2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf: Max Range Round Trip

August 02, 2011


The dash predicted 99 miles of total range when I left work in the 2011 Nissan Leaf this afternoon. Things look much the same now that I'm home, and it seems like I have enough remaining range to risk NOT plugging in an attempt to make the return trip on the same charge.

Should I go for it?

Before you answer, consider this:

  • In normal usage, no one in the office has driven this machine more than 76.7 miles on a single charge before wussing out -- and that was me. If I am able to make it back I will smash that record with something like a 92.8-mile run.
  • The Leaf's official EPA range rating is 75 miles, but that's on a combined basis; it's not a maximum.
  • We have run out of juice in this machine before, and it wasn't any fun. The range meter doesn't seem to have any sort of pessimistic safety margin built in, either.
  • I do have a AAA account in good standing.
  • My trip home today included the perfect amount of traffic -- I was never able to go over 60 mph and I spent a lot of time going with the slightly retarded flow at 35-45 mph.
  • I'll have little or no traffic tomorrow morning unless I leave later than usual in an attempt to catch a little, or I can choose to run with the trucks in the right lane to keep my speed in check.
  • I will not need headlights or air conditioning tomorrow morning.

I fretted over the same scenario in our departed Mini E once upon a time, and in that instance I made it back with miles to spare.

On the one hand I'm curious. The competitive part of me wants to put the office range record safely out of reach. On the other hand I just want to get on with my morning.

I have until bedtime to decide.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,400 miles

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