I was very impressed with the organization of the meeting. All my key questions were given plenty of exposure during the presentation. Thanks to gascant and all the others.
The most impressive visual in the CVE's presentation showed the LEAF driving on water. Or, more precisely, through a road flooded by 750 mm [30"] of water. It was astonishing to see the water level rise above the top of the charging port while the car plowed blithely through the waves, seemingly unaffected by the deluge.
Small correction: my notes say the water depth was 700mm (27.6") not 750mm. Still very impressive, and graphics showed how the water line was above the battery and other drive electrical components.
Kadota-san also showed a dramatic artificial lightning bolt test onto the roof of the Leaf with no apparent damage, and several severe simulated crash tests with an impact ram. I believe the simulated speed was 80 km/hr. He stated that these crash tests did not compromise the integrity of the battery case. Impressive considering the recent news about the Volt fires following crash tests.
He presented graphics showing how the battery's placement near the Leaf's center of mass reduced the moment of inertia about a vertical axis, and thereby improved its handling on curves.
The Nissan team included 2 persons from Europe. In addition to Mark Perry, the US contingent included a QC fellow and several IT folks. Perry, who had a good sense of humor, admitting he liked to talk, came across as very knowledgeable about the technology as well as the market. In a private conversation with me he stated that his frequently-quoted statement that
"Car Wings data from the Leaf shows that there is no market need for more range or a faster charger"
was taken out of context. The added context was at the given price point
. My understanding is that he meant that the technology they delivered for $34K was sufficient to find a market.
I asked Perry about whether we could possibly see future improved battery modules backward compatible with the 2011 and 2012 Leafs. He did not rule out that possibility as forcefully as he ruled out the 6.6kw charger upgrade, but he was not real hopeful. I asked about the recently-announced Argonne National Labs battery license, which promised an 80% improvement in capacity of Li-Mn batteries. He said the current Nissan battery is already better than the Argonne battery.
The last 20 minutes of the meeting were the most dramatic. There had been a very thorough discussion of the value of the SOC meter, the need for that to be standard, and the serious shortcomings of the present DTE (Guessometer). The American QC guy got up and said he understood what we wanted but he didn't understand why
we wanted it. That almost caused an uproar.
Here is my answer to his question.
gascant had told me that only about half a dozen BayLeafers had Gary's SOC meter. I wish there had been time for me to get up and say the following:
Q1: Raise your hand if you have ever driven at least 75 miles on one charge.
Q2: Raise your hand if you have even driven a route with at least 1K ft altitude change.
Q3: Raise your hand if you have ever used public charging to extend your range, and wished to minimize the time you spent for that charging.
All those who raised their hand at least once would find the SOC meter very helpful in getting longer range and minimum in-route charging, with much less range anxiety. We should have offered to send a SOC meter to one of the Nissan engineers who drove a Leaf. More BayLeafers should order Gary's meter in kit form, or build their own. More to come about SOC and DTE.
Below I show a few pictures of the Google venue. I refrained from taking pictures in the meeting in order to adhere to the "no recording" direction.
Here is another picture of Phil's next project (one-off so far). The generator is an aircraft APU. While he show a Chademo connector, he has not yet used it. He has charged the Leaf battery at 5 KW using this generator and the charger electronics with a direct connection
to the Leaf's battery. Do NOT
try this at home.
The Google bowling alley
Finally, some nice visitors flew over.