So how is this possible, given what we see with other EVs? It seems clear that they have engineered it this way to give their customers a better user experience. Here is a recent quote from GM-Volt.com referencing an apparent GM design decision:
I think it would be interesting to explore what the LEAF and the discussions in this community would be like had Nissan taken this approach, but still chose not to include a TMS:larry4pyro at gmvolt wrote:I remember an Autoline episode just after GM announced they were going ahead with the Volt where a GM battery engineer stated that the Volt is being designed to still provide about 40 miles of range "at the end of battery life". That left quite an impression on me. My Volt will be 2 years old in a couple of weeks and I see no reduction in range from this time last year.
Revised 2011 Nissan LEAF Specifications:
- Battery capacity: 24kWh
- Available battery capacity: 15.75 kWh
- EPA Range: 55 miles
- Nissan Range (TM): About 60 miles
Sales of the Nissan LEAF would be well below their current levels. Many people would have simply decided that a car with a 55 or 60 mile range would not work for them.
What Nissan LEAF owners are saying about their car after two years of ownership:
- JailorSFGuy in Seattle writes: It's amazing! After two years and 50,000 miles of driving, the LEAF still goes exactly as far as it went the day I brought it home!
- azpre in AZ writes: It seems that Elon Musk was wrong about the LEAF battery not holding up in AZ without a TMS! Just like the Volt owners in AZ, our range has not changed since day one, yet we do not experience the big drop in range in the summertime they see due to the operation of their battery's TMS.
- LEAFplan in AZ writes: I have honed my hypermiling skills over many years and I have applied this knowledge to break through the magical 100-mile LEAF range barrier.
What's really happening:
- The batteries in AZ would be degrading in the LEAF just as they actually did, but no one would have hit the limit yet since cycling losses would have been limited significantly.
- This coming summer, the LEAF range in AZ would finally start to drop and likely would drop precipitously.
So, what do I take from this thought experiment?
- It seems clear why the Volt owners' experiences have been so universally positive to date.
- It also seems clear that a similar approach to the LEAF would have only kept perceptions positive for a while, but would not have prevented what happened last summer.
- No, I don't think Volt owners in AZ will deal with what LEAF owners in AZ dealt with last year, since the Volt has a battery TMS. However, I also don't think Volt owners will make it through their warranty period in AZ without a battery replacement. Fortunately, it is covered!
- Many of us who enjoy driving our EVs 75 miles or more would not be doing so had Nissan taken this approach.
- Most importantly, it will take a bit more time before we start to see the leading edge of Chevy Volt range degradation. I cannot easily predict when that will happen, but I will guess it will take about two more years. We'll see.