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IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:22 am
by ELROY
Just got my new 2012 Leaf SL last weekend.

Still kind of shocked by some of my observations, but not sure it is because of a defect or normal.

Range:

When I first purchased the car, I went up the freeway 2.5 mile (6%) grade at 60mph, the range dropped around 25 miles!
( I have since learned that highway speeds and grades kill the range on the leaf). My biggest surprise was coming back down that 2.5 mile (6%) grade, I figured I would recapture much of the energy. My range only went up 2 miles!

But besides that episode here are some of my range experiences:

BARS Start..BARS End..GOM Range Elapsed.......Actual Mileage
7..................5.............18 Miles ....................12.6 Actual .....Mostly city driving Some AC, Driver Only
6..................2.............44 Mi........................27.9 Actual .....Mostly city driving Some AC Driver Only
10................8.............29 Miles.....................8.9 Actual......Mostly city driving Some AC Driver Only

Today I just did the following trip specifically to check the range capability on the car. Drove from Camarillo to Ojai and back (Ojai is about +600ft elevation). Temps 80F. AC not used except for perhaps 3 minutes total. . Cruise control about 90% of the time. Drove to Ojai (which is 32 miles from Camarillo) in "D", and on the way back in ECO Mode. After arriving back in Camarillo, I just drove around town in the open farm roads around 40-50mph till battery bars were depleted. This trip included my wife and two kids. About 275 lbs additional over just myself.

Bars Start.....Bars End...........GOM Elapsed Range....Actual Mileage ..Comments.
12 Bars.........0 Bars...............88 Miles..................80.7 Miles ......60mph (36mi), 50mph (16mi), 40mph (mi)

So this was my most reassuring test so far. At least for the first time, the actual range was close to the predicted GOM range. My main purpose was to see how far I could go on a full 100% charge anyways.
It now says it will take 22hrs to charge.....I hate the slow charging!

Charging Questions:
I have been reading many threads on the charging options, and here are my questions I couldn’t find answers to:

a) Is it true the Level 2 chargers are more efficient than the trickle charger? 85% vs 75% or so? If so, what technically makes them more efficient?

b) When your battery deteriorates over time, how does the affect efficiency? ie, if your battery loses 20% of its capacity, does it actually take 20% less power to charge it also? Or is it wasted energy that is not recovered?

Heating Inop?:

I have read about several members with inop interior heaters on their 2012 LEAFs.
I was beginning to think the LEAF was designed with the heated seats and steering wheel since it didn't have a heater!

I have head some people say their dealership though it was a bad heater motor, some had bad control units, and others have had their poor new cars thoroughly disassembled as the techs are tryiing to figure this thing out. I would rather wait till they know for sure what is going on with this issue. Anything concrete yet on these failures?

Level 2 charging:
This is my last, and probably most important question:

I called the SCE rep and asked them about my electrical billing specifics. I am currently on what they call a "Domestic Rate Plan" It can go anywhere from .12 cents per kw/hr on tier 1 to .32 cents per kw/hr on tier 5.
With my regular home electrical needs, I am already at tier 5. So almost .50 cents an hr (1.5kw/hr charger) for 22hrs to charge this battery on the trickle charger. That’s almost $11 dollars to go 80 mlles at best. Not impressive at all considering my 2011 335d which can get (45mpg on the highway) can do the same thing on $11 with much more comfort, speed (300hp/500lbs/tq with a JBD), A/C, etc.

So it looks like I need to get the SCE TOULEV1 (Separate Meter) Plan ASAP!
It will then be .12 cent kw/hr off peak winter, and .13 cents kw/hr off peak summer. I figure this would then lower my effective price of charging the battery to $4.29. Does that sound right? But man, throw in the $2000 price of a level 2 charger set up, and with my driving (8000mi/yr), it will take a long time to recoup the costs.

I hear there were special offers by BLINK, but the rep told me there is no program in my area (93010). I’m so bummed out. I have a few questions?

a) What is the most cost effective way of getting this Level 2 charging set up at my house?
b) I have a 240V dryer outlet in the garage...but it is not on a separate meter. Wonder if they can rewire it at the box to go through a separate meter?). This would save a bunch of rewiring labor I would think.
c). I have seen ads for reworking my trickle charger for auto detect 240V input. Have people been using this method reliably and does it still have comparable efficiency ratings? I have seen the mod for as low as $250 or so.
d). Does anyone know what a plug in Blink or Aeroinvironment Level 2 charger runs? Typical Electrician charges? Where do I find someone experienced with these things, and yet reasonable in labor costs?
e) Isn't there some kind of a 30% federal rebate on the charger installations?

