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.

Categories: Nissan


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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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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%…


The old model did have a 80% charge mode, as does the new model. For some reason the EPA apparently decided to measure the range in both modes and then average the number together.

Is the EPA going to apply this thinking to all BEVs going forward? That would change all of the Tesla ratings as well. i.e. 85 kWh – 100% 265, 90% 240 – new EPA 253?

Also, in my 2011 LEAF 80% charge is only possible by setting it up as a charging timer. Did they add a more straight forward way of doing this in 2012?

This is more to my question regarding the older models Josh. My question really is wondering if all the Phoenix drivers are charging by default to 100%? I just can imagine that to be the case. That is clearly a combination for a battery killer in the summer months. Also, do the new models default to 80% as they should for longer battery life?

To add to my last comment, I think the EPA should not change methodologies without revising its numbers for all other vehicles in the segment. It seems unfair that the LEAF gets hit with this new rating of 75 miles. If someone cross-shopped with a Fit EV (82 old EPA miles), they would believe, incorrectly, they were getting more range.

Using the testing data they already took, it should be possible for them to just recalculate their range rating for all vehicles when they make a change in the methodology. This should be an apples-to-apples comparison for prospective owners determining if the vehicles fit their needs.

Nissan brought that on themselves releasing a 2013 Model so late (in 2014). All evs rated this calendar year will be subject to the same EPA test.

Whoops a year ahead of myself. Point still stands. EPA changed standards with calendar year. Nissan had the same opportunity to get their car to market last fall.

Since the battery will degrade and you’ll lose range faster if you keep doing 100% instead of the _recommended_ charge it makes much sense NOT to display the maximum range.

While Obviously Recommended/Max/Combined would be a bit better, I’m not worried about confusing EV shoppers given that the market’s small and the Internet is big.

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”….


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 😉

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

> 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:


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..

Short of measuring it yourself, I would say geographic location is what you should be looking at if you want to buy a used LEAF, not the 100% charge vs 80% charge. That might (big might) be a metric to consider if you have two identical cars in the same location. The 80% charge is really a preventative measure to be taken in situations of extreme heat and/or frequent quick charging. Personally, I’ve logged over 50K total now, 100% charge everyday. Even given that, you would be better off buying a LEAF from me (or another LEAF in the northern part of the country), over a Phoenix (or other hot locale) LEAF that has only been driven only a few thousand clicks in the summer (if you are only considering range abilities). I’m still around 95% capacity from new on the battery…whereas the super hot climate car could have already lost more than that. In my opinion, in no way should a person charge 80% in a moderate climate who doesn’t quick charge. The battery benefit (whatever it may be) in no way outpaces losing a guaranteed 18 miles of range on a 80% charge.

Well put, Jay, agreed. Calender life degradation will very likely trump cycling and other losses by a wide margin. This type of degradation is driven by long-term effective battery temperature and average state of charge. Charging to full will not affect things all that much, if you don’t let the car sit at that potential very long. It’s a use it or lose it proposition, and unless you don’t need the extra range, or lived in a hot part of the country, you might want to charge to full if it makes your daily routine easier.

“in no way should a person charge 80% in a moderate climate who doesn’t quick charge”

I live in upstate NY (moderate to cold climate), never quick charge (no chargers available for 200 miles), and almost always charge to 80%. The only exceptions are the few times I need to drive more then 40-50 miles in a day. That only happens once or twice a month. If I charged to 100% every night, my car would be sitting at 90-100% SoC for the vast majority of the day, if not all day. In your case, you must be driving a lot more miles every day to rack up 50K (I have less than 8K in a year), which implies that you don’t let the car sit above 80% very long.

My point is never say never. Like you said, 80% charging is a preventative measure. Why not take the precaution if you don’t need the range? With the push of a button, I can override the setting when I need more charge.

