@Nissan begins dealing with the Leaf's ‘range anxiety'

Discussion in 'Nissan' started by msirach, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    [​IMG] Leaf's range may vary from 62 to 138 miles

    [FIMG=LEFT]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2011_Nissan_LEAF_in_the_trees.jpg[/FIMG]Rick Kranz - AUTONEWS - October 14, 2010

    Will it get 100 miles? 62 miles? 138 miles? Does it have a hidden gas engine? --Ed.

    There's been a lot of talk about electric vehicles and that dreaded term, “range anxiety.”

    Specifically, how far will an electric vehicle travel on a charge? Some would-be buyers are concerned about getting stranded when the batteries run out of juice, maybe at night, maybe in the middle of nowhere. Nearly all automakers are developing battery-powered vehicles for sale this decade.

    To ease customers' worries, Nissan created what I would call a Rules of the Road primer that discusses the Leaf's range. The Leaf is Nissan's first mass-produced, electric vehicle. Winter driving, summer driving, high speeds, low speeds, several scenarios are described at the www.nissanusa.com Web site.

    The intent is to prevent unpleasant surprises after a Leaf purchase. Sales of the Leaf begin later this year. This is a helpful site for understanding electric vehicle technology even if you are not in the market to buy a Leaf.

    Nissan says the Leaf's range may vary from 62 to 138 miles. Why? It depends on several factors:

    •Climate control. The more extreme the temperature is outside -- real hot, real cold -- the more energy that is used to heat or cool the cabin.

    ... [RM]http://www.autonews.com/article/20101014/BLOG06/101019905/-1[/RM]
  2. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    I wonder much of a range improvement you could get by doing a complete aeromod on it. Just looking at it, there are plenty of areas where the cd could be reduced.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Basjoos:

    Probably not much... It is almost as slick as the Insight and the Insight has been known to cover over 2,000 miles on a single tank of fuel with no extra aero-modding ;)

    Good Luck

  4. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver

    I'm glad to see Nissan coming clean on their earlier "100mi" claims, which were based on a city drive cycle. 62-138 is far more plausible, and educating customers on how to drive efficiently is a great thing.

    Basjoos, I've entered the Leaf into the Coefficient of Drag Wiki at 0.28 / 6.94ft², versus 0.25 / 5.00ft² for me and roughly 0.17 / 3.38ft² for you. Compared to these giants, the Leaf is pretty unimpressive in terms of aero.

    Obviously, aeromods don't affect the Leaf's enormous rolling resistance (31% of road load at 75mph!), or the range penalty from braking. But consider the following table of speed | percent improvement in highway range for aeromodding a Leaf:

    75mph | 43% more range with AeroCivic treatment
    60mph | 35%
    45mph | 25%
    30mph | 14%

    So I see where both you and Wayne are coming from. While aero is very important for Basjoos' driving style, it's not the most important point for Wayne's. But Wayne, would you actually turn down a 14% improvement in FE for what is primarily a cosmetic consideration? I would not hesitate to have the Leaf fitted with smooth hubcaps and a Prius-style Kammback if they were offered as an option.

    The other, more important thing to consider is with a full boat tail, they could fit the car with less battery and still call it a BEV-100, thus saving money and weight. If every 100lbs of battery weight makes for 250lbs of structural, motor, and battery weight to retain performance, they could have made a really nice dent in rolling resistance, city Wh/mi, and range by aeromodding the Leaf, too. And it would be cheaper.

    Oh, I just realized why Wayne mentioned triple digit tire PSI in the last thread, too. Lower speeds and no braking means rolling resistance dominates the equation. It seldom works out that way for me. :/
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Robert:

    1) Few will drive an Aerocivic let alone take the residual value hit and 2) Members have passed the Aerocivic on the road so driving 75 mph on a continual basis is not more than likely in any of our repertoires.

    The HI-I is already more efficient than the any 90’s Civic and far safer. With today’s used Insight costs, why would you build a CX/VX with far worse emissions and lower FE?

