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Nissan Says Long-Range EV Unnecessary

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by smorgasbord, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    This is old, but I didn't see it here. Please merge if possible.

    Nissan Says Long-Range EV Unnecessary

    Data backs up what EV advocates have been claiming all along:

    1) Typical Leaf driver averages 37 miles/day
    2) Early concerns that Leaf owners might prepare to leave for work in the morning only to find their vehicles still charging have proven unfounded,
    3) Fear of running out of electricity while driving an EV seems to stem from motorists not really appreciating the amount of driving they do
    4) In a household where one gas-powered vehicle and one electric vehicle exist, the gas-burner often becomes the secondary vehicle.
    5) 90 percent of charging Leaf owners are doing at home.

    What's not funny is that the last 2 conclusions were surprising to Nissan.

    The article does have speculation that "the beefier optional battery packs Tesla will offer would be overkill for the majority of American motorists."
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    This isn't a big surprise. I'm sure there are millions of people who could easily use a Leaf daily.

    You do have to recognize, though that there is some "selection bias" going on here. People for whom the car will not meet their needs won't have bought one.

    I know a Leaf owner whose drive is long enough, that if he can't be certain of being able to plug in at work (there are chargers at his office but also contention to access them) then in the winter he does a 100% charge and drives with the heat off. It's the only way of being sure that he can get home again. In the summer he doesn't have this problem.

    A friend of mine could easily use a Leaf for his daily commute, but he's also frequently taking extra trips to pick up or drop off kids/tools/hardware/whatever. He can't use a Leaf so won't buy one. A Tesla would do the job but it is a bit pricey.
  3. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

    Dec 15, 2012
    I am soon to have a high performance MS. I need and want power, so 85 kWh battery is "needed". Speed=power

    Selection bias is so right on with Leaf study. Only folks who buy a Leaf are those who don't need 260 mile range. Only folks who need < 73 miles range get a Leaf. No one buys a Leaf who needs > 73 mile range.
  4. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Portland, OR
    One thing I find interesting is that for me personally, the study is completely correct, and yes also completely misses the point. The vast majority of my annual driving (north of 99%) can be handled quite well by a Leaf.

    For me though, I won't end up with multiple cars, and if the Leaf was my only car, even though I don't go on very long road trips very often (down to Eugene, up to Seattle, maybe 10 times a decade recently), the fact that I go very occasionally and the fact that I think that I will want to make those drives more frequently in the coming years, leaves me feeling trapped when I think about owning a Leaf. Sure I could rent a gasser for those occasional trips, or get somebody else to drive and ride along with them. But the first won't happen in practice. And for the latter, I suspect I'm going to be doing the driving :D

    So I have a Roadster landing in my driveway soon, and I'll swap that for a Model X when that's ready to go.
  5. Sparky

    Sparky Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    I've had a LEAF since Jan 2011 and so far it's the best new car purchase I've ever made.
    But, I hope Nissan does not continue to believe their battery pack is large enough for mainstream success.
    I think the selection bias is even more significant. This article is from Oct 2011. The data was extracted from the LEAFs of very early adopters (those more likely to understand the car's limitations) and only those who agree to let Nissan use their data.

    The LEAF has a "lawyer button" you have to press every time you start the car in order for Nissan to access the driving stats used in the study.
    My wife stopped pushing this button within a week of using the LEAF as her daily driver and I know many others who tired of it as well. So I think the data is compromised.
    And if, as the article implies, there's little need for longer range, why is Nissan now making such a fuss about the increased range of the 2013 LEAF?

    Tesla chose wisely with their battery capacities. The 40, which is by far the cheapest option is also by far the least popular. More than half choose the largest pack.
    Nissan should pay attention, learn and adjust.
  6. agentsmith1612

    Feb 9, 2013
    #6 agentsmith1612, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    I can totaly agree with you.
    I don't want to have an EV for my work, an EV for my wife's work and an third car with ICE for long distances. The study is quite right in the fact that the most rides are very often short ones. But there are sometimes longer ones as well. EVs are expensive and the costs of having two or more cars are the same or higher as to have one EV with bigger battery, that can handle long distances.

    But higher performance and the ability to drive longer distances is a very important fact of an EV. Not the long distance drive is important the ability to do a long distance drive is important.

    In my opinion Nissan is afraid about the much higher costs that goes in if they apply a bigger battery.

    Here I can say that, the battery pack of the Leaf is quite bad designed. Flat cells in lieing geometry with out any cooling or heating. Thats not the best environment for Li-Ion cells. The battery pack from GM in the Volt or the Tesla one is much better design with heating and cooling ability to avoid lasting.