Thats a fair point, If you infrequently/under-utilize use the LEAF or are fully confident you won’t ever need more than 40-50 miles in any given day, you will gain some margin of benefit from a 80% charge. Although if the most you ever drive is 40ish miles/8,000 total per year (avg 20 miles per day) in NY, you are not likely to ever degrade to a level anywhere near your utilization level from 100% charging…maybe if you kept the car 12+ years. In your situation, I think I would still charge 100% at night whenever I was going to drive it the next day…but only charge at 120V to minimize the amount of time the car actually sites at full (10-12ish hours likely to do a partial charge after a 40ish mile run). That way on the off-chance I unexpectedly needed it, or just to not ever worry about it on the unexpectedly cold days, the car would be maxed out…unless of course I knew it was going to be idled for an extended period. When I am out of town, or know I am not driving a couple days I usually just leave it with whatever I last drove… Read more »

I still have to respectfully disagree. It is dangerous to assume that an average day is all one needs. I didn’t say I *never* need more than 40-50 miles in a day. I did say that I *infrequently* need it. In other words, once or twice a month.

In my case, I enjoy skiing in the winter. For me to get to the nearest ski hill, it is about 70 miles round trip. Obviously, I am making this trip in the winter. I would like to continue to make this trip for the duration of my 3-year lease. A 70% degradation of my battery will force me into the “gas guzzler” (40mpg Gen2 Insight).

In the summer, I occasionally venture into the Finger Lakes region, with round-trips of 80+ miles. Then again, an 85 mile trip in the summer is much easier than a 70 mile trip in the winter.

Of course, the other solution is end-point charging, but that’s out of my control.

All good, I hear your point. Just talking it out, (=

There are still some unknown variables when it comes to the long-term viability of these packs, you are probably wise to err on the side of caution for that particular scenario where you know you are going to need 95% of the pack to make a specific journey on a regular basis.

I too would be concerned about a 70 mile round-trip in the winter to ski…even from brand new. I’m thinking (for the sake of my fingers and toes warmth) I’d be packing up the Volt for that one, (=

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.

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

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!

“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.

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.

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.


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.

Direclty referencing the original article on the taxis (without commenting on your conclusion), a taxi at 6-7 fast charges a day over 2 years, that is 4,000-5,000 fast charges. Crazy high. The average LEAF owner does about 225 charges, (150 odd when calculating full cycles) in a year on a 240v. Thats 20-25 years worth of charges on a normalized basis, those taxi LEAFs are well, well past end of life. Even if they were only netting 75% on the average (100% on day 1, 50% on day 730), that is an equivalent of 250,000 miles worth of gas on those fast charges (obviously a lot of sitting idle in the cab and stopped heat usuage happening there.). Against a 25 mpg car, they have saved the operators 10,000 gallons of gas. Gallon of gas is about $6.50 in Japan, thats $65,500 saved in gas. Sure the driver is annoyed that he still isnt getting all the range..it would be nice if a good thing lasted forever, but the car has already long returned its value completely in savings. I’d say a LEAF taxi would reasonably need to have its pack replaced every 18 months. Normal/expected usage should see the… Read more »

You have responded with some great info here Jay. Would love to see this in a report to help the new buyer. This is really good.

Jay knows so much about the LEAF that I’m thinking a book is next up. Let’s encourage him…

I don’t know of a report that has addressed longevity of EV batteries with actual data. The theoretical data certainly exists. Taxis and other fleet databases certainly lends itself to this with the first battery exchange as Jay mentioned. You guys love breaking news. Seems to be a lot here. Did the fleetcarma include this data?

“it seems like most everyone fully expects the battery to practically last forever regardless of how they treat it”

This is akin to expecting your gasoline engine to run forever, even if you never perform a single oil change.

EVs do require *some* maintenance and care, although not as much as ICEVs. The difference is that people are familiar with caring for / maintaining ICEVs. Not so with EVs. The best we can do is try to educate people on those differences.

Of course, InsideEVs is a great resource for such information!

Yes, you are right Brian. I think a little education goes a long way here.

I think the advent of decently priced (and fully disclosed) battery pack replacement services will help out with a lot of issues.

ie) my car has travelled 120,000 miles, lost 25% of its capacity, I need that mileage again, so the exchange will cost $7,000 to reset my car’s useful lifespan

I think that math is something I think the public more easily can get their head around…as opposed to “my car can’t get me to where I need to go now and I have to throw the whole thing away and I’ve lost my investment” mentality

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.

Thats a really good question Tom. I can tell you that the OEMs (in this case Nissan) are not sure of the answer.

