Nissan Leaf, not made for New Hampshire
The Leaf has an estimated driving range of 70 to 100 miles under ideal driving conditions. For many of us, this range would work just fine. Imagine..no gas to buy just drive home and plug it in and you’re ready to go the next morning!
The Great White North has a way of bringing out the best in us, but how can a car with a 70 mile range become a 20 miler in the winter? Not a great roadside thing in February during a cold snap; wind chills that make 17 degrees feel like a heat wave after the wind stops.
The cause for this mileage short fall?
Cold Weather Kills Batteries
Simply put, winter equals cold. Cold equals a deadened chemical reaction. A battery provides/supplies power by a chemical reaction, and like any chemical reaction, as temperature drops so does the chemical reaction.
A battery’s rating (available energy) is determined/measured at 70 degrees. As temperature drops so does the available energy. At 32 degrees a battery has lost approximately 35% of its available energy. At 10 degrees a battery has lost well over 50% of its available energy.
But wait! What if you need to remove ice from the windshield, keep your toes warm or run the wipers? What about lights? This all demands energy.
The cold of a New Hampshire’s winter will quickly suck the energy out of any battery including the battery in a Nissan Leaf.
The Nissan Leaf does come with a toe warmer or cooler feature. While plugged into a 220 volt charger, the Leaf can be programmed to pre-heat or pre-cool depending where you live. It helps to extend the range, by how much is unknown, at 10 degrees.
Nissan Leaf range extender
If you want to buy a Nissan Leaf and drive it in the winter the solution is simple. Install a trailer hitch, swing by buy a small trailer and a portable generator, make sure it is a 220 volt generator. There you go, with a push of the start button and the correct cord, you can plug in your Nissan Leaf and let it charge up while you shop. I bet with a little creativity you could wire the generator directly into the Nissan Leaf .
Oh one more thought, while you’re at Lowes pick-up 1/2 dozen gas cans. You can put them in the trailer to really extend the range of the Nissan Leaf. I can see the headlines now, “Nissan Leaf goes 1000 miles between pee breaks”… Not with my wife.
Humm, now to get a patent on a range extender for a Nissan Leaf and leak add-on?
Other Interesting Facts
Heavy stop and go driving brings the range down to 47 miles.
Cold weather, steady driving at 38MPH, heater on, 62 miles with pre-heat, does not allow for full use of accessories, night driving or re-heat after cold soak.
Going out to dinner in Concord or Portsmouth during the winter? Key to returning? The most down hill runs, regeneration really counts for battery life.
Oh my! The battery is dead, how to get home? That’s easy!
Today technology is bringing great innovations to the automobile. The Nissan Leaf is more of a three season car for New Hampshire. I’m not sure I could justify the carbon footprint of a three season car and having another for the 4th season. Hybrids being made by Toyota, Honda, GM & Ford offer the best all around ride for the 4 seasons of New Hampshire. Myself, I’ve been a proponent of fuel cells, since they first rode into space on the Apollo missions. The countries of Greenland & Iceland are working on some great hydro & geothermal hydrogen production technology. I believe the same can be done with solar. We are on the way, a little late, (no, no, a lot late) but we are going the right direction.
That’s Jim’s Opinion Today..What’s yours?
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