• Oct 20th 2010 at 2:57PM
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Nissan Leaf range – Click above to view additional range estimates

Range. How far can we go from here? Should I turn the heat down? And, what exactly happens when the A/C is cranked up to full blast. When the discussion centers on electric vehicles (EVs), concerns regarding range always seem to surface. It's unavoidable. Some would-be EV buyers are concerned about being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and others worry that automakers might, ahem, "lie" about a vehicle's actual limitations. Nah, that's not going to happen. Anyway...

Back in June, Nissan revealed that the Leaf's range is not one set number. It's not always going to be an even 100 miles. The Leaf could travel 100 miles, maybe less, or perhaps even a bit more. Nissan listed the Leaf's range at 47 miles in a worst-case scenario and 138 miles in ideal situations. Now, in an effort to quell range anxiety, Nissan has even posted a detailed, scenario-by-scenario rundown of range estimates that could prove extremely beneficial for potential EV buyers. A portion of the list is shown above and the rest of the range estimates can be found in the image gallery. So, have at it and discover just how far a Leaf could take you.

Nissan Leaf range estimates
  • Nissan Leaf range estimates

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uh oh. These are very optimistic conditions. I'm seeing a chink in the armor.

      I cringe at the thought of the results of a highway speed run with the Heater/AC on :(
      I have a feeling people are in for a real unpleasant surprise :|
        • 4 Years Ago
        My bad for not seeing the second slide. Kinda weird way to post an article..

        Those are closer to what i'm looking for, but do not present real highway speeds. They are even worse than i thought, too.

        With the climate control on, at 60-70mph i have a feeling we're looking at an upper 50 mile range..

        Suddenly, the Chevy Volt looks better.. but i suppose we'll have to wait for real world testing for both cars since the manufacturers are not being very forthcoming :|
        • 4 Years Ago
        Check out the gallery. More testing scenarios are there. Nissan is not trying to cover anything up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Ziv . . . well, that all depends on the price of gasoline, doesn't it? If gasoline costs $10+/gallon 8 years from now then I think a lot of people will find a way to make the BEV work for them.

        The price of oil may shock people over the next 8 years. I think we are fine for the next 2 to 3 years . . . after that, it could get hairy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the reason why little emphasis has been put on range at a constant speed of 75mph is that if that is what the customer is mainly interested in, they have pretty much defined that the car is not for them, as it is not good at it other than for short distances.
        It is a bit like looking at the specs for a 2-seater, and primarily being worried about it's load carrying capacity!
        Nissan have been very clear that the car is not for everyone.

        A lot of analysis has been done on the effects of an oil price rise on different economies.
        To the extent that demand is reduced price rises are limited. Over the short term substitution, moving to electric and so on is limited, so the main form demand reduction takes is plain going without.
        Every recession since WW2 has been preceded by an oil price spike, and we should expect similar results from a spike in 2011-15.
        So I would not expect oil prices to rise much beyond, say, $200/barrel, as at that point demand reduction will take place, and the OECD will enter a very severe recession.
        The BRICs after the last oil price spike proved themselves much better able to ride out a spike, although they might be hit to some extent too.
        Worst hit would be the poorest countries, where kerosene is a major cooking fuel, and food is transported in trucks.
        I would expect severe unrest and perhaps war there.
        It seems likely then that present progress in reduction of mortality, and perversely in reducing population growth, will be arrested or reversed.

        The size of present vehicle fleets means that it takes at least 15 years to change them, and you have to build up the new production capacity first.
        So we may be looking at a 25 year period of severe stress.

        I doubt that vehicle ownership will ever return in the West to the heights of 2007, and would see the car fleet decreasing as well as changing.

        By 2035 or so when the change is complete I would see the most typical paradigm of transport being an electric, robotic taxi, rather than a personal car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Giving the total range for a constant 75 mph of highway driving with the A/C or Heater on... SEEMS like it would be very useful information.

        But for a commuter car... you may spend a lot of time on the highway... but probably no more than 20 miles at a time. So that statistic becomes misleading.

        You cannot compare the range of the Leaf when traveling out of town.. to your expected driving routine. Even 60 miles total range is enough for 2 days commute for most people
        • 4 Years Ago

        No they don't have highway speeds on the second slide. 55 mph is not highway speed unless there is a cop nearby. Here in CA the real freeflow highway speed is about 75 mph not because it is legal but because that is what people drive. Maybe the leaf is usable at that speed, maybe it isn't.

