Bjørn Conducts Summer 2018 Nissan LEAF “Rapidgate” Test


The Nissan Leaf charge performance is acceptable, but could have been better with proper thermal management.

“Rapidgate” refers to the reported issue that the 2018 Nissan Leaf charge times will drastically increase in length after 1 or 2 fast charging sessions. Obviously, for daily travel, this will rarely be an issue. But when driving long distance, this can significantly slow your travel time.

Many drivers have found they can actually complete long trips much faster in earlier generation Leafs than in the 2018 model.


This was an intentional decision by Nissan to protect the long-term health of the battery. Following reports about the charging issues, Nissan released a statement:

“The 2018 Nissan LEAF has charging safeguards to protect the battery during repeated fast charging sessions in a short period of time. While the safeguards may increase charging times after multiple fast charging sessions, they are important to maintaining battery life over an extended time period.”

Bjørn Nyland decided to record a summer follow up to his epic “Rapidgate” live stream from earlier in the year. His first trip in March covered about 621 Miles (1,000 kilometers). In this second trip, he travels 408 miles (657 km) in about 11 hours.

The first fast charge went smoothly as expected but slowed as the trip went on. By the end of the trip, he had spent over 2 hours and fifteen minutes charging. Here is a rough rundown of his experience:

But still, it is Okay. I mean you can drive 500 (km) okay. 650 (km) is starting to be painful. If you want to push it to let’s say 700 or 800 km that’s also a bit painful. (…)  You can drive long trips. It’s not optimal: an Ioniq, i3 or whatever other car that has active cooling will travel faster. It will do this long trip up to one hour faster. (…) But as long as you don’t take these trips too often and you don’t drive too long, then a Leaf will work.

There are lots more details in the 35-minute video. If you’d like to see how the Leaf fared, check out his video below:

Video Description via Bjørn Nyland on YouTube:

I did a new test with Nissan Leaf to see how it would deal with summer temperatures and fast charging. This time I drove slower to prevent heat buildup.

The result is that it’s possible to drive 400-500 km in one day without too much hassle. But if you want to stretch it past 600 km, it will be a bit cumbersome.

Categories: Nissan, Videos

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

44 Comments on "Bjørn Conducts Summer 2018 Nissan LEAF “Rapidgate” Test"

newest oldest most voted

I test drove the new leaf and liked it a lot. Here in SF bay area the dealers I’ve checked only have the base S model with the fast charging option which adds +/- $1600 to the price; you might as well buy the SV.

If the base is available at a good enough price without DCFC and still has the full tax credit available, I will seriously consider it in a year when my PHEV lease is done. No illusions, it would just be a very nice local use EV to be charged at night. We have a gen 3 Prius for long trips which has a 500-600 mile range at 70-75 mph getting 50ish mpg, unlimited heat in winter and cool in summer, and 5 minute refueling almost anywhere.

At this point the EV road trip with fast charging is (except for long range Teslas) not really ready for anybody except serious EV enthusiasts.

Your EV road trip choice depends on your point of reference. Took my 2017 Leaf from Bay Area to Reno and back; 5 hrs. each way. But I was comparing to Greyhound and Amtrak as alternatives, so it was much better than those (needed car in Reno). 6 DCFC charges in one day – just stop charging if/when battery temp. hits the red. Lots of stations so no worries.

In a few months you can get the new improved Leaf, and this time it actually probably will be.
Wait for the 2019 long range with the LG Chem battery and a LTMS for the pack.
You could lease the current model, but don’t buy it.
I think the Bolt is a better buy.

The Bolt is a very small car, much smaller than the Leaf.

The Leaf is about the size of the Prius and comfortably sits a family of four with luggage for a long weekend. The Bolt is much less practical for families.

The Bolt’s trunk is smaller, sure. But inside, there is more passenger space than a Leaf. My family has learned to pack light, and the Bolt has plenty of room for our family of four with luggage for a long weekend. We’ve done it multiple times. And this summer I’m going to strap a Thule box to the roof and take the family on two week-long vacations (each including over 1,000 miles of driving). My only concern is the gaps between chargers. The car is absolutely wonderful.

BOLT ev “….is absolutely wonderful.”. Apparently this Rave is deserved. Tuesday night my Nephew was driven into by a Nissan Rogue with the Lady Texting on her phone without any brake pedal activation (my Bolt ev and passengers providing all the braking of the ROGUE from around 35 mph. The Rogue’s front end was amost totally demolished, and 1/8th of the car ‘glued’ itself to the back of the BOLT. In fact at the collision shop, while trying to find out the Rogue’s license plate number (to put in a claim with the other company – once I found out who that company was) – the collision shop pulled hard on the front 1/8th of the ROGUE attached to the BOLT, and when separating – the ROGUE’s license plate fell out on the pavement – meanwhile the BOLT ev’s rear license plate was pristine. My Nephew told me the car was certainly totalled, since he saw fumes and hissing – but talking to the Collision shop – they said that was all from the ROGUE’s radiator and engine. So – its up in the air still – but looks like it will be relatively simple to repair the BOLT. Not… Read more »

“The Bolt is a very small car, much smaller than the Leaf.”

