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Nissan Leaf Range Tracking

So I took the plunge on a lease of an electric car, I've always been interested in electrically powered transportation, but only now has the battery technology developed to the point where it is 1. practical and 2. cheap enough to do. There's lots of benefits to the planet, environment and health, and also the cost savings (until the government adds some tax!). As of the middle of 2018, when I took out the lease, one of the leading EVs (Electric Vehicles) on the market was the new Nissan Leaf (2nd Generation). 

I'll give my thoughts on the car, bear in mind i'm not a car journalist, so you should take the information I give below as merely my opinion; also bear in mind the main reason for this article is for me to give some statistics on the range of the vehicle in real world use, and my thoughts of if this is a problem or not! Of course the technology for electric vehicles is developing rapidly, I don't believe there is any future for the internal combustion engine in the long term other than very niche usage; the future of transportation is electrified, be it with batteries (Lithium Ion, Solid state) or some other method like like Hydrogen fuel cells. 

Okay now the blurb is out of the way i'll go through my use of the car and the results of the range usage, but first i'll explain a few basics about the battery vs. an internal combustion engine. The battery of an EV is pretty much the same as what you would find in a mobile phone or laptop, its a Lithium Ion battery (bear in mind there are lots of adjustments on the battery chemistry that are being made) but essentially just on a larger scale than in your phone or laptop. The size of the battery is normally given kWh (that's Kilowatt Hours), so if you had a 30 kWh battery and you drained it at the rate of 1 kW (Kilowatt), it would supply that power for 30 hours (hence the 30 kWh Kilowatt Hours), okay that is a very simplistic overview but its essentially the relationship between the figures you'll see given.

So from an EV point of view, the Nissan Leaf (2nd Generation) has a 110 kilowatt electric motor and a 40 kWh battery, so that means if you were to put your foot flat down and use the full 110 kilowatt of the electric motor at all times you'd basically run the battery flat within about 15 minutes! Of course in reality you wouldn't do that, but it gives you an idea of how driving carefully could extend the range of an EV.

Petrol Vs. Battery

So to an ICEV (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle), lets say it has a 40 litre petrol tank, 1 litre of petrol is roughly equivalent to 10 kWh citation. Yes, that's right, an EV with a 40 kWh battery is the equivalent of an ICEV with a 4 litre fuel tank, which would get you about 30 miles (if you get around 40 miles per gallon economy)! The difference, of course, is the efficiency of the electric power train compared to a petrol powered drive train, the EV is much more efficient and that petrol is an extremely energy dense fuel. So for example I used to have a Mini Cooper, this had a 35 litre fuel tank, with that I could get about 310 miles of range (at about 40 miles per gallon very roughly), so that would be equivalent to a 350 kWh battery in an EV.

So a Nissan Leaf that can go around 140-150 miles on a 40 kWh battery, would be able to go around 1,312 miles on 350 kWh battery, to compare an ICEV would go around 310 miles to an EV on 1,312 miles on the "same" amount of energy used.

Anyway enough of my pigeon science, you get the idea of the basics of how the size of battery affects the range and how this tallies up to a petrol vehicle, so now i'll move onto how I use my EV and what this means for the range data that I have collected.

Driving Profile

I use the car primarily for travelling to and from work and then some sort trips to the shop, gym, running errands etc. So my commute is about 27 miles each way, so around a round trip of about 54 miles a day, surprisingly this distance is more than the daily UK average citation. Has having an EV caused me any issue with range, simple answer no, which makes me think for the vast majority of people who use their car for commuting only, an EV with a 30-40 kWh would be sufficient for them to do at least 2-3 days worth of commuting without needing to charge.

So travelling about 54 miles a day, in my Mini I never drove more than 100 miles in a single day, possibly this is odd, I never took the car on holiday so never really used it that way, but think of the population overall, what percentage are the same as me and only use the car for commuting or possibly just to make short trips around town, probably quite a few.

I'm lucky that I have a driveway to my house and a home charger (6 kW) so I can charge the car from flat overnight without issue, I also have access to chargers at my place of work, so can charge during the day as well if required. With this as I don't do long journeys, i.e. set out on a journey that is longer than the range of the battery (ergo i'd need to charge on route), charging when the car is parked at work or at home is fine.

Okay so this gives you an idea of my driving profile, commuting around 54 miles a day and some odds and ends 2 to 5 miles perhaps extra for errands etc. My journey to work that makes up the vast majority of use is also possibly non-standard to a certain extent, its a mix of urban driving (stop start and constant speed 30 MPH), dual carriage way (70 MPH), single carriage way (40-60 MPH) and country tracks (20-40 MPH), although the bulk of the journey is at over 40 MPH on dual carriage way or single carriage way roads. I don't drive to the 55 MPH that EVs are most efficient at (wind resistance) I just essentially drive the same way I drove my ICEV.

Range Tracking Results

The results of the range shown below are those that I have collected over a period of time, they are not particularly scientific collected in identical lab conditions, they are the real world figures I achieve driving the car. I like the car very much and range anxiety has never been an issue for me 

The car is around 6 months old at the time of writing, it has the full 12 bars of battery health, the vehicle has re-generative breaking capabilities, these are taken into account by the figures, essentially the breaking recharges the battery and thus adds to the range (or a better way of putting it is that it reduces the rate that the battery is drained.

The table containing the results will be added in January 2019, once they have been collected!


To be completed, when I add the table of results soon!