My EV Battery Life and Leaf observations.

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Jnovoseljr

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
15
Here is my EV life-long experience and response for Leaf poo-pooers out there after nearly 14 years of ownership.

1) Leaf was never designed for long range replacement of your combustion vehicle (you already know this). Most of the pollution comes from inner-city commuting and short trips, and Leaf serves those users very well.
2) It is easy to be an arm-chair engineer when things do not meet your expectations is it not? Do your research.
3) The battery life (excluding defective ones) Is more than adequate given most people throw cars away every 3-5 years.
4) Your Leaf should never be left sitting for days at a time with a charge less than 40%. For extended periods make sure it is fully charged. You should not charge it every time you take a short trip either. When practical discharge it to 25% or less prior to charging.

I own 2 Leafs. A 2011 with 172,000 miles and 9 bars SOH. The 2011 Leaf's traction battery was replaced under warranty at 108,000 miles. The second is a 2014 with 140,000 miles also with 9 bars SOH. It has its original traction battery. My wife and I travel 40 and 50 miles respectively to work each way five days a week. We charge at both ends - level 2 at work and level 2 and level 1 at home. I recommend charging them in the hot weather with the Level 1 charger when possible. We visit the dealer annually for a muti-point checkup and have any needed repairs and maintenance performed. They both have had the 12V battery replaced along with consumables likes tires (Michelin Defender 2) and brakes (Nissan).

While they are not perfect (the 2011 as you know does not manage the traction power as well as the 2014), we have been extremely pleased with their performance, reliability and convenience. When people ask me and I tell them my story, they are amazed because all you read about on the internet from the poo-pooers is what lousy vehicles they are.

I am getting ready in 2025 to acquire another Leaf or replace the traction battery in the 2014 as soon as it reaches 8 bars SOH. I have realized a huge savings in owning these cars. Together, they add $50.00 to $60.00 per month to our electric bill. Much more cost effective then a combustion vehicle and all of its maintenance costs and way more fun to drive. I have a Toyota Tundra for longer trips or extreme cold days.

We live in suburban Chicago and really like our Leafys!
 

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I live in country, but most of our trips were to town and then back. Cold start then into town for a while and return. While not the worse for internal combustion, not the best either. Electric fits the bill well. I would prefer a little more range than I have so it could make the very rare trip to the city (55 miles one way) or the other city (89 miles one way).
I think you need to journal your daily miles to see how well one will work for you. Guessing, most people think they drive more than they do, but some are the other way and guess less.
Back when I was young, few would opt for a 60's VW bug for long hiway trips, 36 hp and noisy with a poor heater, they were the local commuter car.
As cars got more expensive, the idea of a car that can't "do it all" easily, has become a hindrance to many where it can do 90% or more of the trips. This is true even when most households are multi car. However it was always such.
An electric will not likey ever be found on a remote Montana ranch, but you might find a Kie- truck.
 
Here is my EV life-long experience and response for Leaf poo-pooers out there after nearly 14 years of ownership.

1) Leaf was never designed for long range replacement of your combustion vehicle (you already know this). Most of the pollution comes from inner-city commuting and short trips, and Leaf serves those users very well.
2) It is easy to be an arm-chair engineer when things do not meet your expectations is it not? Do your research.
3) The battery life (excluding defective ones) Is more than adequate given most people throw cars away every 3-5 years.
4) Your Leaf should never be left sitting for days at a time with a charge less than 40%. For extended periods make sure it is fully charged. You should not charge it every time you take a short trip either. When practical discharge it to 25% or less prior to charging.

I own 2 Leafs. A 2011 with 172,000 miles and 9 bars SOH. The 2011 Leaf's traction battery was replaced under warranty at 108,000 miles. The second is a 2014 with 140,000 miles also with 9 bars SOH. It has its original traction battery. My wife and I travel 40 and 50 miles respectively to work each way five days a week. We charge at both ends - level 2 at work and level 2 and level 1 at home. I recommend charging them in the hot weather with the Level 1 charger when possible. We visit the dealer annually for a muti-point checkup and have any needed repairs and maintenance performed. They both have had the 12V battery replaced along with consumables likes tires (Michelin Defender 2) and brakes (Nissan).

While they are not perfect (the 2011 as you know does not manage the traction power as well as the 2014), we have been extremely pleased with their performance, reliability and convenience. When people ask me and I tell them my story, they are amazed because all you read about on the internet from the poo-pooers is what lousy vehicles they are.