        What we really need is an estimate on how many years the battery lasts for each of these driving scenarios.
        • 4 Years Ago
        God forbid people ADJUST to new things and a slightly different way of life.

        What's the world coming to?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spec, your point about the possible skyrocketing price of gasoline is well taken. It would make the Leaf much more acceptable, and the cost of the Volt more acceptable due to the fact that a Volt uses so little gasoline if you drive less than 15,000 miles a year.
        One point I haven't seen addressed by economists or the oildrum is the fact that while the US, Europe and Japan can afford to buy oil at $150 a barrel, (and with their tax structure Japan and Europe are in even better position to do so) most other nations can not afford to buy at a greatly inflated price. So I think there will be a glass ceiling that oil prices will not be able to rise past, over time, simply due to the fact that most oil buyers will not be able to afford to use much oil at a certain point. Every customer will have a different glass ceiling, and this will not rule out price spikes, but I don't think oil can go up to $200 a barrel and stay there. Plus, most of the price of gas in the US is for the petroleum, but only just. So if the price of oil goes from $80 to $160, gas won't go from $2.80 to $5.60, it will rise to around $4.20, which is irritating but not ruinous, for us. But it will ruin businesses in the third world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wish that they had done the hwy test at 65 with the AC on medium and also with no AC at all. But it doesn't really matter that much, by the time most of us buy a BEV or an EREV, the range will be better, the cost will be lower and the pack will be smaller. In just a few years we are going to be looking at noticeably better battery packs.
        I don't think BEV's will work for most Americans within 8 years, but they WILL work for a significant minority. And EREV's WOULD work for everyone, if they were available at a reasonable price, which may or may not happen before BEV's price drops and range increases enough that EREV's will be needlessly complex. And I would love to be wrong about how long it will take for BEV's to supplant EREV's. The more domestic electricity we use to fuel our cars the less foreign oil we need to import.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They have a highway speed run with A/C in the second slide.

        Nissan is making a good effort to be transparent about range claims. The only one they left off is the 47 mile@6mph average at heavy traffic with A/C on (means 8 hours of driving for only about 50 miles of travel, seems unlikely).
        • 4 Years Ago
        If oil prices rise as I expect in the next couple of years speeds may be reduced on highways, either through legislation or to save dollars by the individual.
      • 4 Years Ago
      lne937s --

      I wondered how Chevy managed to make their advertised monthly lease price the same as the cheaper Leaf. I thought they were just manipulating their 'buy' price vs. their 'lease' price to push people into leases. But from what you said, it sounds like it has more to do with shorting the miles compared to the Leaf, other such tricks?

      Good to know.

      PS -- in response to Spec in an earlier post --- Agreed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Most leases have 12k miles/yr as pretty average. The Leaf does as well if it is a typical Nissan 3/36 lease. But, it works out in the Leaf's favor since it's tough to drive 12k mi/yr if you don't take long trips occasionally, unless you have a pretty long commute.

        What he was saying is that if the Volt were to make sense for a buyer, they'd be traveling more than 12k miles/yr.

        That is a false premise though. I drive about 12k miles/yr and I commute to work M-F as well as take a 150-200mi trip about twice a month. I'd need a 2nd car for the majority of those extra trips if I had a Leaf, but I could do it all in a Volt and cut my gasoline usage by 80-90% over what I use now.

        Many of those trips are in winter and the speed limits are 75mph also. Not trusting a 100mile range at highway speeds, with the heater on in winter(which is often well colder than the 14F estimate Nissan used). Summer would be iffy too since higher speeds and A/C aren't the best of friends either.

        Regardless, I buy cars, I don't lease them so this is mostly foreign to me anyhow. But if I were comparing leasing a Leaf to leasing a Volt, I'd definitely go for the Volt. I could use it for all of my driving while the Leaf would be limited and would cause me to rent or use another vehicle which sort of defeats the purpose and adds extra cost as well. Not to mention the fast charger I'd need at my home that a Volt could easily do without due to the shorter charge time and range extender.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would love to have people with experience driving the EV1 with NiMH batteries and the Toyota RAV4 Electric give their numbers under comparable conditions. Are these Li batteries really an improvement after a ten year hiatus?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spec -

        Most of them actually can only guess at how far their range is before they run out of juice. That's because it's completely irrelivant to their lives. They plug in at night, unplug in the morning and go about their business driving where ever they need to drive. Then they drive home and plug in without ever having their battery run out of juice. They really could care less. It just doesn't come into play at all.

        If they need to go on a trip, they are smart enough to take one of their other cars.

