You are about to get your Nissan LEAF or have been a LEAF driver for a while, but want to know if you are using your electric car at the most efficient speed for optimal range. Also, you want to know if using cruise control affects this efficiency positively or negatively. Let's see what current LEAF owners say about this in LEAF Owners Group on Facebook.
Below 50 MPH Seems Optimal
The first comment I read in the group was that any speed under 50 mph is the most efficient. Cruise control does help if you are doing highway driving. Cruise control usually helps on highway driving not only with electric cars but with gas powered cars too. however, if you are going up the hill with high speed cruise control will not help. When driving up the hill, lower your speed if you can to a minimum allowed.
LEAF owners say that anything above 60 miles per hour will drop your battery very fast.
There is another thing that you can do to get the most efficient speed and range. Precool or preheat while plugged in to save range. Also Minimize fast accelerations to extend range. "Best speed is around 35 mph. If your daily commute isn't too far you can just drive and not think about these things," suggests Melanie.
"I have had my 2015 Nissan LEAF SL for 18 months. I drove 35 mile one way commute on Chicago secondary roads with an average speed of 35-45. As a result, I have had very few issues with range, making the 70 mile round trip with only the one full charge. My LEAF has 21k miles to date and have all bars still," writes Gregg from Chicago. "I use Eco mode and B mode to increase regeneration. Based on the weather, typical range on a 100% charge has never been less than 85 ( during colder weather) and as high as 116 (just last week)," he said. To use the B mode do this. Once you "shift" into drive, repeat the move to place into "B" mode. The D indicator will change to B. "I believe older model years do not have that option. This mode is most beneficial when driving in stop and go traffic or on a route with stop signs/lights. When coasting and braking, the battery will use that energy to regenerate reserve power," says Gregg.
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Dan writes that he has a 16 mile commute one way and found that he uses the same 10% (30kw battery) when he drives efficiently Vs. "I think the key is braking. Seems like you can accelerate hard and be fine as long as you don't slam the brakes and regen as much as possible. Granted 16 miles isn't a huge sample set for my theory," he says.
"We have a 23 mile one way drive. We go between 50 and 60 most the way there and don't charge at work. Also we only charge our battery to 80% and we are fine," writes Brittany.
One other person said that when he activated his cruise control it took around 20 miles off the guestimator when activated.
Reading more comments I gathered that around 52 mph is about spot on for maximum range. Some people suggest using the cruise control others don't. If you have been a long time Nissan LEAF owner you probably have already figured out the most efficient speed and the most optimal speed for maximum range. Try all the modes to see the differences. However, you shouldn't be primarily focused on the efficiency, but rather on safety. Find the safest way of driving. If you have to break just break. If you have to get out from a complex situation and acceleration is the solution, just push the pedal and the car will respond. Don't worry about the efficiency, safety and lives are more important.