agedmachine wrote:I'm finding the range isn't anywhere what I expected. I work 15.4 miles from my house, there is a steep hill to climb on the way in, and back down on the way back, (Highway 26 from the east side of Portland, OR out to Beaverton) but so far I've had to stop midway and charge this thing up downtown on both the trips I've made...
It does sound like even a pretty degraded LEAF should make a 35 mile roundtrip..
People are asking you about your car's "capacity bars". Please be sure you know that the right-hand battery gage on the instrument panel shows TWO attributes of the battery as 12-segment bar graphs: The longer, inner radial bars depict how much of your battery's maximum capacity is charged, while the outer curved segments show how much of the battery's original maximum capacity is still available. Here's a link to an article
containing an annotated picture of that portion of the display. It kind of sounds as if you're only aware of the "state of charge" portion of the display. It's those outer segments that folks are most interested in.
agedmachine wrote:Here's as accurate a run-down as I can make:
Picked up from dealership - Dash says I've got 28 miles. Drive 6.1 miles to work - dash says I've got 19 miles.
Leave work... stop in downtown Portland to charge, 9.6 miles from work - Dash says I have 9 miles left. Traffic was bad, some stop and go...
This is almost beside the point, but you mention the "stop-and-go" aspect of the drive as if it were adding further stress to your car's driving range. That would be true in an ICE vehicle, where idling the engine and/or running the transmission in a low gear wastes fuel, but an EV's range IMPROVEs in sluggish traffic (unless you're running the heater). To maximize range in an EV, generally, avoid high freeway speeds (>55-60mph) if you can .
You go on to observe that the "remaining range" numeric readings aren't consistent with observed miles driven. As you may have heard, drivers (particularly of the early model LEAFs like the one you've got) snidely refer to that display as the "Guess-O-Meter" (GOM). I've owned three LEAFs: a 2011, a 2012, and now a 2016, and certainly agree with that moniker for the '11 and '12. The range display is much better-behaved in current models. That's no help to you, I know, but you'd do better to just watch your battery bars and driving economy, It sounds as if your car's battery is more degraded than any I've driven, but if I'd suggest you get an idea of how many kWh your battery holds when full. You mentioned doing a fairly large L3 charge; L3 chargers often display how many kWh they've dispensed. Dividing that by the number of charge bars you gained from the session would give you a very crude "kWh per bar" figure, which you can then mentally multiply by whatever "miles per kWh" efficiency you're currently getting (you can set the center dashboard's console to display this) to get a "miles per bar" figure of thumb, and supplement or replace the GOM display. Note that the "miles per kWh" figure can be reset, in the same manner as the trip odometer, by pressing and holding the "switch center screen display" button down for a few seconds while the energy economy screen is showing.
I live in SW Portland, and commuted about 19 miles per day in a LEAF to a job I held in Beaverton up until December 2017. In the summer, the car would usually claim over 4.8, and sometimes as much as 5.2 mi/kWh, while in winter I usually got about 3.8. I figure I averaged a shade better than 4 mi/kWh for the year. I suggest you reset the stats at the beginning of a commute, start off with a full charge, and just do your home-to-work commute, nonstop. It isn't forecast to rain tomorrow, so try the commute route tomorrow with seat and steering-wheel heaters only (their consumption is insignificant, as is the consumption of the headlights you mentioned), and see how things look. You should get at least 3.5mi/kWh; otherwise maybe there's an alignment issue or something There are chargers in Beaverton if you're unsure of being able to make the return trip.
The Sylvan hill isn't all THAT high (something like 350 feet, I think), but if it's an issue, you could consider using the Beaverton-Hillsdale highway (OR hwy 10) instead. It would avoid some of the elevation gain, and I always found it a much less frenetic drive anyway.
Another tip: If you got the car from a dealer, they probably set the tire pressures down to Nissan's recommended 36 psi, which nearly everyone here concedes is too low. I found that running at 41psi was a lot better from a tire-wear standpoint, and also increased the driving economy. Supposedly, you trade away a bit of grip doing that, but honestly, it wasn't that great to begin with anyway.
I'll agree with others that you shouldn't buy this car if you need to replace its battery immediately in order for it to be useful to you. If the car will do your commute as is (possibly with the extra hassle of charging while you're at work, if your employer provides that capabilty; mine did, but I didn't need to use it), that's one thing, but otherwise, help yourself to one of the remaining few subsidized new EV purchases or leases, and have a considerably better experience overall.
On an optimistic note, if the car CAN make the commute now, it'll do a lot better once the weather warms up, and maybe the battery degradation will slow down (like I say, though, I haven't experienced even a one-bar-loss degradation, so check around on the forum here for the collected studies of how things vary with time).
Folk have recommended you use LeafSpy to suss out the car's battery. I'm in your area, and can offer the loan of a functional OBDII dongle. PM me if you're interested.