2013 Nissan LEAF Rated At 75 Miles. But 84 Miles Using The Outgoing 2012 EPA Ratings System

FEB 21 2013 BY JAY COLE 55

2013 Nissan LEAF Nets Owners 15% More Range On A Full Charge Over A 2012 Model

2013 Nissan LEAF Nets Owners 15% More Range On A Full Charge Over A 2012 Model

Several days ago we broke the news that the 2013 Nissan LEAF had been rated at 75 miles, according to Monroney (EPA) window stickers that had been seen showing up at dealership lots.   Today, Nissan themselves confirmed that rating, but with one big *asterisk.

2013 LEAF S Sticker Showing The Combined Average Range Of 75 Miles

2013 LEAF S Sticker Showing The Combined Average Range Of 75 Miles

Against the 2012 Nissan LEAF, rated at 73 miles of range, the new 2013 model only appears to have gained a very small 2 extra miles.  But that is simply not the case.

In 2012, the EPA test was based on a full 100% discharge of the battery.  For 2013 it is a blend between what Nissan calls its “80% Long Life charging mode” and the “100% Long Distance Mode charging,” which is the factory default setting.  Combining the two modes, nets the new 75 mile range rating.

But in reality:

  • In 100% mode, the 2013 LEAF now gets 84 miles…a 15% range increase over the 2012 LEAF, which achieved only 73 miles on a 100% charge.
  • In 80% mode, the 2013 LEAF nets approximately 66 miles

Overall MPGe numbers are also much improved:

  • 2013 – 130 MPGe city/102 highway, combined 116 MPGe
  • 2012 – 106 MPGe city/92 highway, combined 99 MPGe

Annual fuel cost estimated by the EPA was adjusted down from $561 to $500, giving the 2013 LEAF an estimated “$9,100 in fuel savings over 5 years” when compared to the average vehicle.  The new 2013 Nissan LEAF is available from $28,800, or $199/month.  You can find all the details on the new lineup, including the new, entry level S model, here.

On the 2013 LEAF ratings, and EPA changes, Nissan says:

“The EPA portion of the vehicle Monroney label now displays an average of the two estimated ranges when charged in these two different modes. EPA labels on prior model year vehicles reflected an estimated range based solely on a 100 percent battery charge. It is Nissan’s experience that many customers elect to use the vehicle’s default Long Distance Mode charge setting and charge their vehicle to 100 percent for maximum range. Nissan’s new battery capacity warranty (~70 percent range covered for 5 years/60,000 miles, whichever comes first) provides peace of mind to do so.

EPA testing of the MY13 LEAF when charged to 100 percent in the default Long Distance Mode results in 84 miles of estimated range on a single charge…the range improvement largely can be attributed to refinements made to the MY13 LEAF’s regenerative braking system, reduction in vehicle weight and enhanced aerodynamics.

Customers who choose the Long Life Mode on the MY13 vehicle should know that the EPA testing methodology resulted in an estimated range of approximately 66 miles based on a single charge. Because of the vehicle owner’s ability to change the default 100 percent charging mode to the 80 percent Long Life Mode (which some current owners chose to do), the EPA decided the EPA label should display the mathematical average of the two modes using their testing methodology, which results in 75 miles of estimated range in a single charge.”

Nissan also notes that the 2013 LEAFs are now on sale, but that it might take until the end of March for dealer inventories (and vehicle availabilities) to fill up.  Some outgoing 2012 LEAFs can still be found, but they are a virtual sell-out at this point with about 180 left in inventory nationwide.

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55 Comments on "2013 Nissan LEAF Rated At 75 Miles. But 84 Miles Using The Outgoing 2012 EPA Ratings System"

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Mark H

Are you saying that the original Leaf did or did not offer both modes? This is pretty basic to prolonging the life of the battery is it not?

You had a charge option in the old model to go past the 80% mark or stay at 80%…

MrEnergyCzar

I guess this explains my earlier question about why the different japan test yielded a 14% range increase even though their test is different vs. the 2 mile or very small percent increase here. So is it safe to say it gets “about a 10 mile increase in range”….

Thanks
MrEnergyCzar

JohnL

Regardless of how you cut it, this is good news. It means that Leaf 2013 meets or surpasses the range of it’s this year’s competitors: Fit, Fusion, Fiat, Spark, VW. Kudo’s to Nissan. As someone who put money down, you just sold me.

David Murray

This is terrible news. The Leaf is getting treated unfairly by this test. If they could advertise the car as 84 miles with the new lower price, the car would sell a lot better than it is now.

