Give up gas completely?

Recently, Chevy announced that the 2016 Bolt will have a range of 200miles or roughly 320kms on a charge and allow for a full charge in 9 hours on a 240V charger. My current gas vehicle is getting up in years and is showing it’s age. I keep toughing it out for a couple or reasons; it’s paid for, electric cars just don’t have the range for all my needs so I keep it, hoping it will last long enough for the EV range to increase to tolerable levels.

My Nissan Leaf in comparison only does 130km on a charge and that varies on the driver, weather, road conditions, lunar cycles, etc. I need to go downtown later this week. It is approximately 70 kms each way. I’m not even certain I will make it there, let alone back. The reason I worry is that when it gets really cold, when there is any snow on the roads, the range gets cut ridiculously making it hard to feel confident I will actually make it there.

So I don’t go.

Essentially, in the winter, my Leaf is good for groceries, errands, kids activities (not all of them) and things of that nature.

All that said, with a forecasted range of 320kms, even if I cut that in half, I would have enough to make it downtown and back without an increase in blood pressure. I could also, make it to Ottawa and back potentially, assuming I am soft on the pedals and the weather cooperates.

Anything longer, I could rent a car. I have to say, that I’ve driven more than 300 on a trip only once in the last 12 months so I could definitely go all electric.

I would have to get a second charger for the garage however. Not a big deal.


Saving Our Planet One Coffee Cup at a Time

The Green Living Guy

SAN DIEGO, April 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In an effort to reduce waste from the 158 million disposable cups that are used daily in the United States, launched a national campaign today challenging Americans to make a pledge to commit to drinking from a reusable cup on Earth Day, April 22. The San Diego-based non-profit is seeking 22,000 coffee drinkers to make the Earth Day Pledge by visiting and entering their email address.National campaign seeks 22,000 coffee drinkers to commit to using a reusable cup on April 22“As drinking coffee becomes even more popular, the disposable cup has become an iconic and highly visible symbol of waste and negative environmental impact,” said Drew Beal, Chief Environmental Optimist, Kill the Cup. “By simply making a commitment to start to drink from a reusable cup on Earth Day, every American is contributing to helping save our planet for future generations one cup at a time.”

From April 2-22…

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Back on all-season tires. Finally

We had our tires changed back from winter to all-seasons. I can absolutely, without confirm that the tires made a huge dent in my range. Before I reset the clock, it was stating 4.1 km/kw. Once the all-season tires were installed, I reset the mileage clock and started to drive home, which is a small but constant uphill over about 5 kms. I easily achieved 5.5 km/kw which was already a huge improvement.

Over the next day, I drove around on a fairly diverse terrain. I even sped up to above my 100km/hr optimal speed and several times actually pushed the car and even with those moment, I registered 6.2 km/kw.

That is almost a 50% improvement in my mileage!!

I’m pretty certain now that the dealership gave me the cheapest possible tires they could not really looking out for their customer at all by giving me some low resistance tires or at least letting me  know how important that might be and letting me make a choice.

Very disappointed. I will be complaining to the dealership this week and hope to be able to afford new tires next winter.

Current range estimates on my Leaf are back where they belong – 160kms.

#Nissan #SpinelliNissan #NissanLeaf

About to remove my winter tires!!

After speaking to someone else with a Leaf who lives relatively nearby, I am inclined to believe that my winter tires are just plain crap. This person has told me they are 87% battery after 77 kms. I would be somewhere around 50%, but probably even less than that.

My guess is that the dealership gave me the cheapest possible tires they could find since they threw the tires in with the purchase of the car. They are probably not low resistance tires.

The good news is that I am having them removed Saturday the 21st. I will take note of the immediate change in range estimate. I will do a test before and immediately after to eliminate any weather differences in my estimates.

Stay tuned.

Charging Your Nissan Leaf Will Soon be a lot Easier

Nissan News and Events

Nissan recently announced that they will be adding 1,100 quick-charging stations in the U.S. for electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF by April 1st, 2016. “Access to quick chargers that can provide about 80 percent charge to a Nissan Leaf battery in less than 30 minutes has proved to increase our owner satisfaction and get more buyers to consider the benefits of an all-electric car,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and infrastructure deployment, in a company statement.

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More winter driving observations in the #NissanLeaf

Today I decided to take note of a few numbers. I’ve been curious about the actual, real-life range of the Leaf in the winter.

Driving conditions:

  • -10C
  • Some snow on side street but highways are clear
  • Heating set to 18C (minimum)
  • Winter tires
  • Set the cruise control to 102 km/h

Today’s statistics

  1. Left the house with 93 kms of range
  2. Drove 11 kms at 102km/hr
  3. Had 77 kms left when I got back, essentially using 16km of range to drive 11

So you might be tempted to say, well it is only 5 km off but I would have to point out that it is in fact 45% more than the car expected to use. Huge difference.

Others might say that this was too short a test. I disagree. I’ve been seeing this all winter, I just never wrote down any of the numbers.

The consumption meter stated 4.4 km/kw versus my summer average of 6.5, again, almost a 50% drop. You can take this a little further an estimate that the REAL range of the Leaf in the above conditions is roughly 80km only! THis has changed our use of the car dramatically. Although it still suits our needs nicely, I cannot for example, drop my kids off at the ski hill, go home, return a few hours later without charging the car in between. By my estimate, the two trips would bring me to within 6 kms of an empty battery which is way closer than I want when it is -10C out. Waiting for a tow truck in that cold doesn’t seem like much fun.