Sorry for all the questions...I know this is my first newbie post, but I have been reading countless posts on this forum, but still have questions.

Also, why do some people talk about the $7500 government tax rebate as something you get at the end of the year, when my dealership took it right off the purchase price of the car. Does the charger install rebates work the same way, the contractors/charger supplier discount the price you pay up front? Or do you have to file it on your tax return or something?

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:05 am
by surfingslovak
ELROY wrote: When I first purchased the car, I went up the freeway 2.5 mile (6%) grade at 60mph, the range dropped around 25 miles!
( I have since learned that highway speeds and grades kill the range on the leaf). My biggest surprise was coming back down that 2.5 mile (6%) grade, I figured I would recapture much of the energy. My range only went up 2 miles!
The sooner you stop paying attention to the numbers on the GOM, the better. It does nothing to help you predict your actual range. If anything, it induces range anxiety.
ELROY wrote: But besides that episode here are some of my range experiences:

BARS Start..BARS End..GOM Range Elapsed.......Actual Mileage
7..................5.............18 Miles ....................12.6 Actual .....Mostly city driving Some AC, Driver Only
6..................2.............44 Mi........................27.9 Actual .....Mostly city driving Some AC Driver Only
10................8.............29 Miles.....................8.9 Actual......Mostly city driving Some AC Driver Only
About 6 to 7 miles per bar, which sounds plausible. Keep in mind that bars are not very granular, and they can come and go. I used to get pretty upset when I would lose a bar when turning the car on and off. It doesn't mean anything, and there is substantial reserve once all bars have disappeared.
ELROY wrote: Today I just did the following trip specifically to check the range capability on the car. After arriving back in Camarillo, I just drove around town in the open farm roads around 40-50mph till battery bars were depleted.

Bars Start.....Bars End...........GOM Elapsed Range....Actual Mileage ..Comments.
12 Bars.........0 Bars...............88 Miles..................80.7 Miles ......60mph (36mi), 50mph (16mi), 40mph (mi)
There you go 80 miles, well done! Did you get the low battery warning? There is still about 15% of total usable energy left in the pack at that point.
ELROY wrote: At least for the first time, the actual range was close to the predicted GOM range.
The GOM lies, plain as that.
ELROY wrote: My main purpose was to see how far I could go on a full 100% charge anyways.
Well done, but I believe that you were still far from hitting turtle mode.
ELROY wrote: It now says it will take 22hrs to charge.....I hate the slow charging!
The charging display lies too. It takes about 21 hours to recharge from turtle to full, and about 17 hours to recharge from the low battery warning. About 1 kWh usable energy per hour of 120V charging.
ELROY wrote: a) Is it true the Level 2 chargers are more efficient than the trickle charger? 85% vs 75% or so? If so, what technically makes them more efficient?
Yes. It's due to fixed overhead, likely due to a cooling pump.
ELROY wrote: b) When your battery deteriorates over time, how does the affect efficiency? ie, if your battery loses 20% of its capacity, does it actually take 20% less power to charge it also? Or is it wasted energy that is not recovered?
No, the battery will simply hold less energy. Everything else stays the same. It's likely that energy economy will decline at some point due to higher internal resistance of the battery. More waste heat will be generated during charging and discharging.
ELROY wrote: e) Isn't there some kind of a 30% federal rebate on the charger installations?
This tax break was not renewed in 2011.
ELROY wrote: Sorry for all the questions...I know this is my first newbie post, but I have been reading countless posts on this forum, but still have questions.
Welcome, thanks for being part of this community, and most importantly, have fun with your Leaf!Image

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:18 am
by ebill3
You said you purchased. If your dealer allowed you a $7,500 credit, then you either leased or he gave you a heck of a deal on a purchase. If you purchased, then you should still get the tax credit, providing you have that much tax liability.

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:34 am
by ELROY
ebill3 wrote:You said you purchased. If your dealer allowed you a $7,500 credit, then you either leased or he gave you a heck of a deal on a purchase. If you purchased, then you should still get the tax credit, providing you have that much tax liability.
My mistake. It is a 39mos lease. So I guess that means I already received the full benefit at lease inception. (over the life of the lease at least).

