bwallach
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 6239

Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:13 pm

I have owned a LEAF (2012) for just about 3 years now. My 2 biggest issues with the car are detailed below. Does anyone know if there are any plans to address these in future models? Thanks!

1) Real world range. As some might be aware, the initial number Nissan gave on the LEAF was 100 miles per charge. That was later reduced to 73. In my experience there are 3 main things that bring this number down even further:
• Highway driving (ala 65-70 mph.. which I believe is a realistic speed).
• Winter/cold. I live in Chicago. Last year in particular was brutal, but it is common to have temperatures in 0-30 degree range (Fahrenheit) for multiple months here.
• Use of climate control (heat) during winter. This is a double whammy. The LEAF heating guzzles the battery.
When the above is taken into consideration, the “actual” range can drop by another ~50% depending on what you are doing.

2) Once the car is started and the heating activated, it takes 5-10 minutes for the actual heat to come out of the vents. Very poor and makes shorter winter drives pretty miserable (which is really all the LEAF is good for…the irony.. LOL). To be clear, I am not talking about having the entire cabin warm or reach a certain temperature…just for warm/hot air to start coming out of the vents.
2012 Nissan LEAF SL Black
  • Delivered: 12/20/2011
  • EVSE: Schneider EVlink
  • IL EPA EV Rebate Submitted: 12/21/2011
  • Rebate Received: Yes
  • Energy Consumption(so far): ~4.4 miles/KWH

garygTx
Posts: 59
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Leaf Number: 5027
Location: Garland, TX

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:25 pm

The 2011 and 2012 LEAFs just had a resistance heater, in 2013 they added a heat pump to make the heating more efficient. It takes a good bit of power to warm the car initially, then less to keep it warm. The best way to heat the cabin is to pre-heat while plugged in, or use Carwings to start the heat about 5-10 minutes before you start your commute.

The only way to fix the highway range is to get a bigger battery, or slow down to 60.
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bwallach
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 6239

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:34 pm

garygTx wrote:The 2011 and 2012 LEAFs just had a resistance heater, in 2013 they added a heat pump to make the heating more efficient. It takes a good bit of power to warm the car initially, then less to keep it warm. The best way to heat the cabin is to pre-heat while plugged in, or use Carwings to start the heat about 5-10 minutes before you start your commute.
Ok, how long before "actual" heat comes out of the vents (with the 2013)?
As far as "pre-heating" or carwings, just not very convenient or a realistic option when hopping into the car to go to the drugstore for example..

garygTx wrote:The only way to fix the highway range is to get a bigger battery, or slow down to 60.
How do you that? Do you mean buy a Tesla? Slowing down means the car no longer behaves like a car needs to...

I must say that it is disappointing that 3 years after being an early adapter with the LEAF there is really nothing new to show for. I expected there to be new developments by now.
Last edited by bwallach on Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2012 Nissan LEAF SL Black
  • Delivered: 12/20/2011
  • EVSE: Schneider EVlink
  • IL EPA EV Rebate Submitted: 12/21/2011
  • Rebate Received: Yes
  • Energy Consumption(so far): ~4.4 miles/KWH

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keydiver
Posts: 1080
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Delivery Date: 08 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 16484
Location: Hobe Sound, Florida
Contact: Website

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:54 pm

We're still 2 years away from Leaf v2.0, according to reports. The updated Leaf is *supposed* to have closer to 200 mile range. There are several threads on here about the 2017 Leaf and newer battery developments. I'm not sure which is worse: dealing with 22% loss of capacity because of the Florida heat, or the greatly diminished range you deal with over the winter. Either way, newer battery chemistry and a larger battery will go a long way to helping with both issues.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:57 pm

Ok, how long before "actual" heat comes out of the vents (with the 2013)?
Between 10 seconds and about 90 seconds, depending on the outside temp and whether the car was used recently or not. Eco mode also slows it a bit and limits how hot it gets. The heat pump is really great in mild to normally cold Winter temps. It starts to get supplanted by the resistance heater (still present in newer Leafs) as the temps fall through the twenties, and by about 14F you are mainly using resistance heat. So range with the heat pump is much better in mild Winter temps, still better with temps in the twenties and high teens, and about the same starting at about 14F and downwards from there.

