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2013 Leaf Single Charge Range Explored

Eva the 13 Leaf S & Meg & I Blink Charging at the Ballard Fred Meyers

Officially rated at 75mi per charge (EPA), the owners manual tells that the single charge range you will experience as a LEAF operator varies between about 47 mi worse case and 138mi ideal 38MPH cruise case. That old saying YMMV fits the LEAF range estimate like a glove.

107HP 187lb-ft Torque : Image Via

Electric Strength 

24kWh of Lithium-Ion batteries give the 2013 Nissan Leaf enough energy to go 90MPH and to accelerate with 187 pound feet of output torque from 0 to 30mph more briskly than all but a handful of super cars and super-sport motorcycles.

A Potent Solution 

The instant torque, flat stable handling, and amazing energy efficiency gives the LEAF attributes unique to the fusion of technology imbued in each carefully crafted 0 tail pipe emissions purely electric vehicle from Nissan.

Image Via 
Slippery 0.28Cd aerodynamics enable the LEAF to slice through the air with surgical precision. 

City Driving

If you drive less than 50mi per day and have a way to plug in the car at night while you sleep, the LEAF can cover your daily commuting needs with clean slippery aerodynamics, subdued acoustics, and superb electric mobility style. The LEAF can go 90MPH, and easily cruises at 55-70MPH, so you can absolutely drive it on freeways and highways.


LEAF is an bacronym for " Leading Environmentally Friendly Affordable Family Car " and it represents the first glimmer of modern lithium EV light to shin upon the world brightly. As of today, Nissan has sold more than 50,000 Leaf's in the United States since the Leaf launched in 2010.

Battery Review

48 modules 7.4v 33AH, with 4 cells each (2 in series, 2 in parallel) and 192 total cells comprise the electro-chemical energy storage system that hold 24kWh of energy. Previously I wrote about the Leaf battery in more detail.

You Affect Range

You can greatly affect the range of a Leaf by using or not using the HVAC system. I found the heated seats were better for warming during winter and left much more charge in the batteries vs running the central heating system. During the coldest weeks I used both the seat heaters and central heating, and even the heated steering wheel. All of these heating features were standard on the based Leaf S that I leased and will eventually buy.

The Nut to Tighten

Pedal input has the single greatest impact on range, not only in a LEAF but in all vehicles. The most important nut to tighten in a car is the driver. You, the driver have more control over your vehicles energy economy than any other system in your vehicle. You have agency to keep your tires properly inflated, to accelerate and decelerate gently, and to maintain your vehicle so that it can operate optimally.

Solid Performance

107 HP & 187 lbs.-ft.  

The LEAF has amazing instant torque performance that gives it instant off the line acceleration unlike any other vehicle save for perhaps the Tesla Model S. The power band of the LEAF starts to tame by 30MPH, but its the lively spirited instant acceleration and torque that makes city driving in a LEAF wonderful.

110+ mi of Range

Even with many hard full throttle off the line accelerations I am still averaging 4.6mi/kWh which yeilds 110mi of single charge range. For the next 6 months I will try hypermiling techniques like the ones that I have use in our Prius to return exceptional fuel economy. Energy economy is the equivalent to fuel economy in an electric vehicle.

Don't Loose Your Cord

It comes with a Level 1 charger, made by Panasonic, hold your wallet, if you lose or break it, they are $1400. Charging the Leaf from nearly empty to full using the included extension cord charger is very slow, but perfectly OK if you park in an electrified garage and leave the Leaf parked in the garage all night long regularly: just beware that doing this will strain the 12v lead acid battery: because the Leaf constantly monitors charging using this battery, so the slow charging drains the 12v.

The Leaf was intended to use a Level 2 charger (like all of the normal public charging stations), so if you own a Leaf, please do yourself a favor, spend the extra ~$900 to $1500 and have an electrician install a Level 2 charger in your garage.

Slow Charging 

The base model Leaf S only charges at 3.6kW, so using a Level 2 charger, a full charge takes approximately 6 hours, often less if you only charge to 80% (long battery life preservation mode) and have a modest (15 to 20%) state of charge remaining in the battery when you plug it in. In most instances, to get 50mi of range, I need about 3 hours of Level 2 charging.

Faster Charging on More Expensive LEAF's 

The upgraded Leaf charged 2x faster with a 6.6kw onboard charger. The upgraded charger make use of the power available from a 240v 30a Level 2 charging station. The higher trim levels also include the DC Level 3 fast charger that can bring fill the Leafs battery from nearly empty to 80% full in less than 30min: but using the Level 3 charger will cook the battery system faster and shorten its useful life; some will claim otherwise, that Level 3 is fine, but it states that repeated Level 3 charging will harm the battery by shortening its service life and accelerating its breakdown in the owners manual and is consistent with current science about the Lithium battery type used in the LEAF.

Lower Cost with Less Features

The base model LEAF S did not get cruise control, hill decent B mode, LED headlights, Heat-Pump HVAC, the faster charger, alloy wheels, seat map pockets, car wings, nav or some of the other trick features of the high trim levels. For $23K out of pocket the LEAF S was a great buy. It delivers state of the art electric driving technology in an affordable package that works great for city driving and short burst of highway between cities.

The Battery & Range Will Fade 

It says right in the first few chapters of the owners manual that the LEAF's battery performance and thus the vehicles range will slowly decline over time. The battery will weaken as it ages and the range will decrease as the battery weakens. There are things that you can do to greatly extend the LEAF battery life by slowing down the fading of the lithium manganese oxide graphite battery energy storage system.

Operating the LEAF in a cooler climate will greatly extend the life of the battery because heat causing lithium manganese batteries to break down more quickly. Operating the LEAF by never charging its battery to more than 80% will greatly enhance the battery life because lithium manganese batteries are harmed every time they are charged to %100. Operating the LEAF so that its average (while sitting 21 hours per day) state of charge is between 30 & 40 % will greatly enhance the long term battery life because lithium manganese batteries experience more rapid breakdown when they are stored full.

"The Leaf’s battery cell is manufactured by NEC, is a pouch type cell with stacked elements, a LiMn2O4 cathode from Nippon Denko, a graphite anode from Hitachi Chemicals, a Celgard PP dry separator, and an EC type LiPF6 electrolyte from Tomiyama." according to information obtained by "Mike" the author or curator of the Battery Capacity Loss article linked below.

You can get a very detailed understanding of how climate/weather, charging behavior, and end use behaviors affect the life of the Nissan LEAF battery over at this wonderfully elaborate article about Battery Capacity Loss


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