I decided to buy Gary's SOC meter kit, and I wanted to see how far I could actually drive the car. So, we set up to meet at a Nissan dealer over 60 miles from my house to get it.
I started at 100% charge, and did about 11 miles of "around town" driving before hitting the freeway at 60mph on cruise control. Burnt up bars #11 and #12.
The next 59 miles, at steady 60mph, to the south end of San Juan Capistrano left me with 1 bar remaining, with 1.6 miles burnt into that fuel bar. My range chart
predicted that I had about 16 miles remaining at 60 mph. The Battery Value from Gary's SOC display showed 52 (out of 281) before we plugged in the L2 charger for 63 minutes at the Nissan dealer.
With an estimated one mile (at 60mph) per 5 minutes of L2 charge, that should have added almost 13 miles to the calculated 16 miles remaining, for 29 total. All the numbers were adding up nicely to go 30 miles to the next stop.
Average so far was 4.4 miles/kW.
My first plan was to drive back to Oceanside at 38mph, but I think sanity prevailed. To drive back at 60mph for 30 miles, I needed three full bars, or some value over 102 (of 281) on the SOC display. When we unplugged, the display showed 105 and I had the three bars. Both my charging rule of thumb, the SOC value, and the fuel bars all indicated that 29 to 30 miles was indeed likely at 60mph. I love it when a plan comes together.
So, with virtually no reserve planned, I started the return trip at 60mph. The super intelligent navigation computer was showing out of range, of course, but surprisingly, that went away within the first few miles. The "miles to go" on the navigation and my calculated range continued to remain very, very close, and things were progressing according to plan. Plan the flight, and fly the plan. Besides, I could always slow down if my cross checks showed something not kosher.
With 13.1 miles to go, "Low Battery" popped up. Ok, chart says that I can't do that at 60mph. Hmmmmmmmmm. Have to slow down. Also, I had forgotten that the highway had a couple of hills, but not until "Very Low" popped up at 5.3 miles to go. Crap, time for emergency action to ensure mission completion.
I slowed to about 45mph, and 38mph up the last few hills. Fortunately, there wasn't lots of traffic, and I turned the emergency flashers on and kept fully to the right of the slow lane for the grand finale. Honestly, it was going to be exactly as close as I planned, but now I was wishing that I'd just spent another 10 or 15 minutes charging in Orange County. Maybe I'm getting soft. No guts, no glory !
Anyhoo, I cruised into Mossy Nissan Oceanside
without hitting Turtle, but I predict that I was within a mile of that, as it was planned to be from the start. 104.4 miles total covered, with 63 minutes of L2 charge previously. Maximum use of the equipment, and time. It was a beautiful day for walking, if it had come to that!
It was 10:43am, and the next leg was about 27.4 miles home; 27.4 multiplied by 5 minutes per mile added (for 60mph consumption) per hour of charging on L2 meant I needed 137 minutes of charging... 2 hours 17 minutes. So, I plugged in, left my courtesy charger note on the dash that had my phone number and the paper clip on a 2:00pm charge finish time. I set my iPhone for 2 hours 15 minutes, and had lunch and went shopping. There are lots of places withing walking distance, so this is a great refueling stop.
Had a nice lunch, bought some golf crap, some great maps of Baja California, walked around a bit, and it was time to hit the highway. I went 15 minutes past my calculated charging time (now 2:15pm), and then I thought that instead of going home and getting the ICE, I would just go straight to pick up my daughter at 2:30pm in the LEAF. I was late either way! Plan B was if it was going to be mega super close, I could pick her up, and charge at Mossy Poway, about 5 miles from my house. This excursion added 4 miles, and the extra 15 minutes should have only given me 3.
I had 3 fuel bars, and it would have been AWESOME to know the SOC number. Fuel bar number 3 disappeared at 8.0 miles into the trip, which was a right at expectation. The range chart now has 24 miles to go, and I only needed about 23 on the navigation screen. Press on at 60mph.
Crap. Traffic. XM wasn't showing this, and I wasn't worried about range, since slowing only helps. But, I'd be even later to pick up my daughter. This was really helping the gas mileage, since I knocked down 9.5 miles before fuel bar number 2 went bye-bye.
Traffic cleared up, and back up to 60mph. At 4.4 miles into fuel bar number 1, "Low Battery" popped up. If I added up 9.5 miles and 4.4 miles, I got 13.9, divided by two meant that I was getting well in excess of 6 miles average for each of those two, so no panic. Range chart predicted 12 miles from Low Battery as I sailed by Mossy Nissan's chargers in Escondido (you guys like the foreshadowing there? Like I'm going to Turtle it, or something
Fortunately, I only needed about 10 miles to get to my daughter's pickup point.
Almost on cue, Very Low Battery popped up after 8.1 miles, meaning I had 4 miles left, with 2 to go. I found my daughter waiting, and explained how these crazy electric cars are just so slow !!!
Could we make it the last 3 miles home, or run over to Mossy Poway for a quick blast of electrons? We'd just drive as close to 38 mph as I could, and hope for the best. Turtle mode popped up less than a mile from the house. There is one thing I have learned; don't let the car auto-shutdown. It takes too long to get going again. So, I pulled into the local strip mall, where I can see my house on the hill, and parked. Then, I went scouting around for a plug in.
Found one at the local Mexican eatery, so I drove over, plugged in, and had some chips and salsa. And an ice cream bar. Waited about 30 minutes, for two reasons. 120 volt just doesn't get it charged very fast, and secondly, I have a big hill to go up. Ten minutes of charging at Mossy Poway would have been the right answer, but then it wouldn't be an LEAF adventure.
We drove up the hill, and hit Turtle again, but my destiny would not be denied. We made it to the garage, and plugged in.
140.3 miles total at mostly 60mph
3 hours 35 minutes of L2 charging total
30 minutes L1
4.4 miles/kw average