The car always, always, always uses the battery to power the climate control. If you are charging with a higher amperage L-2 EVSE then the current supplied exceeds the drain and the pack stays charged. However, with L-1 charging you will always have a net loss of charge, albeit a fairly modest one. The best thing to do to conserve charge is to preheat 2-5 minutes before leaving (the climate control will likely turn off after 15 minutes of preheating anyway). This will leave you with about 97% charge if you had 100% to start.I'm interested in Carwings for the added functionality of checking the car's state of charge (SoC) remotely, and also for the option of turning on climate control 20 or 30 mins before we need to drive somewhere, to reduce the drain on the Lithium Ion (Li-ION) battery.
TheMagster wrote: my wife and I just bought a Certified Pre-Owned 2015 Leaf SV with 25k miles and 12 bars for under $12k! Pretty good deal I think! For now we're charging primarily through Level 1 at home, and considering installing a Level 2.
When I went to activate Carwings, I was told that my Leaf didn't have a TCU, so that would be a $150 upgrade from a Nissan dealership. That's a flat cost, there's no monthly fees after that.
My question is, which is more useful? Or should I get both? I don't really mind the extra $180 of getting both, I just wanted to see if you think it is worth it or not.
I'll suggest that the charging timers have more value than you think: they make it reasonably easy to avoid having the car charge to 100% all the time. Nobody knows with certainty what the best policy for battery longevity is, but many agree that in general, one should try to minimize the time-integral of the major stresses: high temperature and high state-of-charge. By setting both start and end times, you can arrange for the car to add a finite amount of energy during each night. When I was employed, my daily commute was very regular: about 20 miles. One hour's charging would replace a shade more energy than the commute used; the excess would get used on the weekend, or, if it built up too much, I'd just skip plugging in one night. And in that vein, I'd suggest you'd get way more value for the money that you were considering spending on the telematics upgrade if you put it toward L2 charging at your residence. That would mitigate the admitted downside of keeping your battery at a lower state of charge: unpreparedness for unanticipated longer trips. Also, using the charge timer this way can help ensure charging at the lowest possible utility rates (if your utility offers time-of-use rate incentives).TheMagster wrote:
A bit more about how we're using the car: I work from home, so I don't have a regular commute, which means that the car's built-in charging and climate control timers aren't very useful to me. My wife is a stay-at-home mom for our 1 year old daughter. We live in the country in Northwestern Oregon, USA (lots of hilly, curvy, 2 lane highways at 55 mph...not great for mileage). The primary use case for the Leaf will be trips to town and back for shopping, errands, seeing friends, etc. That's a 30 mile round trip, plus maybe 2-4 miles of in town driving. We'll do this something like 2-3 times per week (which is why Level 1 charging is generally fine for us). Once a month or so we'll take the Leaf on a longer road trip, and we'll make use of public Level 2 and Level 3 chargers for these trips.
If you can, hedge against the possibility of a station you've just barely made it to being out of service.TheMagster wrote:
My wife loves the challenge of planning our longer road trips such that we hit as many free charging stations as possible, and get the most out of every quick charge that we need (meaning that we would arrive at the quick charge station as close to an empty battery as possible). So we make a good team!
A bit obsessive, innit?TheMagster wrote:
I'm interested in Carwings for the added functionality of checking the car's state of charge (SoC) remotely,
The dongles seem to be a bit of a grey-market commodity; even buying the same product number from someplace like Amazon won't guarantee that the unit will be the same. I bought about three of them before getting one that a) actually worked and b) had an ON/OFF switch that would let me leave it plugged in without worry about battery drain.TheMagster wrote: I'm also mildly concerned about the Bluetooth ODDB dongle draining the 12V battery
It's counter-intuitive, but that's not always a good idea. Check around to confirm this, but I think that if the car's plugged in, it will only recharge its 12V battery at times when it's actively charging the traction battery, too. If the car's left plugged in, the main traction battery will eventually charge fully, at which point it won't need recharging for months, whereas the 12V battery will drain away running various small monitoring electronics, and also suffer its own inherent discharge/sulphation/what-have-you. If you need to leave a LEAF for a week or more, leave it unplugged at 50-80% charge. And, as previously mentioned, I hold that one should avoid leaving a LEAF at 100% charge for extended periods, which is what your proposed policy will lead to. Set up one timer to replace the charge you use on a day's drive, and the other to target 100% comfortably before a typical long-trip departure time. When you plug in each evening, pick which timer should be active based on what you intend to do the next day.TheMagster wrote: the car will be plugged into Level 1 at home the vast majority of the time that it isn't in use, so this maintains the 12V battery as well as the Li-ION battery, correct?) !
