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23-04-2011, 12:10   #1
BrianD3
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Autocar test the Nissan Leaf range

Claimed range 109 miles, actual range (until it stopped) in this test, 74 miles.
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-video/n...-video-review/

From the video it seems as though the predicted range dropped from 109 miles to 79 miles as soon as the interior fan was switched on. Don't know if there was also a heating element in use. If this was the range reduction just from using the fan then

Also the car used a lot of charge at motorway speeds. I have some experience of electric cars and vans which have lower top speed than the Leaf and at N road speeds, range is massively reduced. Was hoping that the Leaf would be better but it seems as though the same principle applies to it.

So it seems as though the car is completely unsuited to most high mileage drivers (because of the range issue on open roads) Yet for most city drivers, it's also unsuitable due to the high purchase price and because they're probably not doing enough driving to take advantage of the reduced "fuel" costs compared to a diesel hatch.
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23-04-2011, 12:27   #2
Mr.Boots
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when i fist heard of the Leaf i thought of this...

Someone going home from work..starts to snow, heating on, demister,wipers,radio...stuck in traffic, bateries cant last long.
I cant see the advantage of them over a Insight/Prius
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23-04-2011, 12:39   #3
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Considerably more energy is consumed keeping a car moving at 100-120 KM/h than at 50KM/h. More wind resistance etc...
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24-04-2011, 01:08   #4
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On my first day driving the Leaf my estimated range was a meagre 134 kilometres. At first I drove it like my old diesel car. It's not so easy to explain, but as you drive the car it constantly keeps you updated with how much energy you are using or getting back through various displays on the monitor and dash. After a while you begin to notice that the throttle has quite a high resolution and this combined with the constant feedback on energy usage begins to train you to drive in a more energy efficient way. On my second day I woke up and after a full charge the car was telling me my range was 172km, it keeps a record of your driving style, so the range estimation is based on more than just how you drive on the day. It is also based on how you drove the previous days and weeks etc.

Yesterday I had to make two round trips from Celbridge to Clonee via Leixlip. There was fairly varied terrain. A few good hills, back roads and some more open roads. This is a picture of my dash after I got home, 67.9 kilometres travelled and estimated range is 101 kilometres.



The guy in that video was joking about Nissan saying you should acquire a Zen like state of mind, it's not a million miles from the truth. For me, it just made me far more acutely aware of the correlation between throttle and energy usage. I haven't had it long, but I think figuring out quickly that the throttle had such high resolution and that instead of pressing it 1cm, I could press it 5mm or less and achieve a similar result with less energy used - that was the key for me.

There are other things you start thinking about as well. Like how you don't really want to come to a stop, so instead of maintaining speed, maybe I'll just coast towards that junction (gaining some energy back in regeneration) and then having to use less energy to regain momentum as traffic has hopefully started moving again.

Of course you could do that in a petrol or diesel car, but petrol and diesel cars haven't been designed around informing you so well about your energy usage.

Coming back to how it trains you to drive more efficiently. Yesterday my wife and I drove to a restaurant to have a bite to eat. On the way over my wife drove and she started wondering out loud why the estimated range for her was going down faster than it had for me. I drove on the way home and when we got home, the estimated range was higher than when we had left the restaurant.

Anyway, I've only had the car since Thursday. These are just some of my initial thoughts on the car
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24-04-2011, 01:20   #5
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While I think of it, on the charging. That guy in the video had the Leaf plugged into an ordinary household socket. Charging from home using the free home charger that the ESB provides is a lot faster. I have the charge scheduler in the car set to start charging the car at 00:10 at night so I can take advantage of night rates. I then get an email notification once the the car is fully juiced. It went from 25~30% to 100% in 3 hours, but the dash had said 6 hours. I think the dash calculates based on the car being plugged into an ordinary 220 volt socket.
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24-04-2011, 08:24   #6
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Sadly the likes of that autocar report are to be expected and certain to be repeated. Anyone remember the top gear tesla and eagle i-thrust that killed the green stig? "Real world" driving is a very relative term. For some it may mean 200-300k per day on a motorway , others perhaps 20k of winding back roads.

I wouldn't have expected the heater or aircon to have the impact it seems to have. I doubt they used the pre-heat , pre-cool option while still plugged in to the charger.

As Sesshoumaru pointed out even the charging wasn't realistic. Any house or business in the country can have a 32amp circuit installed by a competent electrician. This reduces charge time by a huge factor.
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24-04-2011, 10:40   #7
BrianD3
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Good post, Sesshoumaru. Point taken about driving style but at a steady 60 mph on an open road there's not a whole lot that the driver can do (apart from slowing down) to improve economy. The same is true for IC engined cars but obviously reduced range is far less of an issue with them.
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24-04-2011, 18:05   #8
Sesshoumaru
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Originally Posted by BrianD3 View Post
Good post, Sesshoumaru. Point taken about driving style but at a steady 60 mph on an open road there's not a whole lot that the driver can do (apart from slowing down) to improve economy. The same is true for IC engined cars but obviously reduced range is far less of an issue with them.
It's not a perfect car, travelling at higher speeds does consume more energy. I won't try to claim it has no weak points. But on balance, for my family it suits us quite well. The odd journey down to Kerry or maybe over to Galway should be very possible once the the 50kW DC charging stations are in place. It won't be able to make those journeys as fast as an ICE vehicle, but that for us is a small sacrifice.

But yeah clearly if you need long range on a regular basis, it's not the car for you
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24-04-2011, 18:26   #9
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Yeah, great post about the whole thing Sesshoumaru. Nice to see we have at least one Leaf driver among our ranks here! I, for one am always pro change for the better, and at the moment, cars like the Leaf need to be looked at objectively and not with the "they're all sh*te" attitude some people have. Hope it works out well for you Sesshoumaru!
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24-04-2011, 18:41   #10
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I want one but only one gear is so boring. Still hoping some company will make an electric car with a 2-speed or 3 manual gearbox just like the tesla was originally supposed to be
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24-04-2011, 20:48   #11
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I want one but only one gear is so boring. Still hoping some company will make an electric car with a 2-speed or 3 manual gearbox just like the tesla was originally supposed to be
Why? The power out of an electric motor is almost flat and so, from a control point of view, changing gear would be pointless.

The tesla was originally supposed to have two gears - but only for reasons of economy.
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24-04-2011, 20:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pajo1981 View Post
Why? The power out of an electric motor is almost flat and so, from a control point of view, changing gear would be pointless.

The tesla was originally supposed to have two gears - but only for reasons of economy.
Twould still help at the low revs I'd say but probably wouldn't be much point in having more than two gears unless it was an electric SUV or another fairly heavy vehicle
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11-08-2011, 18:35   #13
Henry Ford III
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The Leaf's Achilles Heel is revealed? STG £19,000+ to replace the batteries!!!!

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/au..._cost_19k.html

Last edited by Henry Ford III; 11-08-2011 at 18:56.
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11-08-2011, 18:41   #14
LIGHTNING
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I like the idea of the electric car but all that talk about driving it like so gently that your life depends on it kinda makes me sick. Its like play petrol roulette all the time, not fun at all.

Personally I like the Opel Ampera/Volt, electric powered and if that runs out it turns on the petrol engine so your not stranded.
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11-08-2011, 18:41   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Ford III View Post
The Leaf's Achilles Heal is revealed? STG £19,000+ to replace the batteries!!!!

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/au..._cost_19k.html
Look what's besides it in the popular news:
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/au..._revealed.html
Though I doubt they'll be making it...
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