Nissan: Leaf It To Us!

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
nissan leaf it to us

With worrying news breaking recently about Nissan’s slow rollout of its Leaf EV, Toshiharu Sakai, a senior VP at the Japanese automaker reassures the Nikkei that

We initially planned to produce 10,000 this fiscal year, and we can meet (this target) by the end of March.

Sakai insists that the Leaf’s production has not been interrupted, and that the Oppama plant would produce 3,000 units in February before ramping up to its capacity production of about 4,000 units by March. Leaf production at Nissan’s Smyrna, TN plant will begin late next year, and will produce as many as 150k units per year (and 200k battery packs per year), while Nissan’s Sunderland, UK plant will be producing another 50k Leafs and 60k battery packs annually starting in 2013. All told, Nissan will have about 250k units of Leaf production when the Sunderland plant reaches full volume, which puts it on track to a commanding lead in global EV production… now it just needs the market to start demanding that many cars. Meanwhile, a minor issue with the Leaf’s ownership experience has raised its head and deserves a little attention.

In his NYT review of the Leaf, Jerry Garret writes

After charging overnight in my garage on a conventional 110-volt household circuit, the Leaf’s meter never showed more than 88 miles of possible range; once, it promised as little as 66 miles. Nissan specifies a 21-hour recharge time using house current…

…The most readily available source of replenishment for the battery — and kindest to the battery pack — is a standard household plug. But fully recharging a Leaf that way takes a painfully long 21 hours, according to the specifications provided by Nissan…

…Like the batteries in a laptop computer, which use similar chemistry, the Leaf’s lithium-ion cells will lose some capacity over time. Nissan calculates that the Leaf’s battery pack, which carries an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, will lose 20 percent (30 percent, if fast-charging is used often) of its power over the next decade of use.

Twenty-one hours is a long time to fully charge up a car on battery-friendly 110v power, and yet taking that time to charge is the key to saving some ten percent of the battery’s life after ten years? You’ll want to plug that number into your cost-of-ownership spreadsheet… or better yet, if you must have an EV, just lease the damn thing. That way you won’t have to worry about battery degradation at all, and you’ll be free to fast-charge your Leaf to your heart’s content.

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4 of 22 comments
  • LimpWristedLiberal LimpWristedLiberal on Jan 26, 2011

    If this really were The TRUTH About Cars this would be an article about the NYT's sloppy research. Are they even delivering cars with Level3 chargers yet? I thought they wouldn't be available for a while after launch. There you go, another truthful subject for a negative story about the Leaf.

  • Robert Wilkus Robert Wilkus on Jan 26, 2011

    The 88 miles of possible range the poster saw and even the 66 he claimed to have seen before is based on his previous driving habits. The pack still had the same amount of energy after being fully charged. The leaf uses your driving style to "ESTIMATE" how many miles you can go. If the poster had driven with a feather foot and alot of intown driving then the next day after a full charge it would show alot more range.

    • See 1 previous
    • Protomech Protomech on Jan 26, 2011

      Maybe, maybe not. The 110v charger can supply about 1.2 kw to the battery, or 4-5 "best case" miles. If the battery is charged for 10 hours a night (say 8 pm - 6 am), then he's putting at most 40-50 miles (12 kwh) back into the pack. If he occasionally uses more than half the pack, then it could easily be less than full capacity in the morning. And then, as you mentioned, recent and historical consumption are used to calculate remaining range based on capacity. A 220v charger (3.3kw) would easily have the car to full capacity in the morning, but I guess that's not worth mentioning in the review..

  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
  • Lorenzo The other automakers are putting silly horsepower into the few RWD vehicles they have, just as Stellantis is about to kill off the most appropriate vehicles for that much horsepower. Somehow, I get the impression the OTHER Carlos, Tavares, not Ghosn, doesn't have a firm grasp of the American market.