On the upside, people who buy it expecting 75 miles range, should definitely get their 75 miles without too much griping and complaining.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Again, as I wrote above: 84 miles would be misleading, just as 73 was misleading since rapid degradation would mean you’d quickly lose that range. 66/84/75 would be better.

Brian

I completely disagree with the EPA’s method. If I buy a car that claims 75 miles range, and charge to 100%, I should expect 75 miles of range. Now if I only charge it to 80%, I should expect to get 60 miles of range (80% of 75). That is very clear and reasonable.

This effectively discourages EV makers from adding reduced charging level options, even though we all know it helps extend the life of the battery. They will get penalized for doing the right thing.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

It has nothing to do with charging options and won’t affect it. Flexible charging is also helpful for minimizing charging cost, maximizing efficiency and for people who live up a hill with a large regen opportunity at the start of their journeys.

The blended range is because Nissan specifically _recommends_ charging to 80% in order to _avoid_ _more rapid_ _battery_ _degradation_. In effect the extra 20% is only for occasional use, so indicating _only_ maximum range on the Monroney would be _more_ misleading as somebody might be looking at the range for a regular trip like a commute.

I would argue that the 75 is actually generous since if you follow Nissan’s recommendation _you_ _would_ _only_ _get_ _66_ _miles_ _of_ _range_. Manufacturers aren’t going to stop recommending a charge level because there’s a market advantage in allowing the extra occasional range, and there’s a profit advantage in lowering warranty costs.

David Murray

I wondered the exact same thing. You have to know car manufacturers are going to look at this and wonder if they should offer a long-life battery setting. One one hand their car will look more competitive in the market if they do not. On the other hand, they might have more warranty claims.

I’d be curious to know how many average Leaf owners use the 80% charge. The first year I had my Leaf I always charged to 100%. It wasn’t until reading on a bunch of forums of the benefit of using 80% that I started doing that. It isn’t even really all that obvious to the typical driver how to make that change. I’ve been doing the 80% for the last year now with now issues.

ClarksonCote

Where you live and the way you drive, if you buy this car, and charge it to 100%, you’ll expect less than 75 miles of range. :-p The EPA is being liberal in your particular use scenario. 😉

Bloggin

Nissan ‘knew’ there would be a battery capacity loss issue with their batteries. Due to the fact that they went the cheap route, and did not engineer and include a more expensive thermal battery management system, like GM, Tesla and Ford did. So they offered two different charging options to compensate.

– 100% Full Charge – as the only option for GM, Tesla and Ford EVs

– 80% based on the fact that without thermal protection, the battery will loose capacity at a faster pace by charging at 100% consistently. Using the Quick Charger will impact capacity even faster.

Remember, their new 5 year/60k mile warranty only is to ensure the battery is around 70% capacity at the specified date/mileage.

Which means the Leaf may get 84 miles from a full charge, but not for long.

Battery degradation is inevitable, thermal management or no thermal management. Thermal management can buy one slower degradation under hot conditions, which is important for some drivers. But for someone in Washington Sate, it’ll degrade at the same rate with or without thermal management.

As always YMMV

Stoaty

> 80% based on the fact that without thermal protection, the battery will loose capacity at a faster pace by charging at 100% consistently.

There is no evidence that 100% charging has a significant effect on battery life provided you don’t leave it at 100% very long. There is a lot of evidence that heat and time substantially effect battery life. The Battery Aging Model that several of us created for the Leaf does not even have 100% charging as a factor:

http://www.mynissanleaf.com/wiki/index.php?title=Battery_Capacity_Loss#Battery_Aging_Model

So if someone is shopping for a used Leaf, how will they know how often it was driven in 80% mode vs. 100% mode? Is this data recorded anywhere? Is there a 3rd party device that can tell you how “good” a battery still is?

You can buy or build a GID meter

Check out out the mynissanleaf.com forums for more details..

I charge to 100% everyday, quick charge regularly, and live in Houston, TX. (don’t buy my LEAF when it comes off of lease)

There really will need to be a third party independent certifier for battery health to support the used EV market. I am sure the OEMs have though about this. Maybe a Nissan “certified used battery”, although they might have credibility issues after the last year.

surfingslovak

When you talk about the outgoing 2012 rating system, does this imply that a 2-cycle instead of the 5-cycle approach was used? That would explain why these numbers worked so well: http://bit.ly/XnFB7c

Dave K.