I'm still wondering how people get 100 miles on trips...(with some reportedly doing 55-60mph freeway speeds). I'm wondering if the dealership might have the tires underinflated. Do most people follow the tire pressure recommendation from Nissan, or do they run the highest pressure possible? (What PSI?)

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:38 am
by surfingslovak
ELROY wrote:My mistake. It is a 39mos lease. So I guess that means I already received the full benefit at lease inception. (over the life of the lease at least).
Be sure to apply for CVRP, since you are in California. And please update the location information in your profile if possible.
ELROY wrote: I'm still wondering how people get 100 miles on trips...(with some reportedly doing 55-60mph freeway speeds). I'm wondering if the dealership might have the tires underinflated.
Simple, by learning new skills and by going slow on the freeway. You can read the gory details in the 100-mile club thread. Google search is your friend. Read the Wiki if you can, it's the best thing we have in absence of an FAQ.

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:12 am
by dgpcolorado
ELROY wrote:...I'm still wondering how people get 100 miles on trips...(with some reportedly doing 55-60mph freeway speeds). I'm wondering if the dealership might have the tires underinflated. Do most people follow the tire pressure recommendation from Nissan, or do they run the highest pressure possible? (What PSI?)
It is possible to do 100 miles with some 60 mph, I've done it. But 100 miles all at 60 mph is unlikely except perhaps in very warm humid temperatures (lower air density = lower drag). Most 100+ mile trips on a single charge involve at least some lower speeds. Don't get hung up on it, the LEAF really doesn't have a 100 mile range under ordinary driving conditions for most people. The EPA range of 73 miles should be easy to do while the battery is new except in very cold temperatures or poor weather conditions (rain, snow, wind).

If you haven't already done so, please take a look at Tony's range chart.


Yes, air pressure in the tires makes a difference in mileage. The pressure suggested by Nissan is 36 PSI*. Many people here run them higher than that, up to the limit marked on the tires of 44 PSI. I usually run mine at 40 PSI and no lower than 38, but I also have to deal with large elevation changes, unlike most LEAF owners). I find that my curvy mountain road handling is pretty good at 40 PSI.

There are a number of reports here that suggest that the stock tires will wear more evenly at higher pressures. FWIW.

By the way, if you turn the car on while you are filling the tires it will flash the running lights when you hit the fill limit. It seemed to flash at about 38 PSI the last time I tried it, but I suppose it depends on the accuracy of the gauge and the tire pressure sensors. Useful to know if doing a tire repair out on the road somewhere, given the lack of a spare (I carry a plug kit since the Nissan supplied goop has been reported to damage the expensive tire pressure sensor).


*Some Nissan dealers don't realize that the heavy LEAF takes higher tire pressure than other car models, so be sure to check it after picking a LEAF up from a dealer after service.

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:35 am
by dgpcolorado
ELROY wrote:...a) What is the most cost effective way of getting this Level 2 charging set up at my house?
b) I have a 240V dryer outlet in the garage...but it is not on a separate meter. Wonder if they can rewire it at the box to go through a separate meter?). This would save a bunch of rewiring labor I would think.
c). I have seen ads for reworking my trickle charger for auto detect 240V input. Have people been using this method reliably and does it still have comparable efficiency ratings? I have seen the mod for as low as $250 or so...
Since you have a 240V dryer outlet that you can use, the most cost-effective 240 Volt charging is evseupgrade.com along with a 14-30 to L6-20 plug adapter. I highly recommend that you read the evseupgrade.com home page because it has a lot of answers to FAQs.

For a separate meter, I'm not clear on whether you need it for billing with SCE or for your own use. If you just want one to track your electrical usage you can install a refurbished utility meter. I installed a refurb utility meter like the one DaveinOlyWA describes here:
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/blog.php?u=291&b=92" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Inexpensive and fairly easy as a DIY project if one is comfortable in working with electric lines, or an electrician could handle it easily. My version:
Image
Image

One more thing I'll mention, since I seem to be the only one who does it, you can string your charge cable from the ceiling of your garage to keep it off the floor and out of the way. I just use some bicycle hooks on the ceiling to hold it.
Image

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:23 pm
by DoxyLover
As for the second meter for the EV TOU plan: I am not in Southern California so I may be wrong, but I would expect SCE to require the second meter be directly hard-wired to the EVSE to prevent (or at least make it harder) to run other things like your dryer on the cheap electricity.

If, by chance, they will let you connect the second meter to an outlet, the cheapest option is http://www.evseupgrade.com. Many people on MNL, including me, have gotten the upgrade and are very happy with the result.

