Cold weather, at night with lights on--that's got to be a real challenge for this type of vehicle. Maybe there will be a planning app where you can enter outside temp, time when you'll be traveling and other factors, the app checks the charge status, and it gives you a best estimate of range?
Hot weather at night with lights on is a similarly big challenge.
Nissan's own simulations (discussed on livingleaf.info):
Stop-and-go traffic averaging only 6 miles per hour in 86 degree temperatures with the climate control set to max cool. Range = 47 miles.
Cross-town commute averaging 49 miles per hour on a 110 degree day with the air conditioning on. Range = 68 miles.
So Phoenix commuters who can avoid the worst of rush hour and live less than 30 miles or so from work can probably make it to work and back on a charge without having to shut off the A/C and suffer. If they guess wrong about the traffic congestion and need to shut off the A/C to avoid getting stranded, perhaps its best to keep a change of clothes in the car!
An owner of a Nissan LEAF would preheat the cabin while the car was plugged in, then used the heated seats to maintain the temperature.
The driving range estimate relies much more on driving style than temperature control. So it would be difficult to duplicate the numbers that you reflect from your driving experience.
The bottom line is that someone new to driving a Nissan LEAF cannot give it a proper review bcause it takes at least a week of daily driving, using all of the energy-saving features to learn the actual range performance of the car.
I have over 15,000 miles on my LEAF after seven months of ownership. I know my usual routes and am very pleased with the car.
Exactly my feelings after driving it for 2 weeks about 80 miles a day.It is a nice car and I enjoyed driving it.Some people are just too set in their ways.Technology changes and we should support it. Good choice Brian!
I remember reading about some electric car that covered the hood with solar panels to help power the air conditioning on hot days. (I don't remember which one was doing this).
It could even be used to keep your car charged up if you park at an airport to take a trip (but don't park in the garage!)
This article is similar to articles about diesel cars, written in the past, oh, 20 years or more. Every time a new diesel engine comes out, the car magazines tell us how smooth and quiet, and really no different from gasoline engines this new one is. But then, after the initial hype, when perhaps a newer diesel comes out, the one they were gushing over previously is smelly and clattery, and won't get out of its own way.
I've yet to experience a diesel that isn't a diesel. Even turbo diesels are still what they are.
Sounds like the Leaf is an electric whose range is in the same ballpark as all previous battery-powered electrics. For the time being, hybrids are the more practical altenative.
Back in 2005, I chose a diesel wagon over a hybrid because the highway mileage was the same and I could haul a lot more in it. For my needs it was a better choice.
I wrote about it in a previous life which you can read here: http://www.examiner.com/automotive-in-boston/diesel-is-back
Well , we are still fighting for things that are NOT important.First projection TVs were horrible, but look at the flat panels now!!! We always have to start somewhere.For simplicity and quality Leaf beats Volt many times over.Price? I would buy Leaf tomorrow , but I live in Michigan which has an insane climate that would destroy batteries fast.For now we have to understand that Leaf is NOT marketed for cold climates and hot weather will not hurt batteries to the extend of needing a replacement.I did have an occasion to drive Leaf in Texas for a few weeks and I love this car.It is simple, elegant , very responsive and gives you a feeling of safe vehicle. I will not go into politics of oil moguls and differences of quality between different brands.Like I said ,if I had a choice of EVERYDAY go to work car there is no other that I would choose ,but Leaf.We have an ultra-efficient solar batteries available now, that can be incorporated into a body and help with trickle charge.....and you cannot charge any car in 30 minutes.Choice for now is clear LEAF!!!!And to all critics I have one word that should be popular in an engineering world: PATIENCE!!!
"And to all critics I have one word that should be popular in an engineering world: PATIENCE!!!"
Yeah. I'm still waiting for that flying car I read about in Popular Mechanics in the 1950s. And the rocket back-pack...
Notwitstanding the solar charge option, isn't the Leaf really powered by coal, nuclear and natural gas using steam? (Sure you can throw in some hydro and wind but not much.)
Limited range all-electric cars exist for one reason and one reason only: To limit your mobility and free movement.
Average American drives to work 40 miles and it looks like leaf is perfect.
No Leaf is not powered only by sourced described by you (and whet's wrong with naturel gas???)We are a bit behind the world in solar. Germans derive 40% of their electricity from solar.We didn't touch 5% yet , however we do have nice wind turbine farms (and people complain about noise)The main point is that is it impossible to make everyone happy.Be positive .ALL new discoveries take time and are expensive in an initial stage.As far as flying cars they exist and you can google them.And....there is no conspiracy with limiting your free movement.First cars were electric and moves 20mph and lasted about 40....until Deimler visited Ford, but it is a long story....maybe some other time.
