First Experience with ‘Range Anxiety’

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This weekend we ventured out further than we have before. After doing routine journeys the vehicle was left with a  75% charge. We planned to go to PF Chang’s for dinner. The round trip of 46 miles was easily in the range of the vehicle, so I didn’t top off the charge prior to us setting off.

I soon realized that carrying 3 adults and child at 70 Mph was using more energy than would normally be the case. We used 30% of the charge on the journey downtown. I already had used 25% earlier in the day so I reckoned we’d be left with 15% by the time we got home.

I did go faster when I realized we had enough to get home, so used more on the return journey, we got back with 8% left or maybe 6-7 miles range left.

Next time we go downtown I’ll be sure to leave on a 100% charge, which will leave a comfortable margin for any unplanned detours or traffic holdup’s.

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Interestingly the Nissan Vehicle Website is now very pessimistic regarding the miles I will get on an 80% charge. It figures maybe 44 miles.  It must base its estimates on recent trips. The return trip to PF Chang’s was 46 miles which I did with 67% of a charge. I would estimate 55 miles based on those figures. A full charge would go about 68 miles.

This underlies the fact that the LEAF is primarily a commuter vehicle, it does not go very far on the highway at 70 Mph with a full load of passengers. Now if PF Chang’s had a charging station then it wouldn’t matter as much. Building out an electrical charging infrastructure is crucial to the success of all electric vehicles.

On the upside the entire day of travel cost $1.36 in electric. In a gasoline vehicle that gets 30 miles/gal one would only be able to go 11 1/2 miles for the same cost. About half the distance to PF Chang’s.

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