2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test


2011 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt: June and July Fuel Economy Update

August 02, 2011

2011_Leaf_f34_tower.jpg

Yes, this time you get two months of fuel consumption data for the price of one. I was busy moving last month and plum forgot to update the electricity and gasoline consumption stats for our 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf.

June highlights:

Our Volt went the entire month without gassing up until the bitter end. It could have gone well into July, but we called it in on the last day of June to top it up with 5.42 gallons so I could close out the month and make the calculation. Over some 604 miles, the apparent mpg worked out to 111.5 mpg. Of course only 186.4 of those miles were covered with those 5.42 gallons, so the real gasoline fuel economy was 34.4 mpg. This is possible because we plugged it in a lot in June, as evidenced by a rockin' 69% Utility Factor. These all-electric miles, 417.6 of them, came courtesy of 148 kWh of purchased electricity.

Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf ran 262.6 miles on 74.9 kWh of juice, and that's pretty much it. Say what you will about the relative merits of these two cars, but the all-electric Leaf is a lot easier to keep tabs on because a constant 100% U.F. is guaranteed.

Now for some nice tables. July Highlights to come after the jump.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Best

Worst

Average

Electricity (kwh/100 mi)

20.6

58.4

34.0

Electric Range (miles)

54.6

23.5

38.4

Gasoline (mpg)

42.6

21.8

33.9

2011 Nissan Leaf

Best

Worst

Average

Electricity (kwh/100 mi)

22.0

53.8

33.7

Projected Range (miles)

104.0

65.8

85.2

Observed Range (miles)

76.7

Here are the same charts with the EPA ratings thrown in.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Best

Worst

Average

EPA

Electricity (kWh/100 mi)

20.6

58.4

34.0

36

Electric Range (miles)

54.6

23.5

38.4

35

Gasoline (mpg)

42.6

21.8

33.9

37

2011 Nissan Leaf

Best

Worst

Average

EPA

Electricity (kWh/100 mi)

22.0

53.8

33.7

34

Projected Range (miles)

104.0

65.8

85.2

73

Observed Range (miles)

76.7

July highlights:

The Volt went on a road trip to Death Valley and Las Vegas, which means it spent much more time on the pump and much less time on the plug. Its Utility Factor dropped accordingly, to just 26%, while the apparent mpg fell to 47.9 mpg. (The real gas-only mpg actually crept up to 35.5 mpg due to the nature of the driving.) As we all know, the more time the Volt spends on gasoline the more the per-mile costs go up. And so it was in this month, as June's 6.2 cents per mile gave way to 9.3 cents per mile in July because of the increased percentage of gasoline miles.

On the other hand the Leaf couldn't even make the trip because, well, it couldn't make the trip. A pure EV isn't going to travel from LA to Vegas unless it's on a trailer. That's probably no big deal for families or couples that have two cars -- they'd simply take the other one to Nevada. The payoff for dedicated commuters is a low, low 3.9 cents per mile operating cost, up slightly from last month's 3.2 cents because a couple of leadfooted drivers climbed aboard and because it was a tad warmer, resulting in a bit more use of A/C over the course of the 423.7 miles.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

May

June

July

Overall

Utility Factor (% EV miles)

52%

69%

26%

40%

“Apparent” MPG (ignoring electricity)

76.2

111.5

47.9

56.9

Cost per mile (US average prices)

7.0¢

6.2¢

9.3¢

8.4¢

(Cal. average prices)

7.8¢

7.2¢

9.7¢

9.2¢

(at my house)

10.2¢

11.2¢

11.2¢

11.4¢

2011 Nissan Leaf

May

June

July

Overall

Utility Factor (% EV miles)

100%

“Apparent” MPG (ignoring electricity)

Infinity (zero gas used)

Cost per mile (US average prices)

3.8¢

3.2¢

3.9¢

3.5¢

(Cal. average prices)

5.0 ¢

4.2¢

5.1 ¢

4.7¢

(at my house)

10.5¢

8.8¢

10.7¢

9.8¢

Popular hybrids, for reference

May

June

July

Overall

2011 Toyota Prius (US average prices)

7.5¢

7.1¢

7.4¢

7.2¢

(Cal. avg prices)

8.0¢

7.6¢

7.6¢

7.7¢

2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid (US avg prices)

9.7¢

9.1¢

9.5¢

9.2¢

(Cal. avg prices)

10.2¢

9.7¢

9.8¢

9.9¢

That is all.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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