I missed this. To elaborate on what Gerry wrote: the car regularly and frequently checks the status of the connection while plugged in, and once charging is over this starts to drain the 12 volt battery. So oddly enough, leaving the car plugged in while not charging is the quickest way to kill the 12 volt battery, not save it. Disconnect the car when not charging, and use a battery maintainer once a month to top it off. Happily for you, this isn't as much as issue on a 2015 as it is on, say, a 2013 Leaf.I'm also mildly concerned about the Bluetooth ODDB dongle draining the 12V battery since we aren't daily drivers (though the car will be plugged into Level 1 at home the vast majority of the time that it isn't in use, so this maintains the 12V battery as well as the Li-ION battery, correct?)
L-1 charging reliably adds about 5% charge per hour, which is roughly 4 miles' worth of charge for typical drivers. L-2 charging depends on the rated amperage of the charging station (and with earlier and S model Leafs, the onboard charger rating). You should get a good enough 'seat of the pants' idea of how far you can drive on how much charge with some experience, although it can't hurt to have LeafSpy and an appropriate dongle for it.Do you know if there's a set amount of charge that comes through in an hour of charging at L-1 and L-2? I like the idea of Timer 1 being set to just replenish the amount drained by our normal run to town (~30-32 miles), and Timer 2 (or overriding the timers altogether) to provide a full charge in preparation for a longer roadtrip. Would I need Leaf Spy Pro to get an accurate enough measurement of that 30 mile trip's energy consumption, or would it be enough to just take note of the battery's depletion (i.e. if I left the house at 100% and returned at 60%, then I can program Timer 1 to charge 40%)?
Sadly, the timers are only programmable as specific times-of-day, and then only in ten-minute intervals. This kind of thing isn't something that has to be gotten exactly right the first time; start out with a decent estimate, and refine when and if necessary. The 2011 LEAF, which was my first, had a blanket "stop charging at 80%" policy that one could select, so as long as I had that car, I just used an "end only" timer, set to finish at around 06:00 every day. Since my commute was short, I would only plug in every few days. That was pretty simple, but because the EPA (or whichever agency determines official ratings like that) decided that the advertised range had to reflect the worst-case combination of user settings, and that meant "with the stop-at-80% feature selected", it tended to make the already skimpy maximum range even shorter. Nissan promptly responded by removing the feature, so they could go back to touting the "from 100%" range. Lawyers; whaddaya gonna do? Anyway, i got into the habit of resetting the "average miles per kWh" display each morning, and watching that stat gave me a rough feeling of what my commute's needs were. For my combination of hills, surfaces, and traffic, the indicated economy tended to be around 4.5 in the summer, and maybe 3.8 in the winter. Ballparking that to 4mi/kWh, a 20 mile trip uses 5kWh. The 2016 LEAF no longer had the "80% charge" policy, so I estimated that its 6.6kW charger delivered "6kW effective" into the battery, which is 1kWh every ten minutes. My 5kWh commute therefore called for 50 minutes of charging; I set the timer for "start at 04:50, end at 05:40, everyday", and left it that way, unless (like during the winter) the average charge drifted enough to call for readjustment. OP note: an L1 charge will only deliver about 1.3kW, so you'd need about 46 minutes of L1 per kWh that you want to charge.TheMagster wrote: Levenkay, thanks for the advice on using the charging timers! Do you know if there's a set amount of charge that comes through in an hour of charging at L-1 and L-2? I like the idea of Timer 1 being set to just replenish the amount drained by our normal run to town (~30-32 miles), and Timer 2 (or overriding the timers altogether) to provide a full charge in preparation for a longer roadtrip. Would I need Leaf Spy Pro to get an accurate enough measurement of that 30 mile trip's energy consumption, or would it be enough to just take note of the battery's depletion (i.e. if I left the house at 100% and returned at 60%, then I can program Timer 1 to charge 40%)?
Hopefully, you won't need to use public charging very often, so keep it simple and just let it go to 100% . That's what'll happen anyway if you punch the "override timer" button (which you'll have to do unless you want to bother with drilling through the klunky menus to turn the everyday timer OFF). By definition, you'll soon be burning off at least some of the charge anyway, even if the car makes it to 100% before you're finished getting your nails done (or whatever it is you're doing at the public charging site). But should you hang around killing time while a public L2 reaches 100%? Golly, I wouldn't think so. If the public charger has fees, you can be sure they're way higher than you'd pay at home, so from a cost standpoint, you'd want to minimize for-fee public charging. Even if there's no cost to you, there's the question of whether that last twenty cents' worth of juice is worth your time, and whether someone else might have a more pressing need.TheMagster wrote: I understand the 50%-80% sweet spot of Li-ION charging, and of course I do want to get the longest life out of my car's battery that I can, so I'm trying to figure out a good way to achieve this with my sporadic driving habits. My plan at this point is simple: if I return home with more than 80% charge, don't plug it in. My thought was that by using NissanConnect remotely I could check the SoC periodically and stop the charge when the SoC is between 80% and 90% (yes, this is a bit obsessive, but since my car doesn't have the 80% battery mode I'm not sure what else I could do). This would be especially useful if I were using a public charger somewhere and I wasn't actually near the vehicle, maybe I'm walking around town or in a cafe a few blocks away. Leaf Spy Pro wouldn't help in this scenario, since it is limited to Bluetooth's range of 30 ft, correct? Then again, if I'm using a public charger, maybe I want to charge it up to 100% to get the most out of it?
You had gotten the impression, perhaps, that NissanConnect was useful? Sorry; charge timers are not manipulable via that app. The workaround is to use an alarm clock app on your phone to wake you up at two or three in the morning (or whatever), so you can then use the NissanConnect app to initiate charging. Or just reflect that you don't need to do this very often, start charging when you go to bed, and take whatever insignificant hit there may be to the battery's life.TheMagster wrote: I'm also getting the sense that I should use the timers to have the car reach 100% charge shortly before driving it on longer trips. So say I want to leave at 10 AM tomorrow for a longer roadtrip in which I'll definitely have to use public charging stations, and the car is currently at 50% charge, should I set the timer so that it reaches 100% charge at 9:45 AM? If that's the case, then it seems like the NissanConnect/CarWings app would be quite useful, as I could fiddle with the timers from my phone instead of having to go out to the garage to use the car's screen.
The L3 availability isn't TOO terrible; I've driven out from Portland to Astoria (which does have an L3) two or three times now on a weekend lark, just to get some Bowpicker's fish-n-chips!TheMagster wrote: My other motivation for checking the SoC remotely through NissanConnect would be to see if someone has unplugged me. Of course I can lock the EVSE to the car, but if I'm charging at L-1 in public then I can't lock the plug to the 120V outlet. The area I live in has a huge void of public chargers...most of the towns in this area have no L-3, and maybe one L-2 if you are lucky. So charging at L-1 in public is actually something I'll have to do from time to time, just to top me up enough to get to the next charger or to get home. If you use Plugshare, scroll the map over to the northern Oregon coast and you'll see what I mean..
I concocted several theories for myself to try and explain Nissan's 12V charging system, but must admit to a lack of clues. I once thought that the cutsie little solar panel in the middle of an SL's rear spoiler explained why my 2011's battery never had a problem (the person I sold it to says it's now at 90K miles and 9 capacity bars, still on original battery), but the consensus is that the solar panel's irrelevant. Still, it's just as well if Nissan assigned all its competent designers to the motor drive and braking systems, and left the 12V subsystem to the rest.TheMagster wrote:Seems totally insane to me that a car this sophisticated wouldn't maintain the 12V battery properly...and I still need to use a battery maintainer? I doubt there will be many times when I'm not driving the car at least once or twice a week, so I don't think I'll need to manually maintain the 12V battery, I certainly don't on my various ICE cars that get driven far less regularly than that. Still, good info to know, so thanks for that! I'll start unplugging the car when I notice that it isn't charging anymore.
The solar panel likely helps in cases where the car is parked in full sun for many hours most days. The most likely explanation for the issue is that either:I concocted several theories for myself to try and explain Nissan's 12V charging system, but must admit to a lack of clues. I once thought that the cutsie little Solar Panel in the middle of an SL's rear spoiler explained why my 2011's battery never had a problem (the person I sold it to says it's now at 90K miles and 9 capacity bars, still on original battery), but the consensus is that the solar panel's irrelevant. Still, it's just as well if Nissan assigned all its competent designers to the motor drive and braking systems, and left the 12V subsystem to the rest.