brotherjethro
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:21 am
Delivery Date: 03 May 2017
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:10 pm

I had my test drive this morning: What a nice service this is. I really appreciated the relaxed, no pressure way it worked. Apparently they didn't do a good job of advertising this here in the Portland/Vancouver area, so there are many spots open. When the driver got here, he said we could do whatever we wanted, for pretty much the whole day, if we wanted -- he even suggested we could stop for a coffee somewhere and Nissan would pay for it. :)

We spent about 90 minutes total, with about an hour of that spent driving. The thing I was most interested in was the e-pedal mode. After trying it in various conditions, I believe it would be perfect for stop and go traffic, but not for general driving (for me).

Here are some of my thoughts about e-pedal:

1. It remaps the throttle response, similar to eco mode, but not as much. I was surprised by this. I don't like eco mode because of the remap, so I wasn't a fan of this aspect. Not sure why they would link these two, except (see next)...

2. Driving in this mode feels a lot like B mode at first, but when you let off the pedal enough, it starts to add friction braking. It's pretty cool, but it does mean that it takes a gentle and precise touch on the throttle to get the response you want -- much more so than driving a "normal" car, and also more than B mode. I have a feeling this is the reason they remap the throttle in this mode, to make it easier to control without tiring your foot too much.

3. Using e-pedal around town, when you need to come to a complete stop at lights and stop signs, it takes skill and planning to get the car to stop smoothly, exactly where you want it to. I'm sure you'd get used to it pretty quickly if you use this mode a lot, but I kept stopping about 10-20 feet back from where I meant to.

4. I had one really odd situation where I was driving about 20 mph down a very steep hill. Halfway down the hill I needed to make a 90 degree right turn onto another street, without a stop. I let the e-pedal slow the car, but it wasn't slowing enough, so I had to add some brake as I approached the turn. I let off as we entered the turn, hoping to accelerate, or at least maintain speed, but right then the e-pedal system decided we needed a lot of friction brake, so I had to add a bunch of throttle. It felt really unnatural and I didn't like it at all. Pretty sure my passengers felt it, too. (When I'm driving, I always feel like one of my goals is to keep my passengers from really noticing my driving in any way).

5. All of that sounds like I don't like e-pedal, but actually I think it would be perfect for stop-and-go traffic, and I might find some other situations where I like it. If I drove this car much, I'm sure I would use it.

6. B Mode still exists, and feels the same as my 2013 (yay!).

The other thing I tried was the ProPilot feature. Basically, when you're on the highway, with cruise control on, the car will try to steer itself, maintaining a centered position in your lane. I knew I wouldn't like this, as my wife's 2017 Honda CRV has this and I've tried it in there. The feeling is like someone else is trying to help you steer, and they have different ideas about where the car should be than you do. If that's the case, I'd rather they just drove, or let me do it. But of course, if you let go of the wheel, you get scolded. So it's kind of half-autonomous. And when we got to a point where two lanes merged into one, the car really wanted to ride right on the white line and was fighting against what I wanted to do, which was to stay centered. Overall, I don't get this feature. I don't know who or what it's for, but obviously some people must like it.

Our host said you can use cruise control without ProPilot, but he couldn't figure out how to disable it while we were driving. (He wisely gave up trying to fiddle with the steering wheel controls while I was driving.) I believe him that it's possible, so that's definitely something I would do.

One more feature I'll talk about: We had quite a storm here yesterday, and during my drive I had to go into the oncoming lane to avoid some tree branches on the road. When I did this, the steering wheel started vibrating exactly as if I had driven over a rumble strip on the center line. I really like this feature, because the feedback is immediate and obvious, but I was still allowed to do what I wanted. This could really save a lot of lives by alerting tired or distracted drivers.

And finally, I'll say if you live in the Portland, Oregon area, please sign up for a drive. They have a lot of open spots, even on weekends. My wife and I had fun.
2013 Pearl White SV, bought used in 2017 with only 5100 miles. Vancouver, WA.

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7385
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:09 pm

It must be nice...

That last feature is usually called "lane departure alert."
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

DarthPuppy
Posts: 483
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:57 pm

Just did my test drive. Loved it!!!

I really like our 2013 SL. Just about every aspect of Leaf 2.0 seems to me to be improved upon to make it a notch better.

