[Oeva-list] Testa S compared to LEAF - driving experience

Gary Graunke gary at whitecape.org
Fri Nov 8 13:49:38 PST 2013


I also am a happy Leaf owner, but took delivery of a model S last March. I
still drive both of them, though I'm driving the Tesla more and more.
Mostly, the big screen Navigation system is extremely helpful in rush hour
for finding routes that avoid backups. 
 
There are many similarities. Both hold the road well with low center of
gravity. Both have almost scary acceleration, though the Tesla is much more
so. It took me a while to learn to not press so hard on the accelerator,
even if I was passing. (At John Day, I passed a Prius going 45 with little
passing lane left-at 90 mph! I didn't want it to be that dramatic). It's
hard to believe that it is a 4500 lb car. It is a foot longer, and bit
wider. I prefer driving the smaller Leaf downtown Portland where things are
tight. The extra size and wider turning radius make the Tesla harder to
park. The Tesla backup camera does not (yet) have the wonder orange lines,
but the mirrors can tilt downward when in reverse to see the line markings.
 
The Tesla nearly instantly accelerates to however fast you want to go, and
also has much more regen, so it slows down without using the brakes. Much
faster reaction time (starts when your foot goes off the accelerator), and
if you need the brakes, they are also very effective (60-0 in 108 feet). You
don't want to stomp on them unless you have your seat belt on, and no one is
behind you. I have not yet tried to reproduce the 60-0 distance. The Tesla
regen holds it to 6 mph going down the 14% grade on Weir Road in South
Beaverton, and 7 mph going down Miller Hill Rd in Aloha. 
 
I once had a Jeep give up on passing me on US26 just as I was running out of
passing lane. I was on cruise control at 55, and it was uphill. I hit the
pedal, and instantly was going 75 mph-leaving him in the dust and merging
before my lane ran out. The Tesla can do 75 on the curves on US26 in good
weather-it does everything except see around the corner effortlessly. The
really great control makes the Tesla optimal in avoiding bad situations.
It's limited by the driver more  than the car.
 
It is really hard to maintain the speed limit without other cars to follow
because of the quiet and effortless acceleration. However, the cruise
control is wonderful, and I use it all the time when I am not in traffic. It
lets you bump up or down 5 mph, 1 mph (lighter touch). This is very handy
when entering small towns with reduced speed limits-no need to use your feet
at all! The speedometer display shows the cruise control speed, even if it
is not engaged. You can re-engage it by pulling back, suspend it my pushing
forward, and engage at the current speed by pressing up or down. 
 
The extra range (I have a P85 KWH pack, range of 270+ miles) is great.
Supercharging is much simpler and faster than Leaf DCQC and no "80% is full"
problem. Their supercharging stations have 8-12 bays, so less risk of
waiting or outage. I have a higher electric bill, since I charge more for
trips at home vs currently free DCQC on the Leaf. The Tesla is giving me 300
WH/mi, or 3.33 miles/KWH. This is worse than the Leaf, of course. It gets
better (almost 250 Wh/mi, 4 mi/KWH) at 60 mph, however, when the optional
air suspension drops to its lowest position. They have been working on
tuning the battery temperature management so it doesn't use so much
electricity when parked (I leave it in the garage to avoid wasting juice for
this). Now when it is outside in the cold overnight, it has a dotted line on
the power display showing regen and charging speeds are limited (when the
battery is low, it has a dotted line showing limited discharge wattage). I
don't miss standing out in the cold and rain at night at a DCQC so much-the
extra capacity means would do this at most every 4-5 hours of driving, and
the charging rate is faster. (A Leaf with the same battery/range would be
just as wonderful)! 
 
The 10 KW charger is great (I passed on the 20KW one). I'm sure the 6KW
charger in new Leafs is a much needed improvement. It can fully charge at
home in 9 hours, or at an RV park with 50A service. I will be buying a
Chademo-to-Tesla S adaptor when they are available. While we can go from
Mexico to Canada as of last week, the Leaf DCQC network is still very useful
for the coast and going east. 
 
Both cars have rear seats that fold down so you can haul stuff. I recently
took a 6 foot couch down to Corvallis in the Tesla. It was a tight fit, but
the hatch was fully closed.
 
I originally was going to wait until battery prices made cars with the range
of the Tesla S more affordable, but, having lost 2 wives to cancer, I
decided to go for it while I'm still healthy and able to travel. I'm looking
forward to seeing more improvements (mostly battery size) in the Leaf, and
to the Tesla more affordable car that is on the drawing board now. 
 
So the Tesla S is a luxury car. It is less efficient, but very safe and
performant. Everything is  top-notch. The 17" ipad display and long range
are currently luxuries. 
But I am not one to spend on luxury transportation in my life prior to the
model S. I would be very happy with a Leaf with the same range and somewhat
bigger display.
 
Finally, I think that having the auto manufacturer allocate part of the
price of the electric car for charging infrastructure is the right business
model. No chicken and egg-for every X hundred cars you sell, you install one
charging station (with multiple bays). This is true even if charging is not
free-just reasonable and, of course, available.
 
Gary
 
From: oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org [mailto:oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org] On
Behalf Of Dima Kukushkin
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 10:25 AM
To: OEVA List
Subject: [Oeva-list] Testa S compared to LEAF - driving experience
 
I am sure there are alot of people on this list with much greated experience
than my 20 minute test drive yesterday.  Especially if you owned Leaf before
Tesla S - how does your driving experience compare?
 
No doubt having huge battery is a big argument, but besides range,
acceleration and better put together interior - I didn't feel a whole
different from Leaf.  
Limping alone 217 in traffic I couldn't tell that Tesla felt any different
(putting steering setting in normal mode and regen at Low).
Maybe a bit quiter on high speeds.
As for interior - it is so different, that at least so far - I like Leaf's
layout more. Comfier.
 
I went for test drive with FEAR that I will fall in love with it and will
have to finance S immediately, but for happines of my family budget -  I was
happy to drive my Leaf after all.
 
Price wasn't the last argument ofcourse, but except range I couldn't find
justification for extra 60k on top of Leaf
 
 
Don't blame me thou. What is your experience?
 
Dmitry
Happy Leaf owner for 2 years with 30k miles.
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