[Oeva-list] Today's Leaf Trip

patrick0101 at gmail.com patrick0101 at gmail.com
Sun May 22 10:00:09 PDT 2011

Earlier this week there was a thread about the difference in fuel economy
when traveling on I-5 South vs I-5 North. Here is another related anecdote.

I was out laaaate Friday night in the Leaf. Then my wife got up early
Saturday and took off in it. It was only about 80% charged (reporting 98
miles) when she left. She planned a 63 mile round trip to Woodburn and back
via I-5. 98 miles seemed like enough to make the 63 mile trip with room to
spare. When she arrived in Woodburn the car was reporting only 32 miles of
range remaining. She had driven a little more than 30 miles and used 66
"Nissan miles" in the process.

Seeing that she was not likely to make it home at that rate, she called me.
I drove to Woodburn; we swap keys and she drove off in the Prius. Now I have
the mostly drained Leaf, what am I going to do? Our portable 120V "emergency
cord" EVSE is in the mail on its way to Cali for an upgrade, so that is not
an option. No fear, my truck only had a 25 mile range when it was full, 32
is plenty. Hitting the "find nearest charging station" points me to
Wilsonville Nissan only 14 miles away. There are several route options,
the default takes me on to I-5 (the cause of this mess), so I select the
Boones Ferry option to avoid the freeway for all but a 2 mile bit.

I set off knowing I can call roadside assistance if I need it, but I really
didn't want to have my car towed after owning it for only four days. As I
start the drive my available range is actually increasing, it moved up to 34
miles and stayed there for several miles before it began the expected

14 miles later, I pull into the dealership. The drive reduced the available
range from 32 to 18 miles. The 14 mile drive used exactly 14 Nissan miles. 2
of the 12 fuel gauge bars remained. I plug in to one of the 3 stations in
the back. Nissan dealerships already have charging stations, when Chevy and
Ford start selling PEVs, the car dealerships alone would make for a nice
charging network.

I charged up there until I had plenty of juice to make it home on I-5. While
the car charged, ironically, I spent the time filling out a customer
satisfaction survey that Nissan had sent me the day before. At that moment I
was thinking about how nice a 6.6kW charger would be compare to the 3.3kW
the Leaf currently has. Heading north on I-5, I made it home with no issues.
The 18 mile drive mostly on I-5 used 36 "Nissan miles".

Lesson learned, not all miles are the same. The estimate is truly just an
estimate. Freeway speed driving uses about double the kWh per mile compared
to my typical city driving, something that I'll keep in mind when trip

Second lesson, the navigation system defaults to the fastest route. That may
not be the most efficient route. Look at all the options when using it.

All's well that ends well and now maybe she'll be less likely to take off in
"my" car. :)

Sunlight will never cost $4/gallon
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