Smart Planning for Smart Energy - 2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf: Smart Planning for Smart Energy

April 04, 2011

Leaf Charging.jpg A few of the Edmunds editors and I recently visited the "Smart Energy Experience" exhibit at Southern California Edison's CTAC Energy Education Center, in Irwindale, Calif. Since the Smart Energy Experience is a showcase for the utility company's latest advancement in electricity metering and management, we thought it would be appropriate to drive there in our long term Nissan Leaf.

The facility is about 37 miles away from our offices. Round trip, that's 74 miles -- too close for comfort, given that the Leaf's EPA range is 73 miles. With some planning however, we were able to take this EV past its round-trip limitations. Edison's staff said we could use their level 2 chargers and since we planned to stay there for a few hours, we could "top off" before heading home.

The trip to the facility drained about 60 percent of the Leaf's charge. There were three people in the car, the A/C running at 73 degrees and we were traveling at an average speed of 65-70 mph. It was a particularly hot day (about 90 degrees) and we went up a few hills, which further contributed to the battery decrease. The remaining range read about 45 miles when we got to our destination.

Two Leafs.jpg When left the center about three hours later, we saw another Leaf parked and plugged in next to ours. We snapped a quick photo and headed back to the office. With three hours on the charger, the Leaf's battery was close to 90 percent. The return trip didn’t drain the battery as much, since the car was coasting down the hills we had climbed earlier. We also caught some traffic, which decreased our average speed. Back at the office, the Leaf had a remaining range of 54 miles. Impressive performance, given the conditions.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 1,572 miles.

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