jdsantaclarita
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:13 am

How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:26 am

Hi All,
I was excited about the leaf, did the home charger appt, was ready to click to buy it and then I started googling a bit. I found the 100 mile range is...not actually a 100 miles. And found this great forum. I am hoping you all can help me understand this a little better as I would hate to get a new car that I cant drive to work :(

I live in Santa Clarita, CA and commute to Santa Monica everyday. Its 72 miles round trip. It has all kinds of various conditions such as spurts of 80 mph freeway, bigger stretches of 65 mph fw, a few GIANT hills to climb, high winds, a TON of stop and go freeway traffic, 110* summers, a bit of freezing in winter, etc, etc. I would say my average commute time is between 45 min on an extreme off traffic time to 2 hours during heavy traffic, but probably average around 1.25 hours for 36 miles.

Reading though as much as I can I get the feeling that given my conditions..there is a chance that the leaf will not be suitable for my commute. Can someone help me understand for sure?

I am really anxious as I have a civic hybrid and my yellow HOV sticker is running out soon and I don't think I can mentally cope with losing the carpool lane given my commute.

Thanks a ton for any thoughts, advice, suggestions.

Thanks,
JD

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GeekEV
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:32 am

I don't think there IS any way to know for sure, but it does sound like it might be a bit of a push in your case. Your best bet would be to wait until you can rent or borrow one and just try it. If there's a place you can charge up at work (even if it's just a 110 outlet) you'd probably be ok. But there's only one way to find out...

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walterbays
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:55 am

jdsantaclarita wrote:Its 72 miles round trip. It has all kinds of various conditions such as spurts of 80 mph freeway, bigger stretches of 65 mph fw, a few GIANT hills to climb, high winds, a TON of stop and go freeway traffic, 110* summers, a bit of freezing in winter, etc, etc. I would say my average commute time is between 45 min on an extreme off traffic time to 2 hours during heavy traffic, but probably average around 1.25 hours for 36 miles.
The easy answer is to paraphrase J. P. Morgan: If you have to ask the range, you can't afford it. A Leaf would work well for the majority of people, but if you're not sure then maybe a Volt or plug-in Prius would work better. Or an ICE for a few years until the next generation of battery technology is available in EVs.

It could work though. You don't *have* to do the 80 mph spurts, though it sure feels like it when everyone else does. Google maps lists the fastest path at 31.7 miles, mostly freeway, 39 minutes with no traffic, 1:30 with traffic. Checking the option to avoid highways it gives 31.9 miles and 1:14 minutes.

Freeway: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 08118&z=11

No freeway: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 08118&z=11

If you could forgo the freeway and had charging at work then it looks like you could easily make the commute.
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DarkStar
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:57 am

Well, since your average is about 30 mph, I think you would be okay on most days. The most favorable range estimate I saw was 100+ miles when traveling an average of 45 mph without any climate control turned on.

Gotta agree with Zorg though, find a plug-in near work and you'll be ready to rock and roll!

I'll be commuting about 56 miles a day and currently don't plan on charging at work, however my employer has already told me that I'm more than welcome to plug in anywhere here...
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smkettner
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:33 am

I suggest you start limiting your speed to 60 mph tops for a couple weeks and see how it will be in the Leaf.
If you are just buying Leaf primarily to run single in the HOV lane maybe it is not really the car for you.

This is a crazy idea but how about moving closer to your job? That will improve your life in many ways.
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DaveinOlyWA
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:37 am

when you start thinking that 80 mph is required, i suggest you start thinking about another car. it amazes me that Cali is always whining about being broke but allows their drivers to drive like that.

you can make it, if you want to. keep in mind, AC uses much less power than heat does and that will be a huge benefit to you.

as far as range issues go, do you average 50 mpg in a Prius? or whatever you drive, are you making EPA? granted the EPA figures for this car really dont apply. (hey, they are trying, but its their first. give em time to figure it out!)
2011 SL; 44,598 mi, 87% SOH. 2013 S; 44,840 mi, 91% SOH. 2016 S30; 29,413 mi, 99% SOH. 2018 S; 25,185 mi, SOH 92.23%. 2019 S Plus; 412 mi, 99.72% SOH
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garygid
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:39 am

1. With all the driving-conditions, driving-style, lunch-time driving, demos, errands, side trips, and other variables like aging, etc...
there will MOST likely be days when you will NOT make the full round trip. Driving 75 in fast freeway traffic will "gobble" your e-fuel.

2. But, it is also very likely that you WILL be able to make the round trip occasionally, especially as you learn to drive a bit more conservatively, and while the car is newer.

3. So, #1 should not be considered a show-stopper, but rather a "reminder" to do a little advanced planning.

4. It is fairly clear that you will be able to make the 36 mile one-way trip, with some "edies" (kWh) to spare. So, working with that, plan for obtaining more e-fuel in four places:

a. At work.
b. Near work.
c. Half way home.
d. Near the 1/4 an 3/4 points of the trip.

Clearly, at work would be ideal. Any of the others will require adding some time to your trip, and having a handy (and reliable) QC station will take the least time. These should be available later this year.

For now, one would locate the Nissan dealers with L2 charging, and find other charging locations as they come on-line.

So, your task is most likely manageable, if you can charge while at work or occasionally spare the time to "show off" your EV (while it "sucks" some e-fuel).

If you cannot charge while at work, NEED to GO FAST, and are always time constrained, then this might not be the best match.

But, welcome anyway, and DO drive or ride in an EV ... it might change YOUR life.
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kolmstead
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:42 am

The Grapevine is a horrendous hill. 110 degree summertime temps, mile after mile of uphill, often at full freeway speeds. It is well known as a killer of cars. You have the worst case scenario... you'll be going down those steep hills when your battery is already full so regeneration won't be possible, and you'll be climbing them in the afternoon when it's hot and you've already used up 55 miles of your range.

The car might make the trip when the batteries are new, but in a couple of years... probably not. Much as I love the LEAF, I think you'd be better off with a hybrid.

DaveinOlyWA
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:43 am

smkettner wrote: This is a crazy idea but how about moving closer to your job? That will improve your life in many ways.
u r right. that is crazy. better to find job in Santa Clarita. does anyone live in Santa Monica anymore?
2011 SL; 44,598 mi, 87% SOH. 2013 S; 44,840 mi, 91% SOH. 2016 S30; 29,413 mi, 99% SOH. 2018 S; 25,185 mi, SOH 92.23%. 2019 S Plus; 412 mi, 99.72% SOH
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jdsantaclarita
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Re: How can I be sure the leaf will make my 72 mile LA commute?

Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:55 am

Thanks all, very good info. A quick gut response to the "need to drive fast" concept. I have struggled with this for a while as I am by nature a "speed limit" guy...after a ticket or 2...I tend to obey the rules. I am a pretty cool headed rational person..but let me tell you....driving a commute that encompasses I-5, 405, across the 101, etc...it is pretty much impossible to drive 55 or even 65 without being dangerous and/or ran off the road. Its like mad max out here in socal, especially when you have patches of grid-lock and they break free for a stretch of high speed... With that said, I try to drive like a sane person, but its probably more aggressive than most areas of the country by comparison. I think I get 45 mpg in my civic hybrid. I dont think side streets are a real option. They tend to be jam packed and would probably be more of a 2-3 hours commute. I'll have to look into the charging facilities to see if there is anything by my work that could help.

Thanks all..loving the feedback, very cool community.

Thanks,
JD

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