Recently, Marc Geller, co-founder of Plug In America and former AutoblogGreen contributor, had a week of seat time in the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Geller has driven an electric vehicle since 2001 and firmly believes that long-time owners of battery-powered rides can provide automakers with vital information that will assist them in designing the li-ion autos of tomorrow. After returning the Leaf, Geller noted that Nissan's electric hatch has one major flaw: the lack of numerical percentage battery charge indicator.
Instead of a simple percentage indicator, Nissan elected to represent the battery's state of charge with a 12-bar graphical display. This graphical indicator, Geller told Plug In Cars, is counter-intuitive because, "We do not operate in a Base 12 world, yet Nissan decided that somehow 12 was a significant division point for expressing the capacity of the battery." With the 12-bar display, Geller argues, it's virtually impossible to decipher the vehicle's remaining range. Not everyone agrees.
Sure, the Leaf does indicate the approximate miles left until the battery is depleted, but that number (shown as 52 miles above) changes on the fly as the vehicle's computers attempt to guess your future driving habits. Given that the Leaf's range is approximately 100 miles, a numerical percentage state-of-charge indicator would allow drivers to determine, with relative accuracy, the remaining range at any given point of time. Geller claims that range is a number that should be calculated by the driver, stating that the car's "best approximation of the number is never as nimble as the human mind."
Photos copyright ©2010 Sebastian Blanco / AOL