The Long Haul

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Nissan Leaf Diary

After a few days of just fluting around in the car in Dublin, I finally drove home to Laois (Laois/Kilkenny/Tipperary border) yesterday.

So after charging the car up to nearly full in work the Estimated Mileage (EM) showed 151km (Odometer showed 205km). I started my drive from Citywest along the motorway and decided to stop in the M14 garage. I wanted to get a coffee and have a better look at the rapid chargers. I knew I couldn’t use the level 2 street (pole style) chargers as I haven’t received my ESB swipe card yet. On a side note, after getting an email address from a guy in the Irish EV Owners group, I sent a mail yesterday asking about the swipe card. Within 30mins of sending it I got a mail back from someone else saying they had sent it out that day. I can send on the email address to anyone who needs it if you contact me. So back to the chargers, after arriving at the chargers (78km of EM) I realised the rapid chargers don’t need a swipe at all. You just plug it into your car and press the start button, so I did. I went in and got a coffee. Arriving back at the car 6 mins later I unplugged, checked the EM (now at 96km) and continued on. When I finally arrived at home the EM was 9km (308km on Odometer). You would expect I’d have more but as the mileage got bumped up with the charger I had the heating on most of the rest of the way home, toasty. I had to drive around the town to pick up some things so by the time I plugged it in the EM said  – – – (328km on Odometer), but it still didn’t slow down or perform any different (i.e. tortoise mode). A few things I noticed from this first long journey…

  • It is very hard to stay at 85km when in the Leaf, because it is so quiet it makes you feel like you are going slower.
  • The acceleration is so smooth that at times I looked down and the speed was anywhere between 100km & 110km
  • When you get to about 25km Estimated Mileage left, the gauge seems to behave a bit more smoothly. It doesn’t jump around as much
  • AC & Heating are the enemy of distance (but we knew this anyway)

On the journey into work today I found out a few things. Even though the vehicle was fully charged when I got in, the EM only showed 129km (328km on Odometer). I am not sure if this was because of the cold or because I had the heating on. I believe the heating is meant to use the charger current when plugged in and not the battery (and the battery gauge did show as being full), but maybe if you put it up to really high temps it uses both (I set it to 30c). Anyhow so off I went. I stopped at the rapid charger again, to top up and get a coffee (I was hoping to not have to use the RC too much but as there are issues about charging in work, I may have to use it more than I like), EM = 68km. After a 15 min stop to freshen up I jumped back in and started off (EM = 128km). As I knew I couldn’t charge in work (not yet anyway), I decided I would drive in Eco mode as I needed enough juice to get back to the RC on the way home. I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t. Well I have to say I am sorry i didn’t use it before.

  • Eco mode doesn’t lower your speed, it  just seems to adjust your acceleration and improve regen braking.
  • The EM gauge seems to behave better and more accurately.
  • It is easier to stay at the 85km speed I normally do.
  • Although the acceleration is not as quick, it is perfect (I find) for traffic on a motorway, you can flick it off if you need a burst to overtake. I didn’t as I just gauged my overtaking correctly, and yes you will overtake some vehicles even at 85km.

I have decided to change my mind on Eco Mode, I am going to use it from now on and am just sorry I cant set it as the default. It will save me energy (therefore save me money and RC stops), and help me keep the speed I want. Oh, when I arrived in work I still had 63km of EM (Odometer was 432km). I will see how my next long journey goes starting with Eco mode on. Also in case your are wondering, I will do a 0-60MPH test in both modes to see the difference and put them against the Peugeot.

At last, I received a couple of phone calls just there on the charger issue. Seems there was a bit of a mix up, but the good news is the charger is getting put in this Saturday. Hooray!!

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