        Would you worry about your gas car could go 300 or 400 miles to a tank if you came out to a full tank every day for your daily driving was less than 40 miles? Honestly?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh I fully agree with you Nixon. I think ~100 mile range is all that an EV needs.

        I just don't like it when people over-hype EVs since it does not help, it only makes things worse. If EV enthusiasts oversell the capabilities of EVs then people will have a backlash against them if they buy one with inflated expectations. If someone works 40 miles from work and travels there by freeway, they are going to be really angry when their "100 mile range" EV runs out of juice on the way home from work. That will turn people away from EVs.

        The whole EV business has got a really bad reputation from hucksters, over-hype, products never delivered, final products that cost way more than initially advertised, etc. EVs need to learn to walk before they can run.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Mel . . . Yep. Unless someone doesn't sleep at all, I don't see how charge times are much of a deal. We all sleep. So before you go to sleep, plug it in and wake up to a full charge every morning. And 100 miles will handle just about every day except long trips.
        • 4 Years Ago

        I've got a RA4-EV. And no, Spec, I'm not lying--I can't remember hearing another owner lie about their range, either. I agree it's a problem if they do.

        The SOC meter isn't very accurate, but it's split in to 10 pieces. We figure 10 miles per piece gives 100 miles of range. Most of the time, that works out pretty well--at 20 miles, we're usually down about two marks. A couple times at low speed it's worked out a little better. But my wife usually drives it and she definitely is not shooting for range. In fact she usually accelerates quickly so people stop thinking of EVs as "slow". Sometimes it's a little less than 10 miles per mark, but only very rarely more than, say, 20% less.

        The worst case I remember was: 60mph, 5 adults plus cargo, in cold (just above freezing) rain--so the heater, A/C, lights and wipers were all on. When we got home, I think we had 62 miles on the car, and about 10% left. So that was about a 68-mile range. Obviously higher speeds could have lowered it more.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, you really don't want to hear from them since they tend to be zealots that exaggerate their numbers. They'll tell you they get a 100 miles with their Rav4 even if in reality they only get 50.

        In the EV space, there are a lot of people driven by passion & emotion. So you really need to make sure you get objective data. Thus, as much as it hurts to hear the slightly disappointing numbers about the GM Volt coming from those standard car reporters, at least I feel I can trust them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the key to current EV range is that you really need a secondary car/car sharing/rentals as backup. With the RAV4 daily range was never really an issue, it took two seconds in the evening and two seconds in the morning to charge (plug-unplug). As Nixon said, we never bothered with the numbers, it would've just complicated things. I also don't understand why people make such a fuzz about charge times, it's not like you have to sit there watch the car charging. Driving really doesn't get much easier.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm quite sure that they are better.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The RAV4 EV actually had a similar size pack to the Leaf though (27.4kWh max vs 24kWh usable in Leaf). However the Nimh pack obviously was much heavier and the production cost of the RAV4 EV was likely a lot more too even with nimh packs (partly production volume, partly battery cost at the time likely higher even though nimh is supposed to be cheaper than lithium today).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, the highway speeds are the killer. That 70 miles was at 55 mph . . . if I drive 55mph on the highway around here then I would need to put on one of those slow-moving-vehicle triangles.

      The numbers are fine for an urban or suburban driver that commutes & runs errands. But if you get on the highway, you'll burn up your range quickly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Where I live(CO) most people will drive 75mph through town on the Interstate even. If you aren't doing 10-15mph over the limit, you are being passed by at least half the cars on the road.

        Outside of urban areas where the limit is actually 75mph, doing 80-85 is pretty typical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A friend who was a highway patrolman told me that the majority of vehicles on I-10 exceeded the posted 75 mph limit here in Arizona.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You have a similar effect on an ICE only not as pronounced. But only because you are already wasting most of the energy as exhaust gasses and radiator heat. The exception is some of the heat can be reused as winter heat.

      As the technology progresses, mileage will be less of a concern; but, those of us where the Leaf is currently a fit will help the progress of the technology for later buyers. I suggest a hybrid for those who want to help the switch off foreign oil and the Leaf doesn't fit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep. The EV is a niche vehicle for now. The hybrids make much more sense for most people. But this will change as gas prices go up and batteries become better (even if only incrementally).

        But the hard truth is that EVs will never be as a convenient as gas cars. However, oil is a finite resource the and the party is starting to wind down.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "EVs will never be as a convenient as gas cars"
        Not true, not even today. It all depends on context. A gas car isn't automatically filled every morning and you HAVE to visit a gas station to operate a car. You can't build gas stations everywhere, while you can build charging stations everywhere.

