• Video
  • Apr 10th 2014 at 7:58PM
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Gravity taketh away but gravity giveth back, Nissan is trying to teach all of us. The Japanese automaker has posted a two-minute video about Maui resident Neil Wagner using his Nissan Leaf to catch the legendary sunrise over the volcano in Haleakalā National Park. After climbing the more-than-10,000-foot elevation, the Leaf is shown having lost about 84 percent of its usable battery capacity.

The finer point, though, is that electric vehicles have a regenerative braking system, meaning that the downhill ride and all of its switchbacks actually replenish battery capacity. Of course, the video didn't show exactly how much of that capacity was replenished, but the point is well-made, and with really cool scenery.

Sales for the Leaf have already been strong this year. Through the first three months of the year, Nissan boosted sales 46 percent from 2013 numbers up to 5,184 units. This is after more than doubling sales last year to 22,610 units.

And, for anyone curious, there are six publicly-accessible plug-in vehicle charging stations in Kahului and another eight in Lahaina, two of Maui's largest cities, according to the US Department of Energy. We're pretty sure that Mr. Wagner already knows that but we're going to take notes in case we need to make the sunrise drive one day. For now, we're going to check out Nissan's two-minute video below one more time.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Good commercial. But, They arent telling us that Neil doesnt start from sea level. When my Leaf was new, I could get from 1,300 ft to 7,500 over 35 miles of road. I would turn around with 3 miles left and easily make it back home. But, I'm very sure a Leaf will not climb 10,000 ft without a recharge. Not even close.
      Christos K. Dimou
      • 8 Months Ago
      There is also the question of efficiency in turning potential energy to kinetic energy to electric current to chemical energy. This is what we do when we are coming down from a mountain. These processes turn part of the input energy to heat. So no-one should expect to get its energy back 100%. Still regenerative braking is a net gain when it is used to store part of the kinetic energy which would be lost when braking the car. And part of the high efficiency of electric cars is due to this.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Christos K. Dimou
        Good point. Most of the regeneration energy loss comes from the drag which goes as v^2. So if you are regenerating by slowing from 20 mph you'll be getting more back than slowing down from 60 mph. In a general way, going down a mountain at a constant 20 mph will get you back 9X as much regenerative braking energy as going down at a constant 60 mph (assuming no mechanical brakes are used) all else being equal. I've seen this effect on my drive up and down a "mountain" (The Pali between Kailua and Honolulu) every day. For an experiment on drag, hold your hand out the window at 20 mph and compare it at 60 mph. Your car needs to "push" that air out of the way - drag - and at 60 mph your hands needs to push pretty hard!
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've driven my Leaf "over the Pali" from Kailua to Honolulu every work day for 3 years. Same effect - going up hill the battery drains a couple of bars, but going downhill the "bars" don't change (mileage estimate is a joke in this context, bars are what matter). If it weren't for the v^2 drag losses I could probably get 90% of that back and add a bar or two. But, it's always fun to use that instant torque to pass around an Escalade or two on the way up knowing I'll get some of that energy back on the way down as they wear out their brakes slowing down for police radars and the stop lights at the bottom. (might be duplicate comment ...)
      • 8 Months Ago
      That is a great video. Nissan should do videos of real people using the car in different cities across the country. It would work as an ad campaign showing off different features of the car in each place.
      Exooc news
      • 8 Months Ago
      its just question of time before somebody place EV car on treadmill :)) connected directly to windmill
      • 8 Months Ago
      If I worked on top of a volcano, the Leaf would be the perfect car for my commute. But sadly, my commute is uncomfortably close to the usable range of a Leaf.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've experienced something similar here in Asheville, NC. Driving from my house up to the 5500 ft elevation of Mt. Pisgah my LEAF will lose about 65% of my charge dropping me from 12 battery bars to 4. By the time I arrive home (about 25 miles, almost all downhill) I usually still have 4 bars and sometimes even gained back a bar.
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