How Can You Maximize Your Range in a Nissan Leaf
As a previous Nissan Leaf Driver, I can easily share with you some tips and tricks that will give you a better idea of how your daily driving habits can impact your EV Range. First of all, there are some things that need to be explained. Not everybody lives and drives in the same way.
For example, if you live at the top of a hill and fully charge your Nissan Leaf, your downhill regen every morning won’t be every useful because your battery is already full. If you live at the bottom of a hill and have to go up a hill to get to work, you are in good shape as you can go up fully charged and regen back down after going up to keep the battery charged and lose very little. By the way, here are some ways you can improve your Nissan Leaf's abilities.
Therefore, if you are choosing a new home and have a choice between living at the bottom of a hill vs. the top of a hill, I would choose the bottom of the hill. Life never works out that way for me as my homes always seem to be at the top of the hill. I recently moved and once again, the home I found while looking that offered the most, ended up being at the top of the highest part of the street. No worries on my end.
Now, how can I maximize my range in my Nissan Leaf? Some Leaf’s have B-mode so I would use that when decelerating and while going down hills. I would avoid showing off the great acceleration by flooring it and instead proceed to gradually accelerate to get up to speed.
Additionally, I would get yourself a Leafspy and connect it to your Nissan Leaf. This app really does give you an idea of how your traction battery pack is accommodating your driving style. If you live 10 miles from work and charge once a week, then I wouldn’t care about any range issues and just drive how you like to drive. The Leaf Spy app is extremely useful in determining the balance of the individual battery cells. Also, always try to slow down into an intersection stop. It truly is a wonderful thing to see the energy from your deceleration go back into your battery pack for some needed extra range.
While maximizing your range is admirable, you really should plan your route ahead of time if you are planning on venturing outside your Nissan Leafs given range on a single charge. I always did that using the PlugShare app on my phone and easily made regular trips outside my normal range. I developed some of my favorite spots to charge. A great Pizza place with a charger, a hotel with a ChaDeMo etc. Your range instantly became larger but you needed to factor in the dreaded time to charge.
One trip that I took was from my home in Sussex County, NJ and I drove all the way to Northeast, MD. The trip was 153 miles. So I planned on using ChaDeMo chargers on my trip down and also planned on backups just in case the ChaDeMo’s weren’t working. Needless to say, my planning worked out well and I made it down to my destination and it took me one extra hour than my wife who drove down in the Plug-In Hybrid C-Max Energi. I was staying at a Hotel complex that also had a Campsite attached to it so I charged my Nissan Leaf at the campsite for my trip home even though I was staying in the hotel itself.
The trip home was much more difficult. Even though I had planned everything I was still almost stuck calling Nissan to come and get me. My trouble started when the first ChaDeMo wasn’t working when I got to it. I had worked on the trip down but wasn’t working on the trip back. OK, I had overlapped it so my next ChaDeMo was only a few miles extra but it would be stretching me out a little bit.
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Being the EV warrior that I am, my two kids and I ventured forth to the next ChaDeMo. When I rolled into NJ Car the parking lot was covered with tree branches and it looked like a massive storm had just blown through. I rolled up to the EVSE and just my luck, it was not powered up because the storm had knocked out the local power! Now I was in trouble.
I had missed two ChaDeMo chargers and was far away from my normal travels so what was I to do? I called a friend and he helped me find a Ford Dealership that was closed but they had left their EVSE open so I coasted into the EVSE with the --- on my guess o meter! My Nissan Leaf was spent! This EVSE was only a Level Two Charge which meant my kids and I were going to be sitting in the car for a while. Lucky for us there was a diner up the road which we walked to and spend a couple hours telling stories and eating French fries and gravy.
After charging for about 3 hours, I was able to get up enough energy to make to a different ChaDeMo and give it a high voltage dumping and then I was home free. This disaster turned a 3 to 4-hour normal trip and turned it into 11 or so hours.
You can see, I have a great deal of experience with range and driving a Nissan Leaf. I would do it all again as well. Driving an EV is a privilege and one I will always be thankful for. I believe my next EV will be a Chevy Bolt and I’m thinking I’m going to wait until next year to get it as I’m not always a big fan of the first iteration of any model car. There is always a list of things that get fixed in the second year of the car. Keep on driving EVs everyone.
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