One way to improve highway range a bit is to inflate the tires to 10% below the maximum printed on the sidewall, if you haven't done so already.
Last edited by LeftieBiker on Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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donald
Posts: 917
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Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:26 pm

bwallach wrote:...Does anyone know if there are any plans to address these in future models?...

1) Real world range. As some might be aware, the initial number Nissan gave on the LEAF was 100 miles per charge. That was later reduced to 73. In my experience there are 3 main things that bring this number down even further:
• Highway driving (ala 65-70 mph.. which I believe is a realistic speed).
• Winter/cold. I live in Chicago. Last year in particular was brutal, but it is common to have temperatures in 0-30 degree range (Fahrenheit) for multiple months here.
• Use of climate control (heat) during winter. This is a double whammy. The LEAF heating guzzles the battery.
When the above is taken into consideration, the “actual” range can drop by another ~50% depending on what you are doing.
Well, Nissan have clearly been thinking about what the optimum battery pack size is, and this is the only way to increase the range. Motor and electronics are already 95% efficient, or better, so if you want to push your car up to speed and through the air, that takes a given amount of energy that can only be had with bigger batteries.

But as Ghosn said, 'it is not a car for the long journeys'. You and I might do a commute of almost the entire range of the battery, but for every one of us there are dozens who only drive 5 miles, and the car is targeted at them not us. The rather strange and curious dichotomy there, though, is that if you are not commuting 50 miles a day, then the extra purchase cost will never pay back on a 5 mile a day commute by ICE. Funny little gotcha that one, isn't it!? ;)

Anyhow, yes, in cold there is actually a triple whammy. Firstly current known Li chemistries have lower capacities at lower temperatures. Secondly, the air is significantly denser taking more energy to push through it (not usually noticed in an ICE as there is some mitigation in more efficient combustion as the cylinder charge is also denser), and then third you have to put the heater on. There is also another which is that when the roads are wet (more often in winter) you get stiction losses of 5 to 10% too (It's not quite stiction, but I won't bore you with detail). EV range in winter = very problematic.

Reality is, if you use an EV like you use an ICE without any regard for the particular technology, you should bank on half of you EV range in winter compared with summer. This is what typical drivers will experience with an EV who are unlikely to change their driving style or the way they use the heater, and it is a big elephant in the EV's room.
bwallach wrote:2) Once the car is started and the heating activated, it takes 5-10 minutes for the actual heat to come out of the vents. Very poor and makes shorter winter drives pretty miserable (which is really all the LEAF is good for…the irony.. LOL). To be clear, I am not talking about having the entire cabin warm or reach a certain temperature…just for warm/hot air to start coming out of the vents.
Hmmm.. that might not actually be true. The thing is, when it is cold, everything else is cold too. You are radiating IR and nothing else is radiating IR back. This really counts as a Big Effect. It is not that the air is cold, but everything else around you is making you feel cold, and that stuff needs to get a bit warmer first before the air win!

But there is some truth that it takes a little longer, because, of course, you're heating a bulk of liquid, and all the pipework it passes through too, but I think you will likely find it is, perhaps surprisingly, a less significant factor than the fact that you're simply sitting in a cold car! In my ICE I will put a fan heater in it to heat up the insides of the car and defrost it. You 'feel' that the heat comes out much much quicker, but of course it isn't, it is simply that it is not competing with a cold interior.