I particularly liked the added safety features. During the drive, when the lane I was in unexpectedly became a freeway on ramp and I needed to get out of the lane, the lane change assist actually helped prevent an accident. I perceived and waited for a small truck in my blind spot to pass and then started to tuck in behind him, on the close side as there was another car coming up behind him in that lane. Being dark, I did not see the small, low trailer he was pulling. But the safety system did and the extra alert it gave caused me to double check and avoid the collision.

The ProPilot is interesting. I don't fully trust it but it should help to reduce accidents when used with proper oversight. You still have to pay attention as it doesn't fully perceive and make the best decisions. On the freeway portion of the drive, speed was moving about 60. But up ahead, I could see brake lights closing fast. Then the car in front of us, after slowing due to the upcoming slowdown, changed out of our lane. This created a temporary opening in front and so the Leaf started accelerating back up to freeway speed toward a rapidly approaching wall of brake lights. I chose not to test when it would perceive the upcoming stoppage and experience it performing a hard stop if it was even able to successfully do it. So I overrode by applying the brakes and bringing it down to an appropriate approach speed. Perhaps it was just about to react appropriately and I beat it by a split second. But it was rather disconcerting that it was accelerating in a situation that warranted slowing. I'm guessing they don't have it properly evaluating the relative speed of vehicles in the adjacent lanes as everyone else was slowing down at this point.

The e-pedal worked well with my driving style.

I would like a larger battery with more range, but the 2018 version will meet my commuting needs with enough safety/side-trip reserve and margin for degradation that I'll bite.

Time to contact the dealer and start converting that reservation into an actual order. 8-)

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7385
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:11 pm

Will you be able to take advantage of the tax credit either way, or only if you take delivery in 2017 and it is cut?
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

DarthPuppy
Posts: 483
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:19 pm

I suspect I will miss out on the Federal tax credit. I really need that extra range that Leaf 2.0 has over the 2017 versions of Leaf 1.x. So I'm not in a position to snatch a 2017 and that tax credit before it is removed. If the tax credit somehow survives into 2018 and I'm able to get it, I will consider myself lucky.

DaveinOlyWA
Posts: 12331
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:43 pm
Delivery Date: 10 Nov 2016
Leaf Number: 314199
Location: Olympia, WA
Contact: Website

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:10 am

DarthPuppy wrote:Just did my test drive. Loved it!!!

I really like our 2013 SL. Just about every aspect of Leaf 2.0 seems to me to be improved upon to make it a notch better.

I particularly liked the added safety features. During the drive, when the lane I was in unexpectedly became a freeway on ramp and I needed to get out of the lane, the lane change assist actually helped prevent an accident. I perceived and waited for a small truck in my blind spot to pass and then started to tuck in behind him, on the close side as there was another car coming up behind him in that lane. Being dark, I did not see the small, low trailer he was pulling. But the safety system did and the extra alert it gave caused me to double check and avoid the collision.

The ProPilot is interesting. I don't fully trust it but it should help to reduce accidents when used with proper oversight. You still have to pay attention as it doesn't fully perceive and make the best decisions. On the freeway portion of the drive, speed was moving about 60. But up ahead, I could see brake lights closing fast. Then the car in front of us, after slowing due to the upcoming slowdown, changed out of our lane. This created a temporary opening in front and so the Leaf started accelerating back up to freeway speed toward a rapidly approaching wall of brake lights. I chose not to test when it would perceive the upcoming stoppage and experience it performing a hard stop if it was even able to successfully do it. So I overrode by applying the brakes and bringing it down to an appropriate approach speed. Perhaps it was just about to react appropriately and I beat it by a split second. But it was rather disconcerting that it was accelerating in a situation that warranted slowing. I'm guessing they don't have it properly evaluating the relative speed of vehicles in the adjacent lanes as everyone else was slowing down at this point.

The e-pedal worked well with my driving style.

I would like a larger battery with more range, but the 2018 version will meet my commuting needs with enough safety/side-trip reserve and margin for degradation that I'll bite.

Time to contact the dealer and start converting that reservation into an actual order. 8-)


Did you see my 2nd Test drive review? I took the LEAF out onto the WA "rush" (greatest oxymoron in history!) hour traffic and my experience was like yours. After using the brakes twice, I decided to let the car do it on its own and yeah, the car tends to want to drive as close to its set speed as possible. I had it set to 60 mph, we were only going about 50 and car in front of me exited creating a small gap that the LEAF shot forward to cover then using FULL force regen (interested to see if any friction braking was applied) to slow dramatically.

