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 Post subject: Cold weather performance
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:45 pm
Posts: 104
I am trying to figure out if my Leaf has a problem or my bad range is due to the weather.

It is around 20 around here at the moment and I am getting about 55 mile range out of my leaf.

This is my performance for Jan:
Distance traveled: 285.9
Average Energy Economy: 3.3 miles/kWh
Electricity Consumption: 86.1 kWh.

Here is a recent trip where the car went from 100% full to low battery warning and really made me wish I never bought the car:
Distance Traveled: 57.5
Average Energy Economy: 3.7 miles/kWh
Electricity Consumption 15.7 kWh
Travel Time: 2.4 hrs.

This is traveling without the heater on and avoiding highway about half of the trip to preserve batteries. I am running in eco mode all the way and use cruise control where possible.

Is 15.7 kWh all we can get out of the battery?

I tried to sell the Leaf but three weeks after paying $38000 I was offered $19000 for it by my Nissan Dealer.

So far the car really sucks.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:08 am 
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Location: Arrowbear Lake, CA
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With the ambient temperature hovering around 20°F, and your car parked outside, 15.7 kWh of usable capacity before the Low Battery warning seems quite normal. The only way to improve on that would be to warm the battery pack. If you could park in an insulated garage at night, that would undoubtedly make a significant difference. However, not everyone can park in a garage (including myself). Normal charging and driving tend to warm the pack somewhat, but probably not enough for your comfort. Using Quick Chargers haw a larger warming effect, so if you have the opportunity to incorporate Quick Charging into your occasional, longer drives, that would have the double benefit of adding charge quickly and extending the range due to warming the pack.

In spite of your use of ECO mode and efforts to avoid highways, your miles per kWh figures (3.3 to 3.7) are what I would consider a bit low. I've never had numbers that low, even in similarly cold temperatures, though admittedly I am practiced at some hypermiling techniques. My suggestion would be to use the highways, and maintain a steady 55 mph whenever you need maximum range. It takes some practice to achieve high efficiency in stop and go driving. On the other hand, maintaining 55 mph on the highway, particularly on flat terrain, is something anyone can do. My guess is that your overall efficiency will actually go up.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:14 am 
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At the Low Battery warning you have ~20% SOC remaining. So the total capacity at that temperature is ~19.6 kWh or about a 7% drop.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:16 am 
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Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Delivery Date: 08 Oct 2011
First off, it sounds like you want to offload your car as soon as possible, so I assume any advice would fall on deaf ears.

However, for anyone else who is interested, it has been in the low 30s by me in the morning for the past month and I found something that helps a little. For the first couple months after getting the car I had my timers set to charge at 12:10am to take use of off-peak pricing. This usually would get my car charged by 3am or 4am. However, about 3 weeks ago I changed my timers from STARTING at 12:10am to ENDING at 7:30am (roughly when I leave the house). I have found that instead of 4 battery temp bars I now see 5 battery temp bars. By leaving the house with the car's batteries warm, as others have stated, it provides more usable electricity... at least it seems to any ways.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:14 pm
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Delivery Date: 09 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 16138
EricBayArea wrote:
However, for anyone else who is interested, it has been in the low 30s by me in the morning for the past month and I found something that helps a little. For the first couple months after getting the car I had my timers set to charge at 12:10am to take use of off-peak pricing. This usually would get my car charged by 3am or 4am. However, about 3 weeks ago I changed my timers from STARTING at 12:10am to ENDING at 7:30am (roughly when I leave the house). I have found that instead of 4 battery temp bars I now see 5 battery temp bars. By leaving the house with the car's batteries warm, as others have stated, it provides more usable electricity... at least it seems to any ways.


Eric, I've found that the LEAF is way overestimating the charge time and it completes an 80% charge 2-3 hours prior to the END timer time (100% charge is better, but still finishes about 2 hours prior). Are you seeing this as well? I'm thinking if I really wanted to take advantage of this effect I would need to set the END timer to 1.5 hours AFTER I wanted to leave (actually I already do this for 100% charges because my 100% charge timer is mainly for weekends (later departure time) and I'm too lazy to change for mid-week 100% charges.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:50 pm
Posts: 51
Delivery Date: 07 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 5725
My stats for jan month to date

Miles 868
Avg economy 3.9 miles/kwh
Consumption. 227
Travel time 35 hours

Dutchinchicago.. My driving technique seems similar to yours. Ive confidently achieved more than 50 miles in recent temps with 20-30 miles remaining Today is much colder at 0., so Id expect to have maybe low 10 miles remaining when I get home.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:56 am
Posts: 1068
Location: Plano, TX
Delivery Date: 01 Sep 2011
Leaf Number: 7458
lpickup wrote:
EricBayArea wrote:
However, for anyone else who is interested, it has been in the low 30s by me in the morning for the past month and I found something that helps a little. For the first couple months after getting the car I had my timers set to charge at 12:10am to take use of off-peak pricing. This usually would get my car charged by 3am or 4am. However, about 3 weeks ago I changed my timers from STARTING at 12:10am to ENDING at 7:30am (roughly when I leave the house). I have found that instead of 4 battery temp bars I now see 5 battery temp bars. By leaving the house with the car's batteries warm, as others have stated, it provides more usable electricity... at least it seems to any ways.


