Smidge204
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Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:25 am

This morning I got my response to a FOIA request I sent to the EPA just before Christmas! Wasn't quite sure what to expect so I can't say I'm disappointed (and they didn't charge me anything since they said the total cost was under $14 - bonus!)

Quick backstory: After a disagreement with another forum member over the testing procedures used, I decided to go right to the source and get a real answer. The punchline is we were both right and yet both wrong - it seems they used the J1634 test method but applied all the corrections from the 5-Cycle test to the result.

So I asked for some specifics on both the LEAF and Volt tests, including weight, driving mode and exact procedure documentation.

Documents here: http://www.smidgeindustriesltd.com/leaf/EPA/

Full disclosure: I am not releasing the letter they sent, since it contains personal information and nothing about the Leaf/Volt. Also, the spreadsheet is combined version of two separate files they sent (one for each vehicle) - I figured combining them would help for comparison. Also tweaked the formatting (cell wrapping, font change) but otherwise contents are exactly as received.
=Smidge=

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mwalsh
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Leaf Number: 0213
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:32 am

Nice stuff. One thing that popped right out at me was the classification of the LEAF as a mid-size and the Volt as a compact. Not that I think it makes any difference, but what is up with that anyway?
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driveleaf
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:40 am

It's not the body size that defines the class of car. It's the interior space.

So typical American car. Huge on the outside, little room for the passengers (4 instead of 5) and the volt ends up a compact.

From wikipedia:
"New "official" size designations in the U.S. were introduced by the EPA, which defined market segments by passenger and cargo space."

DarkStar
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Leaf Number: 568
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:42 am

mwalsh wrote:Nice stuff. One thing that popped right out at me was the classification of the LEAF as a mid-size and the Volt as a compact. Not that I think it makes any difference, but what is up with that anyway?

The vehicle size is determined by the "Interior volume index" (in cubic feet). A compact car has between 100 and 109.9 cubic feet, and a mid-size car has between 110 and 119.9 cubic feet.
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evnow
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:24 am

Very nice. I'll have to go through them at leisure ...
1st Leaf : 2/28/2011 to 5/6/2013
2nd Leaf : 5/4/2013 to 3/21/2017
Volt : 3/25/2017 to 5/25/2018
Model 3 : 5/10/2018 to ?

AndyH
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:06 am

Crappy economy numbers from the Volt. I'd love to see the Prius numbers along side. ;)

I've an older copy of J1634 and am not surprised by the test cycle performed but SAE specs automatically die after 5 years and I hadn't heard that J1634 had been revised or how - thank you for confirming that this is still the process used!

I don't like the revised EPA numbers though. While the new 70% number better reflects the 'economy' of a typical American car being driven by a typical driver and their jackrabbit starts to 10mph over the speed limit with the AC blasting, :D I find that the old EPA number very accurately mirrors the economy from a reasonably conscious driver.

For example - my '97 VW Passat Diesel (with 397,000 miles on the clock) gives me 38-41 around town and 47-50 on the highway (and yes - the AC is running!). Here's the EPA economy comparison:

Code: Select all

             City    Highway   Combined
Actual:     39       48
Old:         38       47            42
New:        32       42            36


While it's unfortunate that the EPA takes the Leaf down to 73 miles range, I think that folks transitioning from other EVs or the Prius (or are reasonably conscious drivers) will get much closer to Nissan's reported 111 city miles and 94-97 miles highway.

Very nice job Smidge!

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TomT
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:47 am

Clearly you have never driven with my wife!

AndyH wrote: I don't like the revised EPA numbers though. While the new 70% number better reflects the 'economy' of a typical American car being driven by a typical driver and their jackrabbit starts to 10mph over the speed limit with the AC blasting, :D I find that the old EPA number very accurately mirrors the economy from a reasonably conscious driver.
59,991 miles/12 bars/289 Gids/68.54 AHr/101% SOH/101.64% Hx 7May15 w/ new Lizard (barely made the warranty).
71,770 miles/12 bars/256 Gids/59.04 AHr/88% SOH/87.92% Hx 3Mar16 at lease return.

Now driving a 2016 Volt Premier.

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drees
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:47 am

AndyH wrote:While it's unfortunate that the EPA takes the Leaf down to 73 miles range, I think that folks transitioning from other EVs or the Prius (or are reasonably conscious drivers) will get much closer to Nissan's reported 111 city miles and 94-97 miles highway.

Except that 73 miles appears to be fairly representative of the range that you'll have if you drive on the highway at 70mph with the AC running on a warm day... I know that in my Prius in those conditions I get will high 40s to 50 mpg in that scenario. I've only broken 50 mpg a couple times on a whole tank - worst tanks were around 40 mpg but lifetime average is 46 mpg - or just about what the EPA says we'll get.
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evnow
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:57 am

drees wrote:Except that 73 miles appears to be fairly representative of the range that you'll have if you drive on the highway at 70mph with the AC running on a warm day...

But that is not what EPA is saying it is. EPA says it is a "combined" city/highway cycle - with some use of AC/heater.
1st Leaf : 2/28/2011 to 5/6/2013
2nd Leaf : 5/4/2013 to 3/21/2017
Volt : 3/25/2017 to 5/25/2018
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evnow
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Re: Response to EPA FOIA Request

Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:07 pm

Here is the relevent test procedure from the docs on Leaf. No surprises on how they tested for city & highway. But they applied a "maximum of 30%" i.e. they multiplied by 0.7 whatever they got out of the actual dynamometer test. So, on the dynamometer - the combined city/highway test would be about 100. In other words Leaf has a range of more than 100 miles on LA04.

1. Electric Vehicle Test Procedure - In general, EPA testing follows SAE Recommended Practice
J1634 "Electric Vehicle Energy Consumption and Range Test Procedure," which (as the title implies) is
basically a dynamometer test procedure used to measure the energy consumption and driving range of
an electric vehicle.

Electric Vehicle - City Test Procedure Summary - Following SAE J1634 Recommended Practice, the
battery is fully charged, the vehicle is parked over night, and then the following day the vehicle driven
over successive city cycles until the battery becomes discharged (and the vehicle can no longer follow the
city driving cycle). After running the successive city cycles, the battery is recharged from a normal AC
source and the energy consumption of the vehicle is determined (in kW-hr/mile or kW-hr/100 miles) by
dividing the kilowatt-hours of energy to recharge the battery by the miles traveled by the vehicle. To
calculate the energy consumption in units of mpge (miles/gallon equivalent) we use a conversion factor of
33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity per gallon of gasoline (which is basically a measure of the energy in
gasoline (in BTUs) converted to electricity). The city driving range is determined from the number of miles
driven over the city cycle until the vehicle can no longer keep up with the driving cycle.

Electric Vehicle – Highway Test Procedure Summary - The same test SAE J1634 procedure outlined
above, is used determine the highway energy consumption and the highway driving range (except the
vehicle is operated over successive highway cycles) .

Electric Vehicle - Adjustment Procedure used to Derive City & Highway FE Label (Window Sticker)
Estimates - EPA regulations require the city and highway energy consumption and driving range values
listed on the FE Label (window sticker) to be adjusted to more accurately reflect the energy consumption
and driving range that customers can expect to achieve in the real world. For EVs, EPA currently uses
the derived 5-cycle adjustment method described in 40 CFR 600.210-08(a)(2)(i) and (a)(2(ii), capped at a
maximum adjustment of 30% (i.e. multiply unadjusted values by 0.7).
1st Leaf : 2/28/2011 to 5/6/2013
2nd Leaf : 5/4/2013 to 3/21/2017
Volt : 3/25/2017 to 5/25/2018
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