So, as said, use the pre-heater! :)

bwallach
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 6239

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:13 pm

keydiver wrote:We're still 2 years away from Leaf v2.0, according to reports. The updated Leaf is *supposed* to have closer to 200 mile range. There are several threads on here about the 2017 Leaf and newer battery developments. I'm not sure which is worse: dealing with 22% loss of capacity because of the Florida heat, or the greatly diminished range you deal with over the winter. Either way, newer battery chemistry and a larger battery will go a long way to helping with both issues.
Well, they are both bad. And 2017 is too far away. That's too bad.
2012 Nissan LEAF SL Black
  • Delivered: 12/20/2011
  • EVSE: Schneider EVlink
  • IL EPA EV Rebate Submitted: 12/21/2011
  • Rebate Received: Yes
  • Energy Consumption(so far): ~4.4 miles/KWH

bwallach
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 6239

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:14 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:
Ok, how long before "actual" heat comes out of the vents (with the 2013)?
Between 10 seconds and about 90 seconds.
Thanks
2012 Nissan LEAF SL Black
  • Delivered: 12/20/2011
  • EVSE: Schneider EVlink
  • IL EPA EV Rebate Submitted: 12/21/2011
  • Rebate Received: Yes
  • Energy Consumption(so far): ~4.4 miles/KWH

bwallach
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:57 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 6239

Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:26 pm

donald wrote: Well, Nissan have clearly been thinking about what the optimum battery pack size is, and this is the only way to increase the range. Motor and electronics are already 95% efficient, or better, so if you want to push your car up to speed and through the air, that takes a given amount of energy that can only be had with bigger batteries.
Hmm..not sure about that. According to my conversations with Tesla owners the reduction in "actual" range (due to the various things cited) is SIGNIFICANTLY less. I know the Model S is in a different league with bigger battery options and much higher price tag, but somehow they figured out how to get much more juice out of an EV.
donald wrote: But as Ghosn said, 'it is not a car for the long journeys'. You and I might do a commute of almost the entire range of the battery, but for every one of us there are dozens who only drive 5 miles, and the car is targeted at them not us. The rather strange and curious dichotomy there, though, is that if you are not commuting 50 miles a day, then the extra purchase cost will never pay back on a 5 mile a day commute by ICE. Funny little gotcha that one, isn't it!? ;)
Agree on the gotcha. I am actually one of those that have a very short commute. I knew going in that worse case scenario this would be a glorified neighborhood car. So no real major pain, but I am now ready for the car to start behaving like a real car.
donald wrote: Anyhow, yes, in cold there is actually a triple whammy. Firstly current known Li chemistries have lower capacities at lower temperatures. Secondly, the air is significantly denser taking more energy to push through it (not usually noticed in an ICE as there is some mitigation in more efficient combustion as the cylinder charge is also denser), and then third you have to put the heater on. There is also another which is that when the roads are wet (more often in winter) you get stiction losses of 5 to 10% too (It's not quite stiction, but I won't bore you with detail). EV range in winter = very problematic.
Makes sense..
donald wrote: Reality is, if you use an EV like you use an ICE without any regard for the particular technology, you should bank on half of you EV range in winter compared with summer. This is what typical drivers will experience with an EV who are unlikely to change their driving style or the way they use the heater, and it is a big elephant in the EV's room.
Per my comment above, this is the not the experience with the Tesla (which is an EV too).
donald wrote: Hmmm.. that might not actually be true. The thing is, when it is cold, everything else is cold too. You are radiating IR and nothing else is radiating IR back. This really counts as a Big Effect. It is not that the air is cold, but everything else around you is making you feel cold, and that stuff needs to get a bit warmer first before the air win!
Its very true. I lived it the entire Winter and it really sucks. The heat should just come on in 1-2 mins.
2012 Nissan LEAF SL Black
  • Delivered: 12/20/2011
  • EVSE: Schneider EVlink
  • IL EPA EV Rebate Submitted: 12/21/2011
  • Rebate Received: Yes
  • Energy Consumption(so far): ~4.4 miles/KWH

LeftieBiker
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Re: Range and heat activation Issues

Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:58 pm

bwallach wrote:
LeftieBiker wrote:
Ok, how long before "actual" heat comes out of the vents (with the 2013)?
Between 10 seconds and about 90 seconds.
Thanks
Keep in mind that the base S model still doesn't have the heat pump as of now, IIRC.
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2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
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PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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