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:40 pm
by ELROY
dgpcolorado wrote:
ELROY wrote:...a) What is the most cost effective way of getting this Level 2 charging set up at my house?
b) I have a 240V dryer outlet in the garage...but it is not on a separate meter. Wonder if they can rewire it at the box to go through a separate meter?). This would save a bunch of rewiring labor I would think.
c). I have seen ads for reworking my trickle charger for auto detect 240V input. Have people been using this method reliably and does it still have comparable efficiency ratings? I have seen the mod for as low as $250 or so...
Since you have a 240V dryer outlet that you can use, the most cost-effective 240 Volt charging is evseupgrade.com along with a 14-30 to L6-20 plug adapter. I highly recommend that you read the evseupgrade.com home page because it has a lot of answers to FAQs.

For a separate meter, I'm not clear on whether you need it for billing with SCE or for your own use. If you just want one to track your electrical usage you can install a refurbished utility meter. I installed a refurb utility meter like the one DaveinOlyWA describes here:
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/blog.php?u=291&b=92" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Inexpensive and fairly easy as a DIY project if one is comfortable in working with electric lines, or an electrician could handle it easily. My version:
Image
Image

One more thing I'll mention, since I seem to be the only one who does it, you can string your charge cable from the ceiling of your garage to keep it off the floor and out of the way. I just use some bicycle hooks on the ceiling to hold it.
Image
I definitely have been reading up on the upgrade. From what I read, it doesn't have the full output of a dedicated L2 charger?
So instead of around 3300 watts, it would charge around 2800-watts? So roughly twice as fast as the trickle charger? How long does it take you to charge the battery generally? Is it around 10hrs instead of the usual 7hrs of a dedicated L2 charger?

Is the efficiency still in the 85% range with this modded trickle charger? Heat issues?
What about turning in the charger at the end of the lease..Is it detectable, or I would have to restore the cord back to original?
Also, is the dryer outlet with the slanted terminals (3 prong) compatible ? (or adapters needed?). Do you have the link to the website?

Yes..the only way from my to get around my SCE tier 5 costs, is to get a seperate meter.
At .32c/KWHR on the tier 5, the trickle charger runs about .50cents/hr to operate. Multiply that by 20hrs, and it is $10 to go from 40-80 miles. Not very economical at all. Like I said, my Diesel BMW can go 80 miles on $9 of fuel, cruising much faster than the LEAF. (have run in the 12's qtr mile, and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds!) My higher fwy averages on the BMW have been 45mpg. An environmental website averaged 49.x mpg in the 335d from Chicago to Newyork on 1 tank of gas! (813 miles). The new 4 cylinder diesel coming out is even more promising with around 180hp/260 Tq still.

So with a separate meter....I can get .12-.13 cents off peak rates in winter/summer. At that rate to charge the battery would only $4 Maximum. So If I can get between 40-80 miles on $40, I am ahead of petrol/diesel cars anyways.

My only fear is that with 1000/month driving, it will take forever to recoup the thousands of dollars for a L2 charger setup. So it is very intriguing to somehow bypass the current 240 volt dryer circuit though a separate utility meter...(cheaper labor costs I hope)...and then doing the evseupgrade.

And yes, I am sure Edison will not like the idea of me plugging in anything else in the 240v socket, but my dryer is gas, and the only other thing I plug in there is a 5hp air compressor with I use maybe once every 2 months. But hopefully they are not too strict about it, or will they even inspect/enforce it. I was thinking perhaps when the contractor has the wiring exposed for them, Edison would simply install their meter.

Re: IS THIS NORMAL FOR A LEAF?

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:06 pm
by ELROY
dgpcolorado wrote:
ELROY wrote:...I'm still wondering how people get 100 miles on trips...(with some reportedly doing 55-60mph freeway speeds). I'm wondering if the dealership might have the tires underinflated. Do most people follow the tire pressure recommendation from Nissan, or do they run the highest pressure possible? (What PSI?)
It is possible to do 100 miles with some 60 mph, I've done it. But 100 miles all at 60 mph is unlikely except perhaps in very warm humid temperatures (lower air density = lower drag). Most 100+ mile trips on a single charge involve at least some lower speeds. Don't get hung up on it, the LEAF really doesn't have a 100 mile range under ordinary driving conditions for most people. The EPA range of 73 miles should be easy to do while the battery is new except in very cold temperatures or poor weather conditions (rain, snow, wind).