Interior passenger volume: Bolt 94 cuft. LEAF 92 cuft.
Cargo volume: Bolt 23 cu ft, LEAF 24 cu ft.

So, I don’t know where you find the word “much” from except for the fact that Bolt has much more “space efficiency” (ratio of interior volume vs. exterior dimensions) and much longer range and much better performance.

While I agree that the Bolt makes very good use of it’s space, the Leaf has a much larger trunk for cargo. I don’t know where you got 23 cu ft for the Bolt, because that is quoted everywhere as 16.9 cu ft.


I parked next to a Bolt on Friday with my LEAF and compared the two vehicles directly. The front end is over a 1ft shorter and the rear is a little shorter as well.

Despite this the interior cabin appeared to be about the same.

If Nissan could shrink the hood and make that into passenger space it would be a bigger car for sure.

In North America, the affordable/available EV shopping list should currently have the following caveats:
Lease the 2018 Leaf,
Buy the 2018 Bolt, or
Get lucky on a limited supply of Hyundai or Kia EVs coming soon,
Wait for the Model 3, or
Really wait for Model Y.

I would add “Wait for the Model 3 (and forgo tax credit) or Really wait for Model Y (damn sure no tax credit)”.

“Damn sure no tax credit” for the patient Model Y waiters (such as myself), is spot on. Not EVen a partial 25% or 50% Federal Tax credit when the first Model Y reservation becomes an actual order delivered.

When the Model Y launches, the Fed Tax Rebate for Tesla will have probably totally dried up. Still, I don’t see VW or Hyundai/Kia stealing too much market share from Tesla, with the extra Fed. Cred. of $7.5 k on the hood.

Or pick up a used Tesla Model S… for 50 to 60K… great car… usually come with Free Supercharging. Look for cheapest one that is the most recent release to get a useful warranty also. Love my Model X 100D!

Not sure the Model 3, Model Y, or Bolt really qualify for the “affordable” tag. I can see the Bolt in that category of you qualify for the tax credit and can get local incentives.

So I keep hearing that the longer range LEAF will be available “soon” does anyone have any solid information as to when we may see it? InsideEVs Admin are you listening?…..

Sadly, there is no concrete information yet.

A Dealer informed me that it will arrive sometime within the 1st quarter of 2019…

Bummer. I realy like the new model but would feel foolish leasing one to only have the other come available a few months later.

An educated guess for the 2019 Leaf Launch, would probably be in about 6 months, at the earliest, but real availability, could be more in the ballpark of about 9 months.

One thing to consider, is that the Hyundai/Kia longer range LG Chem battery cars, will probably see daylight, here in North America first, before Nissan launches its longer range LG Chem 60 kWh battery 2019 Leaf.

Until then, only Nissan knows when and where the Leaf 2.5 will Launch!

Check leasing, you could very well lease a BMW i3 REX for less, and it has a real BMW suspension, and ride. If you can afford it.

Thought about it but I have the same aversion to the i3 Rex/Volt as I do with a hybrid, I see no logic in saddling a perfectly good BEV with all that garbage.

Yeah, so the bottom line question is how often people drive >600km while stopping only for fuel. Up to that distance, 0-1.5 QC sessions would suffice, they can nicely coincide with human-fueling stops, and you won’t encounter the dreaded “rapidgate”, nor will you feel much delay (see “human fueling” above).

Keeping this in perspective, that’s >3x better than what anyone could dream of doing with a 5-seat BEV only 7 years ago. And now you can get it for as low as ~$20k after the various incentives. I feel pretty privileged, not “cheated” out of anything.

Keeping this in perspective, that’s >3x better than what anyone could dream of doing with a 5-seat BEV only 7 years ago. And now you can get it for as low as ~$20k after the various incentives

It is pretty amazing when you think about it that way. Plus, the DCQC network is several orders of magnitude better. Here in upstate NY, there were zero DCQCs 7 years ago.

Or what happens when you drive long distance on a hot day…

…in a BEV with no active thermal management system for the battery pack.

Your Fast Charge rate gets throttled down, or software restricted, into the Low 20 kW range (about half speed from the regular 40-45 kW typical Leaf charge rate) on your second fast charge, and so on.

At some speed air-cooling should have been sufficient.
Maybe 50-65 miles per hour.

Lemon tea LEAF in SCotland has shown the 2018 LEAF needs to driven no faster than 60 mph for the passive cooling to be effective.