    I agree with you two. Give the customers more options in choose the size of the battery pack and after a while you see what they want. Obvious people want big battery pack for having the ability to drive long distances.
  7. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

    Mar 3, 2012
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    @Doug_G and @adiggs, you are both very correct in saying that the study has major flaws that skew the data. If you only get respondents that are willing to report to Nissan because they remain excited about the car, and if you only have people buying the Leaf because they have assessed their driving needs, then you have major flaws in your data pool. While my commute is only 52 miles to/from my main job, errands and picking up kids and the like would totally eliminate being able to use the leaf in a typical day without extended charging sessions that would make the car totally impractical. The proof will be in seeing how many people purchase the GenIII when it is available.
  8. richkae

    richkae VIN587

    Jan 15, 2008
    Surveying the people who bought your product is going to give very limited insight into the people who did not buy your product.
    Claiming that they dont need to improve it because it meets the needs of the people who bought it is also a good way to make sure they dont grow market share.

    If they really want to get some valuable data from a survey, they should ask people who gave them a $99 Leaf deposit but then didn't buy to fill out a survey.
    I would do it for free, but most people would respond to being paid to fill it out.
    Here is my answer: somebody else offered a superior product. Superior in range, performance and capacity.
  9. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    I noticed on the Nissan survey, Tesla didn't show at all as a "what car do you have".

    In Texas and Arizona you have to factor in that the Leaf won't do 50 miles the second year (according to the forums). My commute is fifty miles round trip, so it's useless for me. What if I had to stop by the store on the way home? Can't be done in a Leaf. On the weekends almost everywhere I go is further away than work is. The Leaf is just impractical for me and I suspect for most other suburbanites.
  10. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

    Apr 25, 2012
    Schaumburg, IL
    I've had a Leaf for almost a year.
    "Downsized" from a Lexus 450h.
    Best downsize, and only one, I ever did.
    Knew at time of getting Leaf I was taking delivery of S.
    Made the transition from Leaf to S for 1 month now.
    Bottom line is ... Leaf is a fantastic car if you understand its benefits. And limitations.
    MS is not a Leaf and never pretended to be one. Now that I am 100% spoiled, the Leaf is "meeh", but only because I am fortunate enough to have driven 2,000 miles in my S.
    "Depreciation" of my Leaf seems to be about 60% in 11 months. That I am angry about and am having "difficulty" unloading it.
    If MS depreciates as quickly, I'll not care as I intend to drive it til it wears out ... if it ever does!
    Nissan still have a lot of work to do. Tesla ... far less.
  11. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

    Sep 23, 2012
    San Diego
    I too had a LEAF.. very nice car for folks whose primary goal is to drive an EV around town for chores or short commutes. Unfortunately, there is no system to protect the battery from heat, and as such, it has significant battery degradation. After 25k, my LEAF would go 60 miles on a full charge.. what that means is reality is a VERY short effective range... 80% charge is recommended (range now 48 miles)... I never really felt comfortable coming home with less than 10 miles of range left (in case there's traffic, a need for a detour, an errand to run, etc...), thus, the effective range is now 38 miles... that is pathetic - and, don't forget, don't dare driving anywhere close to 70mph or else the range falls to an effective of <25 miles... Conclusion, Nissan will not be in the EV business long term unless they acknowledge the issues and make improvements... Love my Model S - it is not at all appropriate to compare the two cars.
  12. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

    Aug 24, 2012
    Boston North Shore
    Isn't there also a kind of "Father knows best" error here as well. Most American families have both spouses working, so they both need a car which 90% of the time will be driven less than 100 miles per day. If the EV is limited to that then they really need a third ICE car, or perhaps the idea is they'll rent an ICE when they need to go longer trips. Maybe rather than Superchargers, Nissan needs to set up some Zip car like service.
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    But remember that the Leaf can only be counted on to go 60 miles in the worst conditions when the battery is new. Less after a year. If it could really be counted on to do 100 miles, that would be a different story. I really wanted to get a Leaf for Denise, but 60 miles just wasn't enough for her because sometimes she stays overnight where she can't plug in. And that was before I knew about the heat degradation problem.
  14. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Seattle area
    Nissan made a substantial flaw in this conclusion and I'm pretty sure that they know better by now.

    I would second the conclusion that the "Leaf is a fantastic car if you understand its benefits. And limitations." We are loving owning both a Leaf and an Tesla S, it allows us to use each for it's respective capabilities. my wife takes the Leaf to the airport nearly every week for business trips. she can leave it parked for many days on end without it loosing any charge/range due to it's simplicity.

    for folks with two cars, sure one can be a short range EV. the trouble is that while 97% of daily driving is what, less than 40 miles, that other 3% weighs disproportionately. people don't buy cars to meet most of their needs, they buy a car that they think can not only meet all their needs, but even the ones they fantasize about but almost never, or actually never do, like driving coast to coast.