I have to totally agree with this assessment. I'd love to see electrics be a real viable alternative but at the moment it's not really a good choice for general purpose transportation. Yeah ole Al Gore would love to see us all in Leafs but then again he travel around by private Jet so why listen to that idiot anyway? If you can't tell I never swallowed the global warming pill and do not think we all have to live with less.
I wore short sleeves & no jacket this morning; as I type this it's 38F outside (southeast Michigan, 9:20 AM).
42F is cold weather? No wonder electric vehicles aren't catching on - none of the (mostly Michigan based) executives or engineers involved would want to take one home for a test drive, at least in the winter.
"Cold weather" around here means low 20's or below. I've rarely seen it get below -10F, though. I hate to think what the range would be on a day like that - you might not make it out of the parking lot.
"42F is cold weather? No wonder electric vehicles aren't catching on - none of the (mostly Michigan based) executives or engineers involved would want to take one home for a test drive, at least in the winter."
These cars are also too light to drive in snow.
WRT the previous post:
So what if the average American only drives 40 miles to work. Maybe the "average American" might want to go somewhere after work.
There are a lot of Americans that commute very long distances just to get to whatever job they can find.
Electric cars with a 40-100 mile range may be ideal if you live in a tightly-controlled Socialist bubble.
No, they are too light for a snow ,because batteris are quite heavy,although new "compact" gasoline cars and all the new tin-can cars and too light for a snow.A distance of 100 miles is plenty for most of people , plus you can recharge it (" if you go somewhere after work") in a half hour.I just wonder how Socialist bubble got in there? Do you own a lot of stock in oil? Are New York , Houston, Dallas and Orlando the "Socialist bubbles?" Do you know that in "warm" states you have to wait for Leaf delivery for 2-3 months? They cannot make enough of them. Get in touch with a reality.In 10 years most of the cars will be electric and "smokestacks" will be seen in museums.By the way....in "Socialist bubbles" (I assume that you meant Europe) they use fast ELECTRIC trains.
The projection TV analogy may be a good example of what I've been preaching.
When projection TVs came out, I thought they were atrocious. It seemed unbelievable that anyone would buy them. I thought first of all, you need a LOT more image resolution than NSTC provides. And secondly, a direct view solution would be much better, higher contrast, higher lumens.
So did I gush over NTSC rear or front projection TVs? No. But I was super interested in developments along the lines of HDTV and digital TV.
Same with electric cars. I think using a battery as your main energy sotrage device is not going to be the long term, no-apologies solution. On the other hand, generating the electricity on board, from a source with lots of energy per weight and volume, such as a hydrocarbon fuel, THAT will be what would turn me on.
This is a very poor post. The reason for the new heating features is so that you can feel warmer using less power by heating the seats and steering wheel directly, instead of using more power to heat the air in the car, much like the way floor heating works in homes. There is no comment on how well this works nor a comparison to the version of the car without these features, and the mileage range gauge was used to measure the power used to heat the car. Folks, we LEAF owners love 99% about our cars, but we know the range “guess-o-meter” is a poor indicator of battery capacity remaining and is probably even worse for measuring capacity used. You can’t be serious that this is scientific! Yes, you need to understand the car a lot better to assess its heating and energy performance, and yes, it takes a LOT of energy to heat the air in ANY car. The reason it’s easy and “free” in an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, is because it’s so expensive. You are ALWAYS paying a LOT of money to heat your inherently very inefficient ICE car--in all weather conditions, whether you want heat or not. Your engine heat is just as abundant and expensive when it’s 100 degrees outside! With a car as efficient as an EV, you have to actually pay for what energy you use. (How novel!) Unfortunately, heating the air is slow and will use battery capacity. That’s why LEAF owners have learned it’s best to preheat the car via their charge stations before disembarking, and that’s also why Nissan added the direct heating package. It would have been useful if this article lived up to its goal of assessing those features relative to the air heater only.
P.S. The LEAF’s air conditioning is a totally different situation from its heating. After living with the car throughout one of the hottest summers on record, with many days over 100 degrees (largely thanks to our burning of fossil fuels), I found the LEAF’s cooling to work as well as virtually any ICE car’s and it uses surprisingly little battery capacity. It’s a mistake to lump together ignorance-based gripes about an EV’s heating and cooling performance.
"The all-electric Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, continued its dive in October to 849 units after its summer high point of 1,708. For November, the hatchback moved just 672 units even though company sales overall were up over 19 percent (year-on-year). So far in 2011, the Leaf has sold 8,738 copies in the U.S. and over 20,000 units around the world. The company has also set a goal of 10,000 Leaf sales in 2011, and will need to get December sales back to summer levels to meet that target.
Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today reported record November U.S. sales of 85,182 units versus 71,366 units a year earlier, an increase of 19.4 percent. Nissan Division sales also set a new November record, increasing 21.5 percent for the month to 76,754 units. Sales of Infiniti vehicles increased 3 percent from the prior year, to 8,428 units."
So the Leaf represents about 0.8% of Nissan sales. They used the word "dive."
Wow. Incredible. When will they make a wind-up model?
Nice quotes from owners. And a new phrase to add to the lexicon: "Range Anxiety."
“Went from 17 to —- to turtle to dead in about 5 miles. 2.3 miles from dealer. 4.2 miles from home. Part of me is amused that I may go down in history as the first dumbass to drive the car into submission. But I am slightly shaky and upset as I thought there should have been no problem getting home.”
Around downtown the range is down to 8 miles (still plenty to get home, which was by then 5 miles away). At the ship-canal bridge it went into turtle, I barely got off the freeway. 2 Mile from home and after about half the distance it told I would have from the airport, i.e. 13 actual miles driven, it went dead. I actually managed to drive 400 yards in turtle mode. 10:30 pm, wife and screaming kids in the car (which was blocking the right lane of a busy road), just came back from the east coast, cars zooming by and honking, several near misses.
And about the socialist bubble thingy. For one there's this $7500 tax subsidy. I don't understand why my children, their future grandchildren and their great-grandchildren should subsidize your shiny new electric "toy."
"What they don't tell you about owning an EV"
"Sometimes life seems to be a series of "gotchas," and there doesn’t seem to be an exception for owners of electric vehicles. If EVs attain the kind of wide-spread popularity their promoters hope for, buyers of Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, and similar vehicles could find unexpected bills for pole-mounted distribution transformers showing up in their mailboxes."
“I know a Tesla owner in California who had to pay $10,000 to have his transformer upgraded,” says Rahman. “That’s a bigger EV, and its charger draws 100 A. But he’d just shelled out over $100,000 on his Tesla, so spending another $10,000 was not a big deal for him.”
Internal combustion passenger vehicles are really pretty over engineered for their typical job. But the reward for that over engineering is flexibility. A car may have more metal and power than is needed for a 40 mile commute, but in return you can pile a few friends or family members into it and drive 300 miles to go skiing.
It sounds like the Leaf and other all electric vehicles are pretty much optimized and powered for commutes and around town trips. That being the case, one has to purchase and use it for that purpose. Expecting the same flexibility as you get with a conventional ICE powered car is not realistic.
Excellent point Duane. I have been trying to get it through , but you explained it in an excellent way.Like some people expect a super performance from $300 laptop.It is just a toy! Buy a $3000.00 computer and demand anything you want.Some people will just not give up.Reminds me a genius Tesla and not-so-genius Edison.We are using AC current, but most of people think that Edison had something to do with it.
Remember old camcorder batteries? Half hour was a success.....
I totally agree, except that it's not by choice. It's by necessity.
The real point is that battery electrics are starved for energy. That's not at all "by design," rather it is "by contraints created by the battery."
That being the case, they have to make compromises, and they have to be super efficient at how they dole out the little energy they have.
The nice thing about having a hydrocarbon fuel tank is the tremendous amount of energy it can hold. That's why this sort of energy storage won out.
The real achievement will be when the efficiency of an all-electric drivetrain can be combined with the energy storage capacity of a fuel tank, and get rid of that battery storage.
Good point, Bert. If batteries had the same or nearly the same energy density per pound and per $ and the same speed at replenishing that energy as gasoline, there would not be the same limitations on the utility of the vehicles.
The important point is that the vehicles do have those limitations. It's good use of technology to still build electric vehicles despite those limitations. It's poor use of marketing to not clearly target the vehicles at applications where they can succeed.
Three points here...
When do solar panels generate most of their power? During the day. And where is your work car during the day? Parked in a parking lot or underground garage. So, Government, subsidise solar installations on buildings that are used to charge EVs, and you are making good use of the peak of solar generation which would otherwise cause overcapacity problems.
Second - remember the original digital cameras? 1.3 MP if you were lucky, and 14 pics max in the memory. Look where we are now. Bert made the same point about projection TVs. Battery and charging and solar (and maybe supercapacitor)technology will evolve (read: be developed by engineers - the guys who read these columns) to overcome the current cost / capacity issues, but it won't happen overnight.