Bottom line, I still absolutely love the car, but expect a 50% drop in range in the winter. 20% for the heating, and the rest I have to attribute to the winter tires.

Bottom line, we need to charge a lot more in the winter. 

Stories from the cold snap

Very nice first hand results of Nissan Leaf in the cold. Thx for the article!

Canadian Leaf

Winter in CanadaLast month, parts of the US and Canada braced for record-breaking low temperatures as a blast of arctic air blew across North America. Here in Ottawa, the thermometer stayed below -20C for three days in a row, plunging to as low as -28C.

A temperature of -25C is an important threshold for the LEAF batteries because the chemical process that produces electricity will basically freeze at that temperature. To prevent that from happening, the battery pack is surrounded by thermal blankets and electrical heaters to keep it warm. According to the Owner’s Manual, the heaters kick in at -17C, heat up the batteries to -10C, and then turn themselves off until the battery temperature hits -17C again.

The heaters consume about 300 Watts when running, which is not a lot energy compared to what the motor uses (up to 80 kW). If the car is plugged in, the heating energy comes…

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Nissan Leaf EV Winter Range – not great so far

We put on the snow tires earlier this week and the temperature dropped below freezing as a result. Yes, we seem to control the weather. Unfortunately, this means that the heat is on in the car. Without heat, the windows tend to fog up and the ride gets uncomfortable. Saving the earth should not be an inconvenience or uncomfortable in any way 🙂 so we leave the heat on, although we keep it at 20-21C.

The range has dropped to a effective low of around 100-110kms. The range first starts at around 130lms, but tends to drop pretty fast. At the moment, I wouldn’t want to venture further than 50-60 away unless I plan on stopping somewhere to recharge.

We didn’t get the 440v charger option in the car since there are only 3 L3 charge stations in all of Quebec so that means I need to find an L2 charger which gives me roughly 1km/ 2-3 mins of charge. Not great. My wife last trip, required 2 top offs for a total charge time of 90+ minutes in order to get back home.

I really hope the next gen batteries can get me a more acceptable range in the winter. For our driving, a 300km warm weather range would be more comfortable. I estimate that would be roughly 225 in the winter or 112 km per leg of the trip which would fit 95+% of our needs. This winter, I expect I will only be able to do 80% of my trips in the Leaf.

3.5 years to go on the lease. 3.5 years for the battery technology to improve. 3.5 years to add more L3 chargers in Quebec.

3.5 years until I get rid of my gas car???  x-fingers.

Airport – Valet charging service

For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking of using the charge stations at the airport when I travel. In the past, I tried to find them, but never did. Earlier this week, I decided to Google them. Turns out they are in the short term parking lot. Yes, that’s the expensive lot. The one with valet parking! ugh.

The website had a description of the service which basically boiled down to this:

  • Drive in to the Valet parking.
  • Plug your car or go to valet desk and ask them to charge your car while you are away
  • When you get back, they will have charged your car and moved it for you.
  • They will run out and fetch the car while you wait inside
  • You pay the regular parking fees, NOT the valet or short term parking fees.
  • It cost me a small tip to the valet.
  • Didn’t have to walk a mile to my car.
  • They even loaded my luggage into the car for me!

Pretty awesome. Will definitely be doing that again!

What range do I get and is the #NissanLeaf range estimate accurate?

Individual results may vary….

After some 6000kms on the #NissanLeaf I’ve gotten a better idea of the true range of this car. Unfortunately, it really depends on who is driving it right now as well as who drove it last. The range indicator in the car uses past driving styles to estimate the range. For example, if I drive to the airport and back at 120km/h, I’ll get back home on fumes. It’s only 84kms round trip! I know, I tested this exact scenario. If my wife gets in the car next after a full charge, she might only see 110kms range for a full charge.

Now, my wife has driven the car conservatively (more on that later) and has made it MUCH further than I have. She drove almost all the way downtown and back and still had some 40+ kms on the range indicator. The estimated round-trip was a little over 125 kms, so in total maybe 165 kms total range. So the next day if I were to take the car with a full charge, the range indicator might say 170kms.

Why did she get so much more of of a single charge?

In this case, she knew she had a long drive and wasn’t sure about the charge station at the destination. Turns out it was being used by a Chevy Volt, all bloody day which is inexcusable in my opinion. So trying to avoid having to charge she drove carefully and conservatively. That means:

  • Driving in “B” mode to regenerate more aggressively
  • Speed at or below 100km/h. Btw, 70kms is best. You can see that on the dashboard but it is not a practical speed.
  • She would follow with more distance so that if the cars in front slow or stop, she can maximize the regen braking.
  • She kept the acceleration to 2-3 lights max. The Leaf has a power meter front and center that tells you how much power you are currently consuming.
  • Wasn’t a cold day, so she didn’t need the heat which siphons about 15-20% of the range.

Different driving styles. I admit I love the acceleration of this car and can’t get enough of it which is fine since I rarely drive very far so I always have enough range.

Bottom line is right now, I typically get about 120-130km on a charge. That is our new normal. Although at this time of year, we do have to use the cabin heater which does affect the range as I indicated earlier. What is the new normal?

  • Driving at 100kms
  • Using the heated seats / steering wheel heating in lieu of blasting the cabin heater
  • Always driving in “B” mode
  • Trying to keep my acceleration down to less than 50% power – sigh

The Leaf has made us all safer drivers.