        For the long range case, there's battery swapping which is faster than filling a gas tank and there's also much more powerful rapid charging schemes (250kW, tying into power lines). I don't see any reason why EVs will never be as convenient as gas cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      light weight and aerodynamic battery electric drive and option of tiny range extender. only that will do. We SAID to include a efficient tiny low cost inboard gasoline or diesel electric generator performance enhancer and range extender and anti fuck up on the crowded highway in the cold of the night, is it clear now. And don't forget small home biofuel maker for the rest of the car, trucks, airplanes, trains and ships and build some hybrid cars that can drive on asphalt and regular train tracks with electronics tracks-time and directions and speeds managements, i noticed few traffic on train tracks, what a waste.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm a big kid now. I can control my lead foot if I have to. Hell, the cops here in Dallas are so good at catching speeders and "race car drivers" out on the roads you'd be a fool to drive like an idiot anyway. Unless you like to subsidize the city coffers with your donation via tickets.

      The Leaf helps you help yourself, right there on the center console display. It tells you how many miles you will gain if you (insert smart thing here). It's a thing of beauty.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea, the Leaf does a good job of pointing out what should be obvious. Sigh. I don't need all the tech crap they put on the Leaf to hold my hand. I don't need all the extra computer chips involved to point out the obvious. If that is what must happen to promote EV's then so be it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just a thought - I love how people say "having a Leaf for around-town and a gas-powered car for longer trips is cheaper than a Volt" - when they conveniently forget all the other ancillary costs to owning a car.

      And I'm not just talking about maintenance, but the rest that goes into "total cost of ownership": registration and insurance fees, etc.

      For those families that NEED two cars and have a close commute, the Leaf can make sense. Regardless, like the saying goes "your mileage may vary"...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Of course range will vary due to many factors (what a shocker!). I'm glad Nissan is stating the obvious, although it is easily taken in the wrong way (see above). Currently, I set the cruise-control for my commute at 70mph+. Nearly all of the commute is highway. But getting to the highway means surface street, stop-and-go traffic and in the end, I always average less than 55mph for the trip (kind of surprising, considering that most of the time I'm barreling down the freeway). No one guns it to 70mph from the moment they leave their driveway to the moment they slam on the breaks when they reach their destination (although a few 16 year-olds might try, I guess).
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL, I posted a similar average speed comparison right above you and didn't read yours until after I posted.

        Glad to see that someone else knows what average means. The average driver would be quite surprised at how low their average speed really is if they bothered to determine it(or if their car provides it).

      • 4 Years Ago
      Not concerned at all here.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Me neither. Even at the bottom (and very unlikely) range of 47 miles, that's way more than we need for 99.9% of our driving needs. It doesn't hurt that Grandpa's place is only 38 km (24 miles) from our house. Everything else is a cinch where we live - groceries, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and work are all pretty close. In fact, I can barely *imagine* doing 100 miles a day and still stay in the city. We even have 5 campgrounds within a 60 mile radius!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I specifically didn't get the Leaf because I was unsure how far I'd get in the winter Interstate 70 MPH driving to my parents house 45 miles away. I have a feeling I'd barely get there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In a couple months we'll quickly have a ton of real world data from people regarding range. If you haven't reserved a Leaf yet, you won't be getting one for quite a while, anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        brettkling, slow down to 55 mph in winter and you will barley get there. The Leaf only has a 24kwh pack and is a good size car, can't expect miracles. Rent a Leaf for a day or two and do some experimenting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No, these are *real world* conditions - they did a lot more testing beyond the LA4 cycle, and actually published their results. This article is a duplicate of the one they wrote when Nissan actually released their findings a few months ago.

      Their "Worst case scenario" of 47 miles was defined as "sitting in parking-lot gridlock for 8 hours straight with the AC on when it's 90 degrees outside". Noone in America has *ever* spent 8 hours in that kind of traffic (let alone driven through 47 miles of that kind of traffic), but it's almost the same as letting the car sit idle and running the AC until the battery is dead.

      Their cold-weather (I think around -5 C or about 20 F) range came out to about 75 miles, while using the heater. That's significantly less than 100 miles, but not disastrously so. I would imagine the range at -20 C (the kind of "normal" winter weather Edmonton would see) would be lower still, but they didn't test at those conditions.

      As for your "OMG What about highway speed all the way with teh AC on!?!", they tested that too. Go read the full report.
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