    Regarding my own Insight, I earned its 92.8 lmpg the hard way as it was before P&G and 80 psi pressures. You can find the details at IC as I was begging hundreds of members to pull the numbers after the Prius Marathon back in 05, long after my own Insight was gone. All I ever got from the heavy hitters was theoretical BS that it does and would not work. These same guys that had lmpg’s in the 60's and 70’s :rolleyes:

    At the NESEA event in 04, the HI-I pulled in the low to mid-90's climbing and falling the NY Mountains in and around Albany to Cooperstown while at 44 psi and w/out FAS'ing. Technique work far better than any mods or the HI-I’s would not be allowing us to pull the 100 mpg numbers during the summer months.

    A lot of real engineers worked on the HI-I to make it the most fuel efficient mass produced automobile ever built and if you believe you can best them, I am sure Ford, GM and Chrysler would love to have you...

    And of course my next chance with an Insight-I was at HF2006 at 181 mpg.

    Remember the discussion we had about Cd’s? Prius’ at 0.25… Ford engineers I have spoken with as far back as 2007 have privately told me the Prius does not reach anywhere near that level in their tests on it. GM let the cat out of the bag in their own Volt vs. Prius pronouncements about a year ago. Now go put 0.28 to 0.29 in the Prius’ drag function and see how it can be rated for 48 mpg on the highway?

    And back to the topic at hand. The electric is already close to 3X’s as efficient as the ICE. A little over double the Insight’s as well.

    Anything and everything helps but it also has to provide aesthetic utility and be able to sell. Having driven the LEAF, it is the most fuel (energy) efficient vehicle we have ever driven so far… Better even than the lightweight iMiEV thanks to a 2011 to 2015 based interior and safety features.

    I think you have seen this already but I was thoroughly impressed given the results.


    This is the near term answer to our future on a global scale, not aero modding a Civic CX/VX, Prius, HCH-II or anything else with an engine. The HI-I is simply to much more efficient than any of them to bother with it. In addition, the only vehicles that probably come close to a 75 mph average would be someone living in MT. As you have seen from any number of 010 Prius aFCD’s, the average speed of just about everyone from the time they drive off the lot to the time their car goes to the scrap bin is 30 to 35 mph at best.

    For an all-highway driver, aero stuff works but in the real world, the HI-I's capability has proven itself better in its stock form if you consider an ICE. From the BEV standpoint, a Transit Connect Box will beat the Insight day in and day out and its Cd has to be close to 0.4x. We need practical OEM BEVs by the millions on the road today, not modded ones for the sake of modding.

    Good Luck

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  6. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Wayne... just curious. What (rough) percentage of the miles you put on your Insight was highway driving?
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Sean:

    90% +.

  8. VegasDude

    VegasDude I remember you from the last light

    Anyone else think that over 60 miles under the worst possible conditions is actually quite good?
  9. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I think it would easily get me to work and back twice, possibly 3 times with my game face on. Nothing to be anxious about there.
  10. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    At my last job, 62 miles would have gotten me about 6 weeks (without even trying-8+ if I really worked it) in the Leaf. Definitely no anxiety there.:D
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    The best thing about revealing the scenarios is that it gives a figure for pessimists to work from. Although 14F is a bit warmer than a cold winter morning here the return journey is likely in the 20sF so it'd balance out somewhat.

    Electric cars. Thousands of electric cars.
  12. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Yeah, 14F is warm for much of the winter here in MN. I'm interested in performance at -26F or so; we often go quite a long time without even reaching 0F for a high.
  13. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver


    I conducted an informal survey on the rural interstates of NY. I drove 70mph in a PSL 65, and counted the number of cars I passed versus those who passed me. The median speed is higher than PSL+5. Also, on urban expressways, 60mph in a 50 or 55mph zone places me in the far right lane, being passed by many and passing no-one.

    The majority of people are actually driving at speeds where aerodynamics is very important.