If you haven't already done so, please take a look at Tony's range chart.


Yes, air pressure in the tires makes a difference in mileage. The pressure suggested by Nissan is 36 PSI*. Many people here run them higher than that, up to the limit marked on the tires of 44 PSI. I usually run mine at 40 PSI and no lower than 38, but I also have to deal with large elevation changes, unlike most LEAF owners). I find that my curvy mountain road handling is pretty good at 40 PSI.

There are a number of reports here that suggest that the stock tires will wear more evenly at higher pressures. FWIW.

By the way, if you turn the car on while you are filling the tires it will flash the running lights when you hit the fill limit. It seemed to flash at about 38 PSI the last time I tried it, but I suppose it depends on the accuracy of the gauge and the tire pressure sensors. Useful to know if doing a tire repair out on the road somewhere, given the lack of a spare (I carry a plug kit since the Nissan supplied goop has been reported to damage the expensive tire pressure sensor).


*Some Nissan dealers don't realize that the heavy LEAF takes higher tire pressure than other car models, so be sure to check it after picking a LEAF up from a dealer after service.
I actually carry the chart in the car. Lots of variables of course, but at least I can tell by my mi/kw what range of the chart I fall in. I average 3.2 mi/kwhr normally, but the 80 mile trip was at 4.0 mi/kwhr....(Dash Read Out) I grew three trees for the first time.
Still trying to figure out how much the ECO mode helps. It does seem to show more regen lights on general braking. Is this accurately depicting that much more regen decel/braking when in ECO mode? Why wouldnt they have designed it to regen at maximum efficiency in the first place without resorting to a separate mode?

Also...like I said...going 50-60mph in the 65mph fwy in SoCal is pretty scary at times, and I didn't hardly use the AC at all even though it was 88F. Yet when it was all said and done, with the 40mph driving mixed in, I only got 80 miles till the -- -- -- range indicator.
Does anyone know the effect of having an extra 275lbs in passengers in addition to me (175lbs).???

I read these excerpts from the forum on people going faster on the fwy for longer distances than I did on my 80 mile trip...and they still have plenty of reserve left. Thats why I was wondering if perhaps something was wrong with my battery. I have also read about perhaps the battery needs "conditioning"...by charging it to 100% three times in a row..(do you also run it down to 0% at that point?). Has anyone actually noticed their battery charge being deeper after then initial few weeks?

Also...how many people actually refrain from charging to 100% as recommended by Nissan? Is it 50% of the average charging cycles only done to 100% capacity, or less? Has been a poll on this? And is the correlation of 100% capacity charging and degradation a substantial one?

Heres an example of some of the forum accounts pertaining to range that I was envying:

I drive 76 miles RT to work 5 days a week so I too beat the EPA rating. I arive home with between 19 and 30 miles left of the 76 miles around 74 of the miles are highway at 60 to 62 mph with no AC with only small hills in ECO mode for sure. When they add some local chargers I will try to up the speed to 65 as a test with knowing I can get a charge somewhere. (Gonewild)

91 miles on Monday with mixed driving (53mi freeway/39 miles city) at speeds exceeding 70mph, ECO, no A/C. I did stop for a 45 minute level II charge during lunch but when I got home I had 12 miles of range so I think I would have squeaked in without it. I'm really digging the regen on ECO mode. I would love to have a heavy regen option in normal drive. Can somone say software fix? (LBCev)

Today on my commute home I added a bit to test my range. My normal commute is about 60 miles, Foster City to Soquel, but it involves driving Hwy 17 an 1800 feet pass. Today I drove from Foster City to Moss Landing and back to Soquel, a distance of 94.6 miles. At Moss Landing, I just made a U-turn. This was during commute and I averaged slightly more than 60 mph not counting the climb up 17 which is traffic limited to about 55. The extra bit from Santa Cruz to Moss Landing is quite hilly, but I kept up with traffic at about 63 mph most of the time. I lost the mileage remaining readout with about 8 miles left to home, but never entered turtle mode. I'm very happy with that range.
-Corwin

I drove very carefully and in ECO once. It was 56 miles from Aliso Viejo to Santa Monica. It was 50 miles of highway at 60mph and I exited the freeway at MDR with 41 miles indicated remaining. Since it was only 4 miles to the charge stations at Santa Monica Place it was a very relaxing trip to the Westside. Plus, as the computer re-adapted to the 20-30mph of stop/go surface streets we parked in SM with 41 miles remaining still showing. Good little car! (TRONZ)