Nissan LEAF
Douglas Stansfield's picture

When will Nissan Leaf Drivers declare Range Anxiety Dead?

Recently I posted an article that Nissan’s next version of the Leaf is planned to have 330 miles of range. Another article read that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn stated range will be 3 and 4 times the current Leaf Range. Well that means 300 to 400 miles. So you know it is coming and the energy density of LiFePo4 cells are improving every day. Here is my surprise.
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Since I talk to people all the time about Electric Vehicles as I’m about as passionate an EV driver as they come, I’m surprised to hear the number of excuses about EVs, which are mostly about range.

So at what point can we stick a fork in this excuse?

Really? 300 miles? 400 miles? 500 miles? Is there really any doubt that once EVs are above 300 miles, than we won’t hear about range anxiety anymore? Remember most people only drive 40 miles a day. So at 300 miles of range we are looking at having to plug in every 7 days or so. Once a week charging isn’t enough to kill range anxiety? What if EV range hit 400 miles or 500 miles? What about 600 miles? At 600 miles the average driver who drives 40 miles per day could plug in once every two weeks and still have enough range for all his/her driving needs.

My feeling on this is simple. Range Anxiety will slowly fade away as Electric Car range increases. More and more people will adopt them and more and more people will declare to others via a grass roots movement to explain the technological benefits of EVs and why they will never go back to gas.

I went over to Electric in 2008 when there were no production Electric Cars to be purchased so I made my own. Many, many people I know that drive Electric will never go back willingly to gas. This must scare the daylights out of the gas companies. For example, my local gas station that is in a very small town in NJ sells 16,000 gallons of gas every week. So far there are only a few EVs in the area. Imagine 50% EV adoption rates. That station would sell only 8000 gallons. Still way too much gasoline consumption for my liking but change comes slowly and it is happening right now.

The only other issue I see is the rate of charging station infrastructure rollout. This has been going strong since about 2012 so more and more stations are going in and the very first CSS (J1772 Fast charging SAE standard chargers are being seen). With more and more of these stations available, there will be no more excuses for people to adopted EVs as their primary mode of transportation.

Also See

  1. This New Technology Could Extend Nissan LEAF's Range to 338 Miles
  2. How Can Nissan LEAF get 2X The Range Without a New Battery
  3. Nissan Can Avert LEAF Pending Crisis If It Makes This Single Change
  4. Add 40 miles driving range to Nissan Leaf with Enginer's add-on battery pack

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Comments

4 times the current LEAF? So in other words, 240 miles? Hah. No thanks.
84 x 4 = 336 mile range. You're very welcome. ;-)
Wrong question. It's not about range - its about recharge time. No-one would care about range if the car could be recharged in a few minutes.
Recharging my Leaf takes 30 seconds - 15 seconds to connect the charger when I get home at night and 15 seconds to disconnect the charger when I leave in the morning. How much time did you say you waste pumping smelly and expensive gas into your car again???
I would only need to recharge on long trips like vacations. For those occasional times I could easily rent a car. For me, my Leaf is my short commuter car and excels at that. People really get too hung up on thes range issue. Granted, there are those that do drove a lot and it can be an issue, but I bet the majority of drivers it's really not as much an issue.
Even the infrastructure argument is a bit weak, because most EV owners do the vast majority of their charging at home. There really is little need for infrastructure to support daily driving, as most people will have this in their homes. As ranges increase, the biggest challenge will be infrastructure for long-distance travel and charge times. Tesla has already made great strides to resolve these issues with their Supercharger network and battery packs capable of rapid high-power input, and they making further improvements all the time. I hope that at some point, other manufacturers will adopt their Supercharging, which will further rapidly diminish the infrastructure argument.
I agree with your analysis that there is never enough EV range to satisfy the naysayers. Naysayers are late adopters, they will get over it, but not until the case for EVs is clear as day. Until then they will concoct a scenario where an EV isn't for them. I suppose openly admiting you are unsure if something is tough to do, easier to create a distraction.
I love my 2015 LEAF SL and have done multiple 150+ mile drives in single days over the past six months. Good planning, LEAF Spy Pro, and experience let me mostly laugh in the face of range anxiety. For me, the tipping point is 200 miles and I'd be thrilled with 300 miles - with that range, I could jump into the car with a full charge and go nearly anywhere I'm likely to go without planning charging stops. I am leasing the car I have now because I expect that by December 2017 when my lease is up, Nissan, Tesla, Chevy, and probably several other manufacturers will have 250+ mile pure electrics for me to consider buying. We are likely to buy the 2015 LEAF after our lease anyway, as I anticipate it will have a long life as an around-town errands and commute car (unless one of the teenagers crashes it). I really hate driving gassers now... the noise, the vibration, the smells, the mechanical issues, the expense, and of course, the environmental damage... and I will never buy another gasser. I live in a state where 80% of power is generated from renewables and pay to help make our grid cleaner every month. No gasser gets cleaner over time, so this is a "win" all the way around.
There are quite a few things you're not considering about range. First, I'd challenge you to show me a current LEAF that actually goes 120. I've been driving one for three years and have never even seen the charging notice go that high. If I get 90 miles, I think that's good. And if you're getting on an expressway, forget even counting on the range predictor to accurately show your range. You can get away with 50 miles on a great day with ac but when the cold hits you're taking a serious risk. And therein lies the second issue. Charging stations. It doesn't matter how far you can go if, once you get there, you can't recharge in a reasonable amount of time. I would define reasonable by LEAF owner standards as 20-30 minutes. What's really pissed me off lately is that the charging station maps are just plain unreliable. In Tennessee, there are about 40% of the stations on the map that are either not in service or can't be accessed due to membership concerns. The ONLY time I was left on the roadside without any charge was when the chargers at TWO different locations were not in service and also not recorded as such on the map. So, to answer your question, range anxiety will go away when range can be better calculated by the car and you don't have to fear being stranded somewhere.
Range anxiety will die when there is 1 high speed charge station for every 50 gas stations in the US and when most electrics get 300 miles on a charge. Until then just upping the miles on a single charge won't cut it.
I have a Leaf and a Plug-In Prius. I just charge overnight, like I do with my phone. I have 18 solar PV panels on my roof and so charge only solar into my cars. The Leaf is 100% solar, the Prius gets 11 miles solar and the rest hybrid, for a combined MPG of close to 60. I thus pay back my solar installation in the price of gas. I'm a happy early adopter--it saves me money! In the end it is like digital photography--there is no turning back, and the tipping point is just around the corner.
EV = Smartphone Gas car = Beeper + Payphone Would anyone give up their iPhone or Android and go back to using a hip pager & grubby filthy public payphones? Now you understand why we EV drivers avoid gas cars like the plague - they simply are far inferior. Smelly, obnoxious, massively inefficient, and ridiculous. Internal combustion SUCKS! Period.