Eric, I've found that the LEAF is way overestimating the charge time and it completes an 80% charge 2-3 hours prior to the END timer time (100% charge is better, but still finishes about 2 hours prior). Are you seeing this as well? I'm thinking if I really wanted to take advantage of this effect I would need to set the END timer to 1.5 hours AFTER I wanted to leave (actually I already do this for 100% charges because my 100% charge timer is mainly for weekends (later departure time) and I'm too lazy to change for mid-week 100% charges.


I believe you're missing the point (unless I mis-read your post): only set an END timer and the car will eventually figure out how to end within an hour of that time. For example, I set an END timer of 6am and my Leaf typically finishes around 5:30am, which leaves the batts reasonably warm when I leave. There was a period when I "confused" the charging cycle and it was finishing charges around 3am, but eventually it moved the charging window back towards 6am.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:23 am 
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Location: SLC, UT
Delivery Date: 08 Dec 2011
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lpickup wrote:
Eric, I've found that the LEAF is way overestimating the charge time and it completes an 80% charge 2-3 hours prior to the END timer time (100% charge is better, but still finishes about 2 hours prior).


Are you sure that the current time on the charge timer is set correctly. The charge timer has its own clock (not same as dash display).

Mine was set to Pacific time when I got the car. I changed it to mountain time and now the charge finishes 15 to 30 minutes before the "End Time" that I have set.

KJD

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:48 am
Posts: 8446
Location: 100 Mile Club San Diego
Leaf Number: 00000
dutchinchicago wrote:
I am trying to figure out if my Leaf has a problem or my bad range is due to the weather.

It is around 20 around here at the moment and I am getting about 55 mile range out of my leaf......

Here is a recent trip where the car went from 100% full to low battery warning and really made me wish I never bought the car:
Distance Traveled: 57.5
Average Energy Economy: 3.7 miles/kWh
Electricity Consumption 15.7 kWh



You just said you drove 57 miles to Low Battery Warning, which indicates a far greater range than 55 miles, wouldn't you agree? Your range doesn't end at LBW, but has about 17% more battery to propel you. NOTE: I do not use the dash mounted "GuessOmeter" to derive range data. It's far too unreliable or accurate.

So, 3.7 multiplied by 15.7 equal about 58 miles. That data makes sense, and with 17% battery power remaining at the first "Low Battery Warning", you have about 19kWh total in the battery. At a battery temperature of 70F, you'd have 21kWh, therefore the temperature on the battery reduced your total energy by 2kWh, or about 10%. Therefore, your total range on your quoted trip is 3.7 (assuming the same energy consumption) multiplied by 19 equals 70 miles. That's 3 miles less than the EPA rating of 73 miles; data you knew when you bought the car (or should have known).

But, I'm not going to make excuses for Nissan. They do a very poor job of trying to stating the facts, on purpose in my opinion, and all the above data is what we've worked out on this forum and amongst ourselves.

Considering your temperature of 20F, that's excellent range (you probably didn't want to hear that). If, in fact, the battery were 20F, I'd expect a much lower capacity.

Do you store the car in a garage? If not, can you? Any economy figures in the 3 range, like your 3.7, is fairly normal for new drivers to EVs. With a little work, you should be able to get above 4, which would help your range a bit. I think I read that you weren't using the heater, but presumably the seat and wheel warmers. That should save you a bunch of range.

Can you have yourself, or somebody else, install an electric battery warming blanket to the underside of the battery? That's very easy to do, and you can plug it in to 120v just like gasoline cars, to warm it up. CAUTION: Don't use an oil pan heater; they are too hot. Nothing over 100F/40C, please!!!

Preheat that cabin with the J1772 !!! Use your timer, or smartphone to activate it.

Charging the battery just before driving helps get the battery temp up, but eliminates an chance for cell balancing, which takes 1 to 4 hours after the battery reaches 100% charge and remains plugged in to the J1772.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 793
Location: Raleigh, NC
Delivery Date: 09 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 16138
KJD wrote:
lpickup wrote:
Eric, I've found that the LEAF is way overestimating the charge time and it completes an 80% charge 2-3 hours prior to the END timer time (100% charge is better, but still finishes about 2 hours prior).


Are you sure that the current time on the charge timer is set correctly. The charge timer has its own clock (not same as dash display).

Mine was set to Pacific time when I got the car. I changed it to mountain time and now the charge finishes 15 to 30 minutes before the "End Time" that I have set.

KJD


I'll check that. The dash (next to the speedo) and LCD screen clocks both read Eastern Time Zone, but I'll see if there is a third clock I need to set somewhere. That's a good theory.

Stanton wrote:
I believe you're missing the point (unless I mis-read your post): only set an END timer and the car will eventually figure out how to end within an hour of that time.


Yes, I think you mis-read my post. I am definitely using an END-time only timer (set for 6:30am on weekdays, 80% charge, 8:30am on weekends, 100% charge). Here are my stop times (all times AM):

80% charge / 6:30am target END time: 3:36 3:43 3:43 3:53 3:52 3:45 3:35 3:28 3:26 3:24
100% charge / 8:30am target END time: 5:44 5:37 5:14 5:22 5:20 5:37 5:49

I will say for the most part it is quite consistent, just really early!

I've heard a theory that it builds in enough time to do a cell balance if needed (but possibly only for the 100% charges)

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