My gut tells me no, that the combined measurement will only be given if the option is available (which might lead to the option being deleted, or having a user selectable charge level only to avoid the preset levels)

I’ll put an inquiry into the agency…but they are notorious slow in responding, so I’ll email you if I can run down that info.

This is precisely the concern that I tried to express. Thank you Tom for conveying it more clearly than I did.

Jay – I too would like to know the answer to this. Perhaps you could publish something on InsideEVs so a wider audience can see it?

Sure, why not? It sounds like an interesting story. Hopefully I can get an answer back quicker than I see it playing out in my head, (=

Thanks for doing that. With the exception of Tesla, Nissan and Toyota (which uses Tesla’s technology), I wouldn’t be aware of any other OEM offering or recommending less than 100% charging. Does anyone know how the new EPA procedure works? Is the mere presence of different charging modes enough to trigger it, or is the recommendation to use a lower setting needed? I would have thought that it would only make sense if the default was less then 100%, which should have affected the Model S and much as it did the RAV4 EV.

Random update:

I’ve posed these exact questions, and already talked to the Oak Ridges National Labs (who translates all the data onto the Monroney sticker for the EPA), and they can’t answer that yet as apparently the EPA has not actually forwarded the data on the 2013 LEAF, or the new protocols for that matter.

I am moving up the chain of command though, and ferreting around the EPA now, lol.

My guess is that the EPA did this because Nissan not only has the 80% charge option, but they recommend it is used more often than the 100% setting, to prolong battery life. Is that not true?

I would think that the manufacturer’s recommendation to use less than the 100% setting all the time is what necessitated the EPA’s latest methodology.

The Volt has a similar concern with battery life, but a different approach. They NEVER let you use that 100%, with the full state of charge topping out at around 80%.

While I know the new results may be misleading, I think the older results could have been too. My hope is that, eventually, the technology matures enough that a “Charge to 80% only” setting will never have to exist. I like how GM approached this with the Volt, even though they’re effectively sacrificing the full range that the Volt could’ve achieved with a 100% state of charge. It simplifies the process for people: “Just plug it in whenever you can/want”

@Tom, @Jay

I believe 75, 66 & 84 mile ranges have nothing to do with “how, or how much you charge” but solely calculated from EPA’s MPGe results based on a 21.75 kWh ‘usable capacity’. Long-Life Mode (80%) & Long-Distance Mode (100%) are Nissan terminology for State of Charge (SoC) levels in use since 2011. To my knowledge EPA hasn’t made statements or documented Charge Modes for EPA test purposes.

2013 LEAF
City Range: 84 miles = 21.75 kWh / 0.259 kWh/mile (for 130 MPGe)
Highway Range: 66 miles = 21.75 kWh / 0.330 kWh/mile (for 102 MPGe)
Combined Range: 75 miles = 21.75 kWh / 0.290 kWh/mile (for 116 MPGe)

note: Same 21.75 kWh checks for city, highway, and combined MPGe results. The EPA value of 33.7 kWh/gallon is use to convert MPGe to kWh/mile.

I posted more detailed comments to these calculations at:


Hrm, I see what you are saying, but Nissan emailed all the major outlets (including ourselves) a statement that itthe rating was specifically based on the two settings, and the math lines up bang on (84+66 = 150/2 = 75).

I don’t see why they would say that if it was done another way. (Nissan’s statement to us is in the article above)


Agree, I don’t why? The 80% & 100% values stated by Nissan don’t match the math particularly when “21.75 kWh” does (but is ~91% of 24 kWh).

re: “math lines up bang on (84+66 = 150/2 =75)”, is directly correlated to (130+102 = 232/2 = 116) MPGe ‘combined’ values.

Thanks for posting more details, Brian! Ultimately, I would love to see the full EPA report, much like an early owner requested for the 2011 LEAF. What you could find of interest is the large (about 10%) improvement in charging efficiency, which has translated to lower cost of fuel on the Monroney sticker. The magnitude of the improvement would be consistent with a blend of 80% and 100% charging, I believe. Topping off the pack to 100% apparently burns more energy for heat generated due to increased thermal resistance. Then there is the fixed cooling overhead and lower charge current.

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.

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.

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.

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.