NwCali6 wrote: ↑
Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:09 pm
Once we have that known I would like to ask this, if you put a solar panel on your car and ran it to a charger that supplied the 12volt battery this should (hopefully) lessen the load of the lithium to 12volt converter system, which would, hopefully, increase the range of the drive (lithium) batteries.
It depends on the battery used. Some of us here (including myself) have switched to a Lithium 12V auto battery. The factory installed Lead Acid battery just don't survive well in a Leaf because the inherit technology of Lead needs the battery to be fully charged all the time to avoid decay. While the DC to DC converter keeps the battery charged, it's not the same kind of exercise for the battery that is installed in an ICE. When you start an ICE vehicle, you are pulling a hundred amps for a few seconds to start the car, then the alternative blast a hundred amps back into the battery and keeps it at the +14V range the entire drive. The Leaf just keeps enough voltage to run the 12V stuff (usually hangs around +13 volts), while that is enough to charge the battery, it doesn't really keep it "topped off". SLA battery work better in this kind of use so many here recycle the old Lead Acid and go with SLA, others go with the Lithium.
Having written all that... a dead or dying Lead Acid battery has just enough power to start a Leaf but not much else. A dying Lead Acid battery then turns into more of a heater, wasting energy to keep it topped off. Probably not enough to make a difference in range because of the scale of power to "push" the Leaf down the road is so many magnitudes higher than what the battery is wasting. A dying Lead Acid battery also causes CPU issues in the Leaf with phantom DTC codes or weird car behavior or issues. That's why about 99% of the responses here with troubleshooting is "check the 12V battery".
In Theory, say you installed a 1.2 kWh 12V Lithium battery (I think it would fit in holder) and did a long drive with the intent of running the Leaf until the battery was completely drained, you might save 3 or 4 miles over the *entire* trip provided you already fully charged the 12V Lithium externally before starting the trip. A battery that size would cost probably +$600, so very expensive to save only a few miles.