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.

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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.
LINK: http://www.autoworldnews.com/articles/12523/20150128/charging-your-nissan-leaf-just-got-a-lot-easier.htm

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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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