The Ultimate Nissan Leaf Road Test

You’ve been told that the Nissan Leaf is not a roadtrip worthy car. You probably assumed that with only a humble 84 EPA estimated miles of “range” that if you wanted to go see granny you were out of luck. After all, granny lives 300 miles away, and you’re used to thinking about EVs as having long charging times.

Let’s revisit this with the help of some actual data.

By the numbers:
In the 24 hour stretch between yesterday noon and noon today, I personally witnessed a 2013 base (S model) Leaf complete 600.1 miles. 

From the driver’s seat.

600 miles is more than 7x the car’s “range.”

But it gets better, because that stretch included a rather rigorous stop at the Canada to U.S. border–70 minutes in total.

The Leaf in question not only made it from Canada to California (646.8 miles) with nothing but electricity as its fuel, it did so in just 23:44.

The fastest stretch of all, however, was between 18:26 yesterday and 17:54 today–a 23 hour, 28 minute period where my “limited range” Nissan Leaf managed 650.2 miles–despite that I took two naps, stopped three or four extra tiemes to take pictures of the Oregon coast, had lunch at a Subway, and drank just two cups of coffee–slightly below my daily average.

And it could do better. 

With active battery temperature management, more vigorous and widely dispersed infrastructure, and yes, a slightly bigger battery, the Leaf becomes the best roadtrip car there is:

*it’s affordable
*it’s clean/environmentally responsible
*it’s comfortable and well-made
*fueling it up costs less than any production gas car by a significant margin. (Yes, even than your Prius.)

**fueling an EV is not the miserable experience of fueling a gas car**

-it’s cheaper, it doesn’t stink, and you can carry on with your life without being temporarily locked to a disgusting and carcinogenic relic of ages past.

Having driven this 2013 base Leaf 27,380 miles on this trip alone and 55,525 miles in total, my battery state of health still reads 100%. I can recommend the car with conviction and the data to back it, and best of all, there are lots of Leafs much more gently used than mine on the used market right now for about $10k or less!

Isn’t it time you saw firsthand what you’re missing? At least go test drive one. Just tell the salesperson you have no intention of buying it. 

You won’t until you test drive it. 😉

9 thoughts on “The Ultimate Nissan Leaf Road Test

  1. When you get back to New York, you need to put some pressure on NYSERDA to support some real infrastructure. We finally have a QC on the thruway, but we need so much more.

  2. With those insanely high battery temperatures, I think you are going to be disappointed when you end up losing capacity on your battery pack and end up with a lot less range than that measly 84 miles per charge. I saw you pass through my town on the west coast, and wanted to hook up my LeafSpy to your car to see how close you are to losing a capacity bar.

  3. Except that I've already passed 72,200 miles and have not lost a capacity bar yet. The car met the challenge. Yes, I would like Nissan to fix the problems inherent in a car with no active temperature maintenance to the battery–no one builds an ICE car without a radiator, after all–but for now my purpose has been to demonstrate possibility. My intention was to push the car to its limits, not to have my driving behaviors determined by conventional wisdoms which clearly don't tell the full story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *