bwallach wrote:...Does anyone know if there are any plans to address these in future models?...
1) Real world range. As some might be aware, the initial number Nissan gave on the LEAF was 100 miles per charge. That was later reduced to 73. In my experience there are 3 main things that bring this number down even further:
• Highway driving (ala 65-70 mph.. which I believe is a realistic speed).
• Winter/cold. I live in Chicago. Last year in particular was brutal, but it is common to have temperatures in 0-30 degree range (Fahrenheit) for multiple months here.
• Use of climate control (heat) during winter. This is a double whammy. The LEAF heating guzzles the battery.
When the above is taken into consideration, the “actual” range can drop by another ~50% depending on what you are doing.
Well, Nissan have clearly been thinking about what the optimum battery pack size is, and this is the only way to increase the range. Motor and electronics are already 95% efficient, or better, so if you want to push your car up to speed and through the air, that takes a given amount of energy that can only be had with bigger batteries.
But as Ghosn said, 'it is not a car for the long journeys'. You and I might do a commute of almost the entire range of the battery, but for every one of us there are dozens who only drive 5 miles, and the car is targeted at them not us. The rather strange and curious dichotomy there, though, is that if you are not commuting 50 miles a day, then the extra purchase cost will never pay back on a 5 mile a day commute by ICE. Funny little gotcha that one, isn't it!?
Anyhow, yes, in cold there is actually a triple whammy. Firstly current known Li chemistries have lower capacities at lower temperatures. Secondly, the air is significantly denser taking more energy to push through it (not usually noticed in an ICE as there is some mitigation in more efficient combustion as the cylinder charge is also denser), and then third you have to put the heater on. There is also another which is that when the roads are wet (more often in winter) you get stiction losses of 5 to 10% too (It's not quite stiction, but I won't bore you with detail). EV range in winter = very problematic.
Reality is, if you use an EV like you use an ICE without any regard for the particular technology, you should bank on half of you EV range in winter compared with summer. This is what typical drivers will experience with an EV who are unlikely to change their driving style or the way they use the heater, and it is a big elephant in the EV's room.
bwallach wrote:2) Once the car is started and the heating activated, it takes 5-10 minutes for the actual heat to come out of the vents. Very poor and makes shorter winter drives pretty miserable (which is really all the LEAF is good for…the irony.. LOL). To be clear, I am not talking about having the entire cabin warm or reach a certain temperature…just for warm/hot air to start coming out of the vents.
Hmmm.. that might not actually be true. The thing is, when it is cold, everything else is cold too. You are radiating IR and nothing else is radiating IR back. This really counts as a Big Effect. It is not that the air is cold, but everything else around you is making you feel cold, and that stuff needs to get a bit warmer first before the air win!
But there is some truth that it takes a little longer, because, of course, you're heating a bulk of liquid, and all the pipework it passes through too, but I think you will likely find it is, perhaps surprisingly, a less significant factor than the fact that you're simply sitting in a cold car! In my ICE I will put a fan heater in it to heat up the insides of the car and defrost it. You 'feel' that the heat comes out much much quicker, but of course it isn't, it is simply that it is not competing with a cold interior.
So, as said, use the pre-heater