I am getting ready in 2025 to acquire another Leaf or replace the traction battery in the 2014 as soon as it reaches 8 bars SOH. I have realized a huge savings in owning these cars. Together, they add $50.00 to $60.00 per month to our electric bill. Much more cost effective then a combustion vehicle and all of its maintenance costs and way more fun to drive. I have a Toyota Tundra for longer trips or extreme cold days.

We live in suburban Chicago and really like our Leafys!
Likewise!
A pair of Leafs suit ALL our needs, including 6000km 10 day roadtrips.
The two best cars I've ever owned, and, doing what I do, I've owned some cars........
Batteries both upgraded voluntarily at around the 9 year mark, so now they're both good for another 20 years with New Chemistry packs .....
😁
 
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Great observations and advice. The naysayers forget that back in the early 2010's, the only EV's were the Leaf @ $30K or a Tesla @ $80K. Yes, it's older technology, but so is the original PC that paved the way for what came later. I have a 2012 with an aftermarket 30 kWh battery w/10 bars that gives me 85 miles of range. The car runs like a top and is perfect for all my in-town driving. The only thing I cannot use it for is road trips.
 
I find the battery life advice you give surprising. It reminds me of the advice we would get for NiCad batteries of yore. Full charge to full discharge. The advice for LiCo batteries in most EVs (some new have LiFe) seems different.
We have two EVs- 2021 ID4 with 77 kWh battery for long trips and 2023 Leaf with 40 kWh for around town. We got the ID4 first. The factory setting on it is to charge to 80%, because charging to 100% reduces battery life. VW also recommends driving right away if you do charge to 100%. We have followed these guidelines and still have 100% battery heath after 40 k miles.
When I bought the Leaf, I was surprised there was no setting to automatically stop charge at 80%. I spent some time prying with Nissan Acquaintances to see if the Leaf has an LiFe battery, which LIKES being charged to 100%. Turns out it does not- same LiCo as ID4. So, I have been manually charging to 80% using a timer and wireless connection to charger.
Another analogy I heard are LiCo batteries used in some satellites in combo with solar panels- those are apparently cycled 60%-50% and in this way can last 10-15 years.
One last comment, we should not say people throw away cars after 3-5 years. Those cars continue to serve someone else as used cars, and the average car lifetime is around 14 years.
Just wanted to lay out some advice I have received to compare with yours. Respectfully yours.
 
3) The battery life (excluding defective ones) Is more than adequate given most people throw cars away every 3-5 years.
Well that's actually when the Leafs come on the occasion market: they are mostly driven new, as a leasing vehicle. After 4 or 5 years, they are being sold second hand.

So the cars should definitely have a longer life, than only 5 years.
 
I am getting ready in 2025 to acquire another Leaf or replace the traction battery in the 2014 as soon as it reaches 8 bars SOH. I have realized a huge savings in owning these cars. Together, they add $50.00 to $60.00 per month to our electric bill. Much more cost effective then a combustion vehicle and all of its maintenance costs and way more fun to drive.
Good data: I estimate my (1) Leaf added a bit less than half that amount to our electric bill (when I was driving to work daily). In fact, I saved enough vs gas in ~10 years of ownership to (almost) pay for the 24->40kWh battery upgrade I did a couple of years ago...which will probably give me at least another ~10 years of (fun) Leaf driving!
 
"4) Your Leaf should never be left sitting for days at a time with a charge less than 40%. For extended periods make sure it is fully charged. You should not charge it every time you take a short trip either. When practical discharge it to 25% or less prior to charging."

You make a couple of claims that are at odds with what has been observed about lithium batteries in general, and Leaf batteries in particular. First, leaving a Leaf or other EV with a 35 or 40% charge for an extended period is a bad idea only in frigid weather or in other situations in which the battery warmer or DC-DC converter will run often. 25% is the more generally accepted figure there. Second, running a Leaf down below 30% for no other reason than to drain it before charging is NOT a good idea. It won't cause immediate, obvious harm, but by increasing the depth of discharge, you use more of the battery's rated cycle life - and for no good reason. As noted, that's more like how one should treat a NiCad battery. I do agree that not charging just for short trips is a good idea.
 
Everyone. thanks for your input. Again, these are my observations based on my actual experience with these cars. My method of care has worked well based on the time and mileage returned by both cars.
 
Believe it or not, we also have a few people here with years - many years in some cases - of experience with the Leaf. As an example, I've been driving them since 2013, and I've written a couple of FAQ type documents on buying and driving them. And I'm a member of the second generation of Leafers here, not the first.
 
