LEAF.
    ………………
    My advice – don’t go toe to toe with trolls – hit the down vote button instead – that’s what it’s there for.

    Lyle, it’s great to see you are still around and backing up Jeff. Someday I hope you will post a guest article about how your Volt is performing and any more impressions you would share.

    WVhybrid
    status = pickin’ up my Volt Saturday!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:43 am)

    Jeff Cobb: By the way, is the timer issue still ongoing?

    I am not having any problem with editing tonight.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:20 am)

    volt11,

    I get it. This is a Volt site… Volt good. LEAF bad.
    But really, even with 250 mi range there will be dimwits running the battery dry. I passed a Lexus stalled in the fast lane today… is Lexus and are gas cars failures?
    Props to GM for producing the Volt and props to Nissan to delivering almost 4000 LEAF EVs so far.
    Ghosn and Nissan did a great thing: delivered a BEV for under $35k. It”s a major f***ing accomplishment and a huge risk for a car company that could have sat back and just sold Versas, Altimas and GTRs. It’s not perfect, but neither is the Volt. It’s not bad for EVs that these two cars are finally out there. Time for whiners to man-up and deliver EV-iron if you’re a car man’f or paychecks if you’re an oil slave and don’t wish to be. [/rant]


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    crew

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:20 am)

    This article here just misses the mark on what the Leaf and Volt are all about: getting it done to go gas free in the real world around these parts.

    I am a GM, er, Chevy Volt supporter to the max, but I have no desire whatsoever to knock the Leaf.

    If the author of the accompanying article sympathizes with the young lady’s opinion, then I think you guys still don’t get it. This car deserves the praise that everyone else is giving it. Offering some credibility to this young lady just isn’t right. I am, indeed, tired of hearing from the dolts that knock the Volt for price, perceived function, GM heritage, or false promises. This video demonstrates that the Leaf can be called out for flimsy reasons too! As much as I feel a little guilty pleasure from listening to someone feel let down by the Leaf, I feel sorry for this person for expecting more from the Leaf than common sense would dictate.

    If I could only own one car, the Volt is it, hands down. A second car can be a BEV without a second thought. I can find a good number of reasons for not buying a Leaf, but the 70 mile range isn’t one of them.

    Watching this video is actually painful. Don’t you guys understand why?


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:49 am)

    I sure would not want to get stranded on the highway but the good news is that Leaf owners may get an upgrade in the future with a range of 200 miles but my guess the range will be more like 160-180 miles of range instead and the sad fact is that all of you know the Leaf does not have thermal technology like the Volt does well maybe in the future Leaf owners may have a chance but not now only time will tell? So far your the lucky ones Volt fans and no my family does not own either a Leaf or Volt but maybe in the future maybe will get a plug-in hybrid that probably would be the right choice for my family if we want to go greener and save money at the pumps just to say Volt fans.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:18 am)

    But let’s do hope so that electric cars will have more range in the future like as I mentioned for the Leaf. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a range like 250 to 300 miles now that’s more like it! I would have to say I wouldn’t even mind seeing the range higher as well like 350 or 400 miles as well but yes the number one goal is to increase electric charging stations at first and then increase range and now if only they could keep the batteries affordable for everyone then we could truly drive at distance like that without oil and gas/diesel just to say. Plus they would also need to develop the battery in a way so it does not take forever when it comes to charging times no matter were you are home, work eating out etc. Last but not least they would also need to know how to not damage the battery as well so it maintains it’s charge especially if you want fast pace charging when you’re on the go just to say. Well let’s hope for the better when it comes to the future of the electric car what do you guys think how much range do you think electric cars will have in the next five or ten years let me know?


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (5:01 am)

    Why are you linking to Newsmax? If you like electrics Jeff those are the wrong guys…


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (6:55 am)

    Jeff, good to see you have brought GM-Volt back. Also like that you are also replying to some of the posts as well via the comments. I am still relatively new to the site, been reading it for about 6months now and was wary with the changeover from Lyle but after some early teething you’ve got your legs and glad to see it back the way I was used to.

    I almost consider this a news site I generally check in each day for my daily ‘fix’. Keep up the great work and don’t let the downer’s get to you as Lyle says just vote them down as everyone else does.

    As far as the article goes I hope Nissan fixes up any perceptions they may have given as part of the early marketing as bad press for EV’s right now could hurt all EV’s. I am waiting to see more EV’s arrive on the market and being in Australia I most likely won’t see the same range of EV’s as the US or Europe due to the smaller market but it is good to see so many manufacturers coming out with potential EV’s within the next couple years.

    Keep up the good work!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:03 am)

    Wow, its like the good-ol days! Lots of comments.

    I don’t think the L.E.A.F. has anything to worry about. It will have as many buyers as units produced — as will the Volt. There are bound to be some hiccups with new technology, and I am sure it will get sorted.

    but… knowing how much juice is left in a battery pack is no easy task, compound that by conditions, driving habits… eek! Free towing is a nice option.

    I personally think a city car would work out as well, and is much cheaper than the L.E.A.F.


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    Mar 22nd, 2011 (6:20 am)

    Recent article on msnbc.com that documents the Leaf’s range issue.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42133379/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/