    Nissan execs were definitely passing around the cool aid when they decided to market the Leaf as a 100 mile car. I'm guessing less than 1% of Leaf owners have ever been able to get 100 miles driving the Leaf, more like 70 in real world with a little margin for sanity and that's in good weather. turn on the heat and you get more like 50, do that to a cold soaked battery and you are looking at more like 45 miles. Drive on the faster side, more like 40 miles... add some age related range loss and it goes steadily down from there. it's the worst case scenarios that stand out the most. it only took one 3.5 hr episode with the wife and two kids stuck freezing their buts off while we all waited for the car to charge past midnight in a parking garage for my wife to never trust the range again and to forever change her impression of the Leaf.

    The reality is that to really have optimal battery health, doing mid pack shallow charge cycles is the best, which means using larger batteries, add room for the effects of cold, bad weather, head winds, elevation gain, vampire loads etc and you really want yet an even larger battery.

    In the future, if battery technology/density/cost allows, pretty much all EV's will be long range, IMHO... the longer the better.
  15. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    I agree that it's not about what people need, but also what people want. Shorter range EVs still have a role to play, but automakers really should offer different range options like Tesla is doing with the Model S. Let the actual customers decide what range they want, not some (likely flawed) marketing survey!
  16. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    Kongsberg, Norway
    I could consider a Leaf, but the range is just a bit on the low side. My significant other has to drive 50 miles without charging several times a week, which the Leaf can't comfortably do all year round. Especially as the range degrades. Aside from the semi-daily commute, several times a month I take trips beyond 100 miles.

    One possibility is to have the Leaf as car number two, with a Model X as car number one, but then most of the time my significant other would be driving the Tesla and I would be driving the Leaf. That just won't do - she doesn't even have a license yet, and her handling such a large vehicle is a recipe for disaster. What I want is a large long-range vehicle that I can drive (Model X), and a second small car with a 75 mile range with the heater on in -20C, driving normally at 50-65 mph, with 5 year old batteries. The Leaf just isn't that car. Maybe the 3rd gen Tesla is.
  17. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

    Oct 17, 2010
    I am sad, that Nissan/Smart does not understand the benefit of a double sized battery pack. But also the need of higher charging capability. First give you not only a higher range but more important, as you put less stress to the batterie , it will last longer. Faster charging at home gives you the chance to charge between two rides (best from your PV installation) or at a low rate through the night. What you are spending on a higher price, will pay back easily during better utilization and longevity.
  18. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Skaneateles, NY
    Yeah, but now I can have my cake and eat it too. With the Model S you can have the performance of a sports car (well actually faster than a majority of sports and muscle cars), the luxury of a high class sedan, highest safety rating of all vehicles, and the spacious room of an SUV all packed in one. Or would you rather be in a little cramped boxy Smart car or Leaf that struggles just to get to 70mph? Seems to good to be true. The Tesla Model S is a literal slap in the face to every single automotive maker in the world. They said it can't be done. It is done. Now they are all crapping their pants. If I were an executive at a big manufacturer, I would probably be pulling every resource and slimy contact I had in the world to try and acquire Tesla. Elon won't let that happen though, thank god. Tesla needs to stand alone and keep going. They are doing an exceptional job, given all the challenges and obstacles (both technical and political) they had to overcome. Elon is the perfect man for the job. He is ingenious, practical, shoots for beyond the best, and he'll never back down.

    BTW, my daily commute is 100+ miles. I looked at every EV out there. The Tesla Model S was the only one that met my requirements, let alone exceed them by 1000%. I will definitely never buy another ICE vehicle again, and as long as Tesla keeps doing what their doing, I'll likely buy only Tesla's for the rest of my life.
  19. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

    Oct 26, 2012
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Exactly. I was waiting patiently for an electric car that had both 100 mile real world range and decent performance and handling (for me 0-60 in around 8 seconds would be OK). With a 70 mile round trip commute and uncertain charging at work the Leaf just didn't quite cut it. Of course now that I have a Model S I far exceeded my original requirements (as well as the price I was expecting to pay).
  20. mattjs33

    mattjs33 Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    Antioch, Illinois, U.S.A.
    #20 mattjs33, Mar 14, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
    Easy on the hyperbole. It wasn't that anyone said it couldn't be done. Everyone knew all you had to do was but a huge battery in it. The issue has always been whether people would pay the price point that would take. The Model S proves that a certain number of people will. Is that market large enough to sustain such a product over a life cycle, and make a profit? That's the grand Tesla experiment.

    I agree on one thing though, a lot of makers of short-range EVs like to say that 100 miles is all you need. For most people, for most of the time, they are absolutely correct. The trouble is you need to sell people what they want, as opposed to what they need. It's consumer perception that matters. That's the whole reason all-wheel-drive SUVs now clog our highways.

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