• Oct 21st 2010 at 4:56PM
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Nissan rep discussing Leaf's eco mode – Click above to watch video after the jump

Many electric and hybrid vehicles, the Nissan Leaf included, feature some sort of magical button designed to transform the vehicle into a eco-friendlier version of itself. Automakers usually apply a name to this button of joy. They often go with the traditional eco mode name, but anything with a green ring to it works – as long as the technology works. Nissan has got the tech down, and decided to follow tradition when equipping the Leaf with a user-selectable "eco mode."

With the push of its eco-mode button, the Leaf transforms from a "zero-emissions" vehicle into...hmm? Well, since the Leaf emits nothing, then what does this magical mode do? According to a Nissan representative, who spoke at the Drive Electric Tour in San Diego, engaging eco mode ramps up the Leaf's regenerative braking to capture more energy and also makes acceleration a more easygoing affair. These changes extend the range by up to ten percent. Not bad, considering that the extra miles come courtesy of a seemingly simple – but, obviously not – little shift. Hit the jump to watch the Nissan rep describe the Leaf's eco mode.

[Source: You Tube]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just a follow up. I find it strange that Nissan would prominantly mention eco mode on its range extending tips page and then not consider it in its range calculation scenarios page.

      From a sales standpoint, you go with your best foot forward-if you are being honest about range. Putting out a spectrum of ranges 60ish up to 140ish miles and not using eco mode to push the spectrum up, does not make sense.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Nissan has a very good history of under promising and over delivering.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Understating and overdelivering may not be the best way to generate short-term sales numbers, but it builds trust and confidence in the product, leading to long-term sales strength and brand loyalty-- which is important when trying to establish a leadership piosition in new segments. Understating helps take into consideration potential outliers and ensures customer satisfaction. It bolsters your supporters and weakens your detractors. It is a long-term strategy for growth.

        Some automakers tend to take a different approach, but Nissan has done similar understatement with previous performance claims-- which you leads to trust that they will deliver at least what they are claiming.

        BTW, one of the first independant tests just came in at 116 miles (with some range still left in the battery), from normal driving with the air conditioning on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My one try of Eco mode, albeit at a relatively slow speed, had a noticeable effect when it came to regen and an almost detrimental effect on performance. I'm rather hoping that the next time I get to try, I can get to highway cruising speed and see if the performance loss is less noticeable. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but at this point it's not a mode I can see myself using unless I was pretty desperate for the extra range.

      I too would like to see adjustable regen. I remember driving the eBox, which had a dial on the dash for doing so - you could dial that sucker up all the way and the eBox would stop itself without you having to step foot on the brake pedal!
        • 4 Years Ago
        FWIW - Even though Eco mode desensitized the gas pedal, full power appeared to be there when you floor it regardless - yes, I tested it a few times. :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        No way guys. People can not handle adjustable regen. You are asking for accident. Imagine in the snow some brainiac adjusting their regen and doesn't know it is slippery out. Before you know it they are in the ditch or sliding into head on traffic because the tires surprisingly locked up because the regen was adjusted to strong for the slippery service and they did not realize it. Yes, I know compression on a stick shift is similiar but there is no pushing in the clutch to bail you out with adjustable regen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't buy that EVSuperheo...there a tons of cars out there with adjustable modes for driving and you don't hear about too many people wrecking out because they've changed into the wrong mode for prevailing road conditions. Oh sure, there are probably some, but that's what Darwinian theory is partially about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Developing a regenerative braking system that will be sensitive to grip in the same way as ABS sounds non-trivial.
        It is going to take time and money.
        Perhaps we might see it on Leaf II or Leaf III, or more likely introduced on one of the Infiniti models to start with.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ABS works by pulsing off and on the hydraulics for the mechanical brake system.

        There is no reason why the "tire-lock-up" wheel sensors cannot also communicate with the regen system to pulse as well.... there by reducing the risk to normal levels again.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, add me to the list that wants adjustable regen. Everyone should do that.

        Have there be a default position and maybe some presets. But let the geeks play around with it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, like the ebox would be great, I loved driving that one. Also, the performance hit on the eco mode just makes the pdeal less sensitive, if you punch it in eco mode it gives FULL power. The profile is just to make one more aware of consumption via a longer pedal profile.
        • 4 Years Ago

        If it is not already implemented (Nissan might not feel the need or want to disclose the technical specifics of EXACTLY how their regen is mapped)... then it could be offered as an "over the air" update in the future. No hardware is needed.

      • 4 Years Ago
      That guy should earn The World Record for Talking While Walking Backwards :)
      And extra points for actually sensible talk.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is big news? The Leaf has very low regen for an EV, eco mode increases the regen a bit and reduces loads as well. Then the pedal gets less sensitive for those that can't drive economically without help. So they made the regen how it should be in the first place and added a idiot mode, big deal. Perhaps we can get some real regen on the Leaf some day and really get some energy back in the pack for spirited driving.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow Stew, that was remarkable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, this car has been made more expensive in order that it be dummy proof.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sadly, cars need a bit of dummy-proofing when there are drivers like this out there:


        The problem is, making cars more dummy proof actually exacerbates the problem.
        • 4 Years Ago
        EV enthusiasts and early adopters tend to be very knowledgeable.... but really, how many of us are there?

        Nissan wants to sell a million cars. And it is tough to find a million smart people in the U.S. market.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Already included in Nissan's range estimates. Right?
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