Friday, June 18, 2010

Leaf is a nifty vehicle, but suffers in temperature extremes and traffic

SHOOT: The solution is really one no one wants to talk about. Build more walkable communities that don't need cars. The problem is that there are too many cars; the solution is simple - we need fewer, and a living arrangement that is more sustainable and more in tune with limited resources. Less driving, less shopping, more living. More walking. Less overweight people.
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Running at a constant speed, without air conditioning to modulate cabin temperature discrepancies, found the Leaf (unsurprisingly) returning its best results. Cruising at 60km/h on a mild 20 degree Celsius day, the Leaf achieved its most generous range of 222km. Increasing the cruising speed to 88km/h and dialling in air conditioning to cope with 35 degree Celsius ambient temperatures saw the Leaf run flat in only 112km.
Don’t think only heat truncates the range, though. Extremes at either end of the temperature scale tax the lithium-ion battery severely. The Leaf could only manage 100km on a single charge travelling at 24km/h (in heavy traffic) on a 10 degree Celsius day with the in-car heater operating at maximum thermodynamic efficiency.
Nissan’s worst range achieved with the Leaf during its real-world tests was a scant 75km, crawling along in severe traffic at 10km/h, with the air conditioning employed at full power, on a 30 degree Celsius day.
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