FWIW I have been deeply discharging and then fully charging my LEAFs and have had good battery life (considering my hot desert climate). You can see the results of my quarterly full discharge tests on my 2019 SL Plus in the 62 kWh battery thread. I try to have the battery between 40% and 70% SOC (state of charge) when it will be parked for extended time and never leave it fully charged for more than a day or two. I routinely park for extended time at my office or the airport and see very little loss of charge even after 2 to 4 weeks.
 
Here is my EV life-long experience and response for Leaf poo-pooers out there after nearly 14 years of ownership.

1) Leaf was never designed for long range replacement of your combustion vehicle (you already know this). Most of the pollution comes from inner-city commuting and short trips, and Leaf serves those users very well.
2) It is easy to be an arm-chair engineer when things do not meet your expectations is it not? Do your research.
3) The battery life (excluding defective ones) Is more than adequate given most people throw cars away every 3-5 years.
4) Your Leaf should never be left sitting for days at a time with a charge less than 40%. For extended periods make sure it is fully charged. You should not charge it every time you take a short trip either. When practical discharge it to 25% or less prior to charging.

I own 2 Leafs. A 2011 with 172,000 miles and 9 bars SOH. The 2011 Leaf's traction battery was replaced under warranty at 108,000 miles. The second is a 2014 with 140,000 miles also with 9 bars SOH. It has its original traction battery. My wife and I travel 40 and 50 miles respectively to work each way five days a week. We charge at both ends - level 2 at work and level 2 and level 1 at home. I recommend charging them in the hot weather with the Level 1 charger when possible. We visit the dealer annually for a muti-point checkup and have any needed repairs and maintenance performed. They both have had the 12V battery replaced along with consumables likes tires (Michelin Defender 2) and brakes (Nissan).

While they are not perfect (the 2011 as you know does not manage the traction power as well as the 2014), we have been extremely pleased with their performance, reliability and convenience. When people ask me and I tell them my story, they are amazed because all you read about on the internet from the poo-pooers is what lousy vehicles they are.

I am getting ready in 2025 to acquire another Leaf or replace the traction battery in the 2014 as soon as it reaches 8 bars SOH. I have realized a huge savings in owning these cars. Together, they add $50.00 to $60.00 per month to our electric bill. Much more cost effective then a combustion vehicle and all of its maintenance costs and way more fun to drive. I have a Toyota Tundra for longer trips or extreme cold days.

We live in suburban Chicago and really like our Leafys!
There was also one by this how-stuff-works YouTuber. He had an electric car and thought it was so very much better that he would no longer willingly buy a gas car again. The fuel up at home thing was just too good. I personally find I agree with him. I could see rubiphobes buying them just so they didn’t have to touch gas pump handles. There are likely some synthetic fabrics that gasoline melts too
 
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Believe it or not, we also have a few people here with years - many years in some cases - of experience with the Leaf. As an example, I've been driving them since 2013, and I've written a couple of FAQ type documents on buying and driving them. And I'm a member of the second generation of Leafers here, not the first.
I’m not. My dad did small Diesels though. If he was still alive he’d probably be driving a leaf… totally up his street. Man once said to me that he thought my best feature was that I’m “tighter than the paper on the wall”. And I’ve got pretty bad add, so the add tax for me is a good bit more than 30%. So I need to save where I can, and the leaf does that. Plugging in at night is also tons easier than going to the gas station. If I rented an apartment I probably wouldn’t own one. On street chargers cost 3 times as much where I am, and they’re usually full if someone hasn’t stolen the copper cables :/
I still might own a plug in hybrid though because when you can plug in it’s beautiful. An electric car and your own charger is nice enough in an urban environment that I would not go back to ICE vehicles unless forced. It’s just better, even totally ignoring the environmental stuff.

TLDNR: add tax
People with add lose on average 30% of their income a year to just stupid stuff. There are a lot of businesses that more or less live off it. That number has grown a lot since the 80’s. The subscription model is particularly bad for add sufferers. I do cost of use analysis for everything. For me advertised bargains and “we’d like to victimize you” too often mean the same thing.
 
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What happens a 2011 nissan leaf is charged by a level 2 charger during hot weather? Also, how hot is "hot"?
I assume possible heating problems. I’ve never owned a gen1 Leaf though. The thing is air cooled just like the gen2. The conversation was about level3 charging though. It’s possible that if you also put a couple of strong fans at the front with level2 it might be enough. I don’t know though. Cooler is probably better. It also might not heat up enough to be a problem. I just don’t know. Perhaps continually check battery heat so you can stop the charge if it gets too hot.
 
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