On retrospect, I wonder if lowering the set speed closer to conditions would have made the drive more "calming?" :)
2011 SL; 44,598 miles. 2013 S; 44,840 miles.2016 S30 (build 10/2016)"low water marks" 27,000 miles.363GID Ahr 79.13Hx95.17%kwh28.1QCs238,L2's 251
My Blog; http://daveinolywa.blogspot.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

erco
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:32 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:40 pm

I had my test drive here in LA on November 15. It was Leaf #3 of 6 in the US. Beautiful white car. A nice young guy drove to my house right on time at 2 pm. He had another driver at 3:30 near me, so my friend and I had just over a hour to drive it. ProPilot only works on the freeway with lane lines on both sides of the car. Typical freeway traffic limited our speed, but it was neat to see the ProPilot working for a few minutes. Lane departure did feel just like rumble strip, very nicely integrated. E-pedal was interesting, it would take some getting used to. When I first drove the car without E-pedal, it felt familiar, just like my 2014. A little peppier. :) As an engineer, I appreciate that this "drive by wire" system is infinitely tweakable. The car defaults to feel like an ICE car with automatic transmission, to give people a familiar feel. Not that traditional ICE car controls were every optimized or well thought out, they just evolved over dozens of years. Now that we're not mechanically limited to gas pedal/carburetor linkages and automatic transmission linkages, the sky is the limit, and driver controls can improve.

Long story short, a very nice new car, and IMO it's quite amazing that the MSRP is a tad lower than Gen-1 cars. It will be interesting to see how the 2018's sell now that there is plenty of EV competition out there. Obviously many of us with Gen-1 Leafs are hoping that Nissan continues to happily support our older cars, short range and all. Replacement battery prices are always falling, and I like to think that Nissan would like to keep us happy (unpissed, anyway). Having sold more EVs than anyone, they are in a unique position to point to their large customer base (we are a valuable asset) and say, "See how happy they are?!!!" Beats a class action suit every time.
Ocean Blue 2014 S, 3.6kW OBC, no QC, purchased 10/21/17, 12 bars, Los Angeles

DarthPuppy
Posts: 483
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:37 am

One design error, IMHO anyway, is moving the econ button from the steering wheel controls to the center console. When I'm trying to merge onto a freeway and realize I need more acceleration is not the time for me to start looking at the center console to turn off the econ mode. True, it is driver error to not anticipate that and turn it off before you get onto the on ramp. But from experience, it is easy to get distracted and not have the econ mode off until you really need it off. And I find the steering wheel button much more reliably and quickly accessed on my Leaf than on my Highlander Hybrid which has it on the center console.

DarthPuppy
Posts: 483
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:50 am

DaveinOlyWA wrote: I had it set to 60 mph, we were only going about 50 and car in front of me exited creating a small gap that the LEAF shot forward to cover

I think they need to do a bit more homework on this aspect. All the other drivers were slowing on the approach to the stoppage. For the car to not perceive and make the same decisions as all the other drivers on the road is disconcerting. For it to do the exact opposite and distinctly accelerate toward a problem that all the other drivers were able to perceive and respond to by slowing down is very disconcerting. But that is part of the drawback to this being cutting edge tech and really underscores how important it is that the driver remain attentive and be ready to override when needed. I believe I can use the tech appropriately and benefit from it.

I realize there may be practical technical limitations to how far down the road it 'sees'. Perhaps it can't yet 'see' the relative speeds of the cars on both the right and left side and factor that into a decision to limit the speed differential. For the car to accelerate above the immediate surrounding speed of traffic should require affirmative input from the driver.

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OrientExpress
Forum Supporter
Posts: 1064
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:22 pm
Delivery Date: 10 May 2011
Leaf Number: 2331
Location: San Jose, Ca

Re: 2018 LEAF Test Drive Events

Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:29 am

There is an adjustment for the cruise control as to har far it sees and how quickly it accelerates back to the set maximum speed. it's on the steering wheel, and is represented on the instrument cluster bay thereat of a car and three adjustable bars.
2014 LEAF SV
Ocean Blue
Delivery May 23 2014
46,000+ miles - all 12 bars - Same range as new - No warranty issues ever!

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