2011 Nissan Leaf Leaves Owners Stranded: What Really Happened?

Discussion in 'Nissan' started by msirach, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    [​IMG] Leaf owner anxiety?

    [FIMG=LEFT]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Leaf_tn.jpg[/FIMG]Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield - ALLCARSELECTRIC - March 14, 2010

    This author did a very good job of contacting the owners that had the range issues. It is a much better portrayal of what the issue really is, unlike the article from Jalopnik. --Ed.

    Every new car has a few teething problems, but a few reports of Nissan's all-electric Leaf running out of charge prematurely hasn't helped the age-old stereotype that electric cars will leave their owners stranded without power.

    But are these incidents as rare as the reports suggest and what exactly happened? Who's to blame?

    A few weeks ago we heard some whisperings on the MyNissanLeaf.com forum that suggested a few 2011 Nissan Leafs which were leaving their owners stranded after prematurely running out of power.

    One owner from San Diego reported back in mid February that his 2011 Leaf reporting he only had 16 miles of range left and decided to leave the highway he was on to drive home on slower roads. Within 1 mile of leaving the offramp his Leaf died completely. So empty in fact that he was unable to turn the car off.

    While other sites quoted the posts directly, we decided to investigate. We'd found out first hand what happens when the 2011 Nissan Leaf gets low on charge last year when our John Voelcker got the chance to carry out some range tests in Nashville, but it appears in the San Diego case the car's predicted range dramatically dropped by nearly on fifth of its fully-charged capacity.... [RM]http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1056760_2011-nissan-leaf-leaves-owners-stranded-what-really-happened[/RM]
  2. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    So it keeps displaying range from the original estimate, not accounting for reduced range due to cold weather? Shouldn't it "poll" the battery periodically and adjust the estimate?
  3. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    I went to the myNissanLeaf forum too and read both accounts' threads in full as well, and came to the same conclusions... a new type of car with a new set of unknowns. Electricity is trickier than gasoline, and more....fragile, maybe, if that's the right word? A car running on electricity alone is more susceptible to fluctuations that would affect a gas powered car. Hopefully Nissan will address these issues and maybe issue an update for the computer. And until more fast charging stations pop up, people may have to rely on the kindness of strangers or find a shorter drive or different vehicle/mode of transportation... such as throwing a bike rack on the car and biking the rest of your commute if you can find a place to park the car.
  4. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    If owners would pay more attention to their system indications, they would realize that 20 miles may not mean "20 miles."
  5. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    With lithium batteries you can't rely on the voltage to give you an indicator of remaining capacity because the curve is so flat. Where it isn't flat is right up at the top end (where it rises exponentially) and the bottom end -- where it falls off precipitously. This means that the only way to know what you have is to count amp hours from full.

    I'm guessing that the inconsistency at the end of the capacity has to do with slightly reduced capacity due to colder weather (we aren't talking an extreme reduction here in terms of percentage) not being reflected in an updated "expected left" amp hour count. The rapid decline sounds like the battery pack hit that drop off and the voltage dropped out from under the system unexpectedly. It is so fast at any reasonable draw rate that the electronics wouldn't catch it immediately... especially as voltage sag is characteristic of power demand so the first stages could just look like a momentary power demand ramp up.

    It isn't quite as simple as "where's the float in that big sealed canister?" if we want to compare to conventionally powered car. ;)
  6. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    We're counting on the average driver to pick up on this? Really? ;)
  7. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Good point, Sean. I was thinking of NiMH which has a more predictable discharge curve.
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    It shouldn't be too much of a reach for the car to pay more attention to it's system indicators, and reduce it's range forcast accordingly.
  9. Bike123

    Bike123 Well-Known Member

    Fuel economy on a normal car (and especially a hypermiled one) varies pretty dramatically with topography and wind. As well as contributing to a varied "range remaining" due to energy per mile varying, it probably contributes heavily to errors in "charge remaining" calculations based on battery voltage.
  10. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    People are being lazy and taking the "estimated range remaining" as gospel.. the Leaf has a state of charge indicator, a "gas gauge". My idea is to add a couple more range indicators, one based on short term history, one on long term history and one on "ideal range". Wayne would give Nissan a quarterly report of the ideal range based on his long term loaner Leaf, Nissan would remotely reprogram all the Leafs on the market to match. Yes Wayne, lots of responsibility :)

    If you get all three displays to match for a certain time then Nissan sends you a t-shirt that says "I am greener than you".

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