    The Prius' average speed may read 30-35mph, and so does my ScanGauge, which averages in all the time I spend at 0mph, and coasting up to a red light. But average speed doesn't affect fuel consumption, it's the square root of the distance-weighted average of speed squared that you should care about, and that the ScanGauge should report. My method throws out all the time spent at 0mph, and places greater emphasis on high speed travel. That number is probably closer to 60mph for people who travel substantial distances at conventional speeds, and most likely ~50mph for me, with all the city driving I do.

    Yes, I'm sure I could teach GM a thing or two about building an efficient vehicle, but it's something GM already knows. (Hey look, a boat tail!) The designers of less than optimally efficient cars are not incompetent, they just have other priorities. Fuel economy is ALWAYS left on the table, even in the case of the first-gen Insight.

    Driving style has a bigger impact than mods, no doubt, but the two are cumulative. If you need an additional 10-20% beyond what driving style alone can give you, or you find taking hypermiling to the next level to be inconsiderate to the guy behind you or too tedious, it may be time to learn how to work with fiberglass.
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Cold weather impacts traditional gas engine mileage primarily by increasing warm-up time. Once warmed up I would think it's relatively easy to warm the car's interior, with the thrown-off engine heat.

    With the Leaf, would the impact of cold weather parallel how much you decide to heat up the car's interior? In other words: if you don't mind courting hypothermia you'll see minor impact?
  15. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    You need to do it at more speeds before making that judgment.
  16. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver

    @INATM: If, at an average speed of x, more people pass me than I pass on a hundred-mile stretch of road, then the median speed is higher than my average speed. Right?
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Robert:

    And how many are traveling the Rural Interstates of NY vs. the many on city streets within the confines of NY City? NY City has a 24-hour traffic vib all its own and I cannot even begin to count the number of cars stuck on the streets in stop and crawl based parking lots from one end of the city to the other. I am not even including Long Island!

    The automobile business and fuel savings are all about volume where it makes the best bang for the buck.

    My mom does little Interstate driving but back and forth to the store, mall, and transporting her grand kids to and from restaurants and movies. I do not believe I have ever seen her 10 Prius' average speed over 28 mph and it is usually in the low 20 mph range. This is reality and thank goodness the Prius does not have a boattail attached as it would have been dead 10-years ago when it was first introduced with millions stuck driving FSP’ instead.

    The LEAF does not need boattails as it is already at least twice as efficient when driven to its limits as an Insight-I. Three times when just driven as most do.

    What the LEAF needs more than anything else is acceptance for the price it is being offered at. I think it may do well and as oil becomes more precious, it will do even better. At least I hope so anyway?

    Mod away as its your car. And watch any chance of a residual evaporate with it. Let alone your lmpg needs work from another source. That being the brain behind the wheel.

    Good Luck

  18. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    No. Example.

    100 miles.
    21 cars.
    10 at 75mph
    You at 70mph
    10 at 67.5mph.

    With a random distribution of vehicle starting points across the 100 miles the odds are that more cars will pass you than you will pass.

    Median is 70.

    You can only count faster (overtakes you) or slower (you overtake) but those numbers depend on relative speed.

    It may seems like there are lots of nut jobs felony speeding, but nut jobs are more visible because they are more likely to overtake you.

    The principle of "going with the flow" is retarded.
  19. RobertSmalls

    RobertSmalls Ecodriver

    That's a good example, and I stand corrected. While the speed where the number of overtakers = the number of overtaken is a measure of central tendancy, it's not the median unless you have a bell-shaped distribution of vehicle speeds.

    Still, I think we can all agree without anybody having to dredge up statistics that most drivers cruise above the PSL when it's not congested.
  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    It's a math problem so I'm still thinking about it. Damn you brain!

    I'll revisit later. Right now I'm going to burn some frivolous gasoline and eat out, at 65mph or less.

    There was a post on a story using GPS recordings that showed the average speed to be a bit above PSL in most states. Maine was 4th last. :D Given congestion will limit speeds I'm guessing you're right.

Share This Page