In addition he discovered the battery should not be discharged below 30% SOC if you wish to avoid battery overheating.

Bjorn went below 30% SOC several times which exacerbated the problem.

Don’t forget, new Leafs still come with two years of free DCFC on the EVgo network. That in itself almost makes it worth the time to wait, especially for only occasional trips.

Thank god those cards don’t work on the Electrify America stations.

While I agree that the problem maybe isn’t as bad as some of the hype has made it out to be, do keep in mind that this was a very experienced EV driver, driving no more than about 90 km/h and doing it in Norway in temperatures mostly below 30°C. If you’re hoping to drive 120+ km/h in Spain in the summer, this is not the car for you. In a case like that you’re likely to see low charging speeds right from the beginning. It is a shame that the Leaf seems to deal so badly with the heat despite getting such a far reaching redesign.

Does the Leaf battery also maybe produce more heat than other cars’? Maybe their cells have a really high internal resistance?

Well, my current and only car is a 2013 Leaf without DCFC. The new Leaf, even with #rapidgate, would be a massive improvement for the family. Especially since we don’t have home charging available.

According to Goshn DCFC is not a concern for 99% of their customers. I know quite a lot of Leaf owners. None of their cars has DCFC.

You don’t know me and I do have DCFC on my 2011 LEAF. I am so pleased I opted for the model with DCFC. My current commute is out of the range of the 2011 LEAF. Being able to stop for a quick 10-15 minute “splash and dash” to give me the range to get home in the evening makes the difference between me using the LEAF for my commute or having to drive my wife’s car instead.

Another Euro point of view

11 hours to do 650 km, wow :-(. If I do 650 km in anything more than 6.5 hours something went wrong (traffic jams, snow). Best I did is 950 km in 7 hours with a standard $25k TDI, just need a app on your smartphone that shares info about radars.

950km in 7 hours is an AVERAGE of 136km/h. Your TDI probably needed to stop for fuel once, so that means you were likely cruising at closer to 150km/h. I hope you don’t do that often! And if you do, I hope to never drive on the same road as you.

At 140km/h on cruise control that TDI probably would do 1200km before it ran dry.

Really? I stand corrected. Still, 140km/h for 7h on end sounds like it would get very dangerous near the end as fatigue sets in.

Another Euro point of view

And I wonder what would be the range of that Leaf at 140km/h. Even a Tesla 100D range at 140km/h is ridiculous as compared to any cheap TDI out there. From there I fully understand the rush for self driving. I have no problem with snailing along on the highway in EV mode as long as I do not need to drive the damn thing.

You have to remember that the average maximum speed in Norway is around 90 kmh and if you watch the live stream on Bjorn’s youtube channel, a significant proportion of the trip was on secondary roads with a top speed of 80 km/h. Add into that a reduced average speed and stop for road works – the 650 km in a day does look a little better and there are one or two other longer Leaf trips on youtube where people have completed 550 to 600 miles in a day of around 12 hours driving.

The new Leaf is targeted at a wide market of potential new adopters as well as seasoned EV’ers that don’t need to commonly drive daily beyond the initial charge range. Even for a daily drive needing 1 or 2 Rapid Chargers, the Leaf is still a great fit. For those who need to drive daily more than that, then there are other choices on the market that may be better suited, if you don’t want the extra time involved in charging. The new Leaf is quite capable of doing cross-country jaunts and look at Lemon-Tea Leaf (YouTube), who regularly drives his new Leaf 400-600 miles and has no issues, other than sometimes having to wait a bit longer for rapid charging after the initial couple. If you have the time, the Leaf will do long trips. There is nothing “-gate” about this whole issue, other than the fact that Nissan should be upfront with this feature to prospective buyers so they can make complete and informed decisions. I’ve just past 2,000 kms in my new Leaf at just over a month old. Love it, love it, love it! I’ve had zero issues with it and its worked flawlessly. I have… Read more »

Nah, the issue isn’t about driving like a bat out of hell … simply driving long distance – at low speeds like 65 MPH, results in very, very long charging times. I have 12k miles on my 18 Leaf and I can prove this assertion beyond the shadow of any doubt. Way, way, way, way slower for repeated DCFC than any previous generation Leaf.

Watched both Bjorn videos. He is very thoughtful. However, he often borrows his test vehicles and I do wonder if he takes the time to read the owner’s manual. The 2018 Leaf’s O.M. repeatedly gives warnings about reduced (or terminated) charging speed at higher temps or reduced charging speed at low temps. So yes, the car is performing as expected and that may be annoying but it is not a scandal, since Nissan documents this behavior. Our 2017 Leaf does the same thing. The graphs are misleading – the bottom scale should be “kW added” rather than % to make it more fair to BEVs with larger battery packs.