Since I don’t need it I charge to 80%, but I know people charging to 100% twice daily, no degradation observed. I think it’s really minor especially after Plug-in Amreica’s survey of range loss. Like Jay said no one’s really losing much of anything except a few people in very hot climates, and not all of them! We have an American Leaf with ~60K on it now(no loss) and a Japanese Leaf with ~108K(don’t know), just quit worrying unless you live in Phoenix!

surfingslovak

“Like Jay said no one’s really losing much of anything except a few people in very hot climates, and not all of them”
I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with this statement. While the climate plays and overwhelming role, and owners in Arizona, Texas, Southern California and Florida will be more affected than others, it would be wrong to state that battery capacity loss affects only select few people, and only in Phoenix. That’s far from the truth. Please read the following article as well: http://bit.ly/WZ3pyQ

That said, the 80% vs 100% charging issue should likely be divorced from calendar aging, which appears to be driving much of the range loss in hotter climates.

Rick

That is a different case, and Jay mentioned the effects of fast charging. Those Japanese taxi leafs are all over 100,000 kilimters (60,000 miles) and get fast charged 6-7 times a day!!! The drivers are also sitting him them running power all day long, cycling their batteries, that is not being translated by the odometer.

From the article—
“If you consider the time you spend getting to one, you’re probably taking of about one full hour for a single recharge. And since you have recharge the batteries six or seven times a day, you’re spending as much time at the ‘pump’ as you are carrying fares. It’s a money-losing proposition.”

It is extremely rare to hear of any leaf owners losing even a bar of range outside of the extreme heat zones of the US.

surfingslovak

How do you know that it’s the effect of quick charging? Could it be the effect of limited cycle life? There is an owner in Seattle that’s about lose a capacity bar, he is at 70K miles.

http://bit.ly/YnaAMR

These taxi cabs have a lot of miles, and although we din’t model the climate in Osaka, it’s probably a little warmer than Seattle.

What I mean to say by all this, is that battery aging should not be trivialized. There is enough data to show that it’s not only Phoenix and not only a vocal minority. When you live north of a certain latitude, then things look reasonably good, depending on your local climates, but we might start to hear more reports of range loss as the fleet ages. That’s why it’s so crucial for Nissan to announce battery pack replacement prices. My $0.02.

Jay, do you know how the EPA rating will now work for a new EV that doesn’t have a secondary 80% charge level? Will the EPA make the manufacturer also test the car at 80% SOC to average the two range scores or will they only require the test done at 100% charged? This is a slippery slope here. What if the next manufacturer had a 90% setting as well as a 100% setting? Or if the car allows you to set whatever SOC you want it to stop charging at?
Suddenly we aren’t comparing apples to apples with the EPA rating anymore. Dislike.

If indeed the EPA will use this combined average for vehicles that offer two SOC settings, then as Brian said above the manufacturer is being penalized for “doing the right thing” or in other words trying to help the customer extend their battery life. I frequently make suggestions to BMW and this is one of the things I strongly recommended a while ago (an 80% charge setting) now I’m going to have to backtrack on that if indeed this is how the EPA range rating will be officially calculated. If it knocks 8-10 miles off the EPA range rating, I believe it will definitely have a negative impact on sales. I would then recommend having a setting where the owner can set the car to stop charging at any percentage they choose and allow for the lower setting to be for only one charge or hold for all future charges until it’s reset.

surfingslovak

Yes, having a user-adjustable charger setting is probably better anyway. I remember seeing a lot of handwringing about charging protocols and the 80% and 100% setting on MNL in the early days. I even put more granular charge timers (50%, 60%, 70% and 90% in addition to 80% and 100%) on a list of suggestions we presented their chief vehicle engineer with over a year ago at the Google meeting: http://bit.ly/nissansuggestions

I doubt the EPA will want to test every conceivable setting and come up with a blend. I look forward to learn more about this new procedure.

ClarksonCote

I’ll still argue a counter point Tom, not because I disagree with your comment of being “penalized” necessarily, but because there is still more to the story.

My counter point would be that, if Nissan had a battery designed that would result in little to no degradation, there would be no need for an 80% setting, and no recommendations from them to use that when a 100% charge is not required.

To look at the other side of the coin, it’s not necessarily fair to the consumer to read an advertised range based on 100% state of charge, and then be told by the manufacturer that if you always use that 100% range, your battery will degrade much quicker, and you won’t get that promised range.

While both sides of the coin have some truth, it’s my hope that in 5 years battery tech will have reached another echelon of performance, and this will all be moot.

Gwido

The 2013 LEAF S sticker shown above is clearly stating: “When fully charged, vehicle can travel about … 75 miles”

This contradicts the statement that 75 miles range comes from the blend of full and long-life charging modes.