Unreliable range issue

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New member
Dec 9, 2015
We have a 2016 Leaf with a 40 kwh battery with 40,000 miles on it – driving in NY summers and Florida winters. Scary stuff is happening on road trips, typically as we are closing in on driving 80 miles. This has happened at least 3 times since November. Here’s what we observed on a round trip Port Charlotte >< Ft. Myers Florida adventure in the middle of December:

On the return trip, with about 75 miles driven, the Battery Charge indicator made quick drop from about 40% down into 20s and then back up into 30s. Then down and up again. Meanwhile, the Miles Left gauge dropped quickly into low thirties and then back up into the mid-50s.

We Got home with 16% showing – 30 miles left, two bars. I was thinking the charge should be about 34 kWh (86%) on the 40 kWh battery. By reading my bidirectional electric meter, we only consumed 30 kWh overnight and that included heating hot water, lights, fans and the EV charge. Earlier this month (January 2024) I twice charged from 15 or 16% and only used about 23 kwh. This suggests the battery has more capacity than indicated on the gauges.

This is unnerving. It’s become risky to drive more than 80 miles. We used to feel comfortable driving 125 miles without a charging station. If anyone has any experience with these symptoms and what it means, would love to hear from you. Is this a problem of erratic gauges or the battery failing at low state of charge (or something else)?
This issue can be common for the Gen 1 Leaf, at least as far as the SOC having a lot of fluctuations in cold weather driving on a cold battery. It's also possible that the BMS is having issues tracking the battery capacity, but it can correct itself over time. The gold standard is to buy a cheap ODB-II blue-tooth connector and use LeafSpy to get direct access to the battery information so you can see what is going on behind the scenes. It can also help you determine if the issue is just flaky software or if a real problem exist in the battery and you are seeing some early signs of it.