And lastly, as pointed out, it's horses for courses. What works all year in Florida and Arizona won't work in northern winters. So subsidise on a state-by-state basis, less for hybrids and more for pure EVs in southern states. A friend of mine has a Daihatsu Charade EV conversion that he drives +/- 80 km per day here in Australia and he does fine. But that wouldn't work in Michigan...
Well, it's good to know that there are some people here who are not drinking the "Leaf Kool-Aid."
I'm pretty sure the Leaf is a great car for propeller heads.
Those with a job to do and those that might feel inconvenienced by their car constantly conking out might want something that has a gas tank. Hybrids make more sense.
I'd rather my car be subservient to me than I to it. For sheeple wanting it the other way 'round go for the all-electric Leaf.
Too bad that you are not a propeller head ,but a "repeater"of what media says.I understand media part of your name, but where did you come up with technology?NOBODY is trying to make YOU buy a LEAF. We (engineers) just express our opinions and there is no need to fight with those who like progress.Your oil stocks will tank anyhow , be it sooner, or later.By the way...don't use anything battery operated(FLASHLIGHT) - it just does not work.Candles(PETROLEUM PRODUCT) are more dependant - that is , if you have matches or a lighter.
My previous reply was censored and removed.I just wanted to ask you to let peopole have their own opinion and PLEASE do not play government.We want to buy what we want.It does not matter that you have to like it.Progress withh prevail anyhow.There is NO WAY to stop electric cars.This is a future.So peace Mr Mediatechnology.Go with technology and forget media!
Thank you! For a while it was gone and I thought that I got too rough.....It is a fact that often people don't know a good thing when they see it.I drove Leaf in Texas and it was great.A lot of engineers work on novelties and I don't mean Mp3 players...I mean really cool stuff,like electric car, solar power ,paper made without use of wood and many innovative sources of energy.Are there growing pains? Sure, who could have ever avoided them.We need to be positive and see a bright , not smog dimmed future.Thank you for your explanation.
Some of my quotes are from actual owners. Others are from industry trades similar to this one. I suppose that actual Leaf owners are somehow not qualified to comment...only Leaf's cheerleaders.
No one is making me buy a Leaf yet, but with a $7500 federal tax subsidy they are making me - and everyone else her who pays US Federal Income Tax and our indebted children buy yours.
Eventually, due to CAFE standards, we will all be forced into limited range turtles.
The reason most electric cars exist is due to government mandate. It's obviously not market-driven or they wouldn't have to give money away to get you into one.
From Design News: "Cole argues that the auto industry knew that EVs and plug-in hybrids would have a slow uptake, but says that many executives were swept up in an electric vehicle euphoria that wasn't grounded in reality."
What I'm suggesting is that everyone stay grounded in reality, not euphoria.
All of those electricity-hogging Leafs (and Volts) will drive up electric rates.
If you want to drive a car that's going to conk out on you be my guest. And if you want your car to be your master go for it. For me, I'm seeing potential growth in towing "bricked" electric cars.
Horses may soon be more attractive as well since they have a longer range and less fuel cost.
Eventually a battery will be developed that has the energy density of gasoline and a 5 minute recharge. But the future is not here today.
I ask again: When will we see an all-electric Boeing 757?
All good points and I understand your position toward electric cars.As far as prices od electricity they are lower at night , about half the price, just like interruptable A/C dedicated line.I recommend that you rent a movie "Who Killed Electric Car".It is about an awesome care that GM used to produce.They did not sell them though , but leased them.Last owners tried to keep them and were forced to give them up.It was really a hi-tech car , but due to a conspiracy all of them were destroyed WITHOUT giving any reason.As far as turtles go electric cars are much faster than their gasoline counterpart.Tesla is the fastest car on Earth.Time to get into some reading about real world.Boeing 757 is fine the way it is.Eficciency of batteries are not enough , although military tested first electric plane and.....ALL DRONES are electric.Hmmmm...how those turtles make it to Iran and take pictures , not even talking about carrying heavy missles.I sense that you are a mechanical engineer? I am EE so, we will never meet in the middle.We all have different tastes and I do not want to influence , or offend anyone.Thank you for an interesting discussion.
"although military tested first electric plane and.....ALL DRONES are electric.Hmmmm...how those turtles make it to Iran and take pictures , not even talking about carrying heavy missles"
Drones don't carry passengers nor do they make trans-Atlantic flights. Most turbine aircraft can't even cold-start on battery power without an APU or power cart.
If an electric car could be produced at the sales price of a Camry, have a 300-400 mile range and be re-charged in 3-5 minutes it would sell very well.
Based on Leaf technology the batteries would have to have 3-4 times the storage density and 10 times the charging current.
As mentioned in one of the articles batteries aren't following Moore's Law and may never.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.