Edmunds' InsideLine.com Discovers Nissan Leaf's Optimal Driving Range and Reports on Dying Battery Experience
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 12, 2011 — The staff at Edmunds' InsideLine.com answered one of the biggest mysteries in the green car community by driving a fully charged 2011 Nissan Leaf until it finally died, and discovered that the full range of the electric car is 132 miles. A write-up and video of the test can be found on InsideLine's award-winning "Long Term Road Tests" blog at http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2011/05/2011-nissan-leaf-driving-it-to-the-bitter-end.html.
The test, which was conducted in a controlled environment on a closed oval track, is the first to independently document the electric car's range in such conditions. Four InsideLine.com staffers shared driving duties by running laps at a constant speed of 35 mph on cruise control. The drivers used no air conditioning, while keeping the windows cracked slightly for comfort in 80-degree heat.
"We've all been curious since Day One and now we know how far our 2011 Nissan Leaf can go on a single charge," said Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com. "More importantly, we now know what this electric car goes through in the moments before it dies at the side of the road."
As documented by InsideLine.com, the Leaf offered its first range warning at the 112.4-mile mark — that is, with 20 miles to go. Ten miles later, the car's energy gauge dropped to one bar as the remaining range indicator blanked out and read "---." At 130 miles, the final electricity bar disappeared, yielding to a Tortoise lamp indicating that power and speed were being cut. Finally, at 131.2 miles, a red triangle light blinked as the car slowed down before coming to a complete stop at 132.0.
The results of InsideLine's test are consistent with the range estimates claimed by Nissan. The Japanese automaker's initial claim for the Leaf's range centered around 100 miles, but added that specific driving conditions could drop that figure to 62 miles or raise it to as high as 138 miles. The Leaf's official range, as measured by the EPA and displayed on the window sticker, is 73 miles.
For a more detailed account of InsideLine's Nissan Leaf range test, please visit the Long Term Road Tests blog at http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2011/05/2011-nissan-leaf-driving-it-to-the-bitter-end.html.
A few days after the closed-track test, an InsideLine.com staffer learned that the "real world" range on a Leaf can sometimes be shorter and more abrupt. His experiences are also documented on the Long Term Road tests blog at http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2011/05/2011-nissan-leaf-the-bitter-end----real-world-edition.html.
For more news on the Leaf and other alternate technology vehicles, visit the Green page on Edmunds' AutoObserver.com at http://www.autoobserver.com/green/.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.