Nissan LEAF Races Volkswagen e-Golf On Winter Road Trip


Which electric car can complete this excursion first?

Bjørn Nyland sets off in a Nissan LEAF, racing his “brother from another mother,” Pawel Dalene, who’s piloting a Volkwagen e-Golf. The Nissan is a 2018 model with a 40-kWh battery pack. In comparison, the VW gets its energy from a 35.8-kWh battery. The LEAF has a range of 151 miles, while the e-Golf can travel 125 miles on a charge.

This is not the usual race — meaning they’re not at the drag strip or on a twisty track. Instead, the guys are road-tripping in the midst of some wintry weather in Norway. The journey should take about five hours, plus charging time.

Both cars are outfitted with winter tires. The LEAF is wearing 215/50 R17 Continental Viking Contact 6 tires, as compared to the e-Golf’s 205/55 R17 Viking Contact 7’s. So, Nyland is at a bit of a disadvantage, as the e-Golf’s consumption should be lower.

Which car will arrive at the destination first? How many times will they have to stop to charge? Check out the video to find out.

Video Description via Bjørn Nyland on YouTube:

Race between Leaf and e-Golf

Categories: Nissan, Volkswagen

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34 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Races Volkswagen e-Golf On Winter Road Trip"

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I am surprised by the performance of e-golf because it is a compliance car while Leaf is not. Leaf (even after update) beaten by the car that was born fossil with a smaller battery pack. Remember, e-golf was launched in 2014. There’s your so called EV leader among long established manufacturers. I don’t want to think what ID Neo can do.

RWD (likely able to tow a little), 125 kW charging, 150 kW motor, and a ~80 kWh battery? ID Neo will be a hot seller in Europe.

People use “compliance” as a bad word, but it doesn’t need to be. Mostly it means you don’t have a spot for as large of a battery… 😉

I use compliance because that is what it is. VW only build it for the California USA market and some European markets, because it had too. Took a Golf and electrified it. It is a great car for sure. The point of referencing compliance is that no matter how good it is, VW has and is only making so many – really small numbers by comparison, since they basically loose money or have very thin margins on the e-Golf. However, since unlike Tesla they have many more other car/suv/truck models to sell, they as a company make margins back on those vehicles, so they can sustain building and selling the e-Golf at a loss or break-even.

With the economies of scale and ground-up MEB platform leading the way for VW’s electrification 2020 and beyond strategy, now they will do even better and make money doing it. The ID is in no way a compliance car or family of vehicles.

Because people were too busy criticizing VW for BS reasons when in fact the e-Golf is the better more sensible choice in its class. Of course people will be shocked when VW releases the ID this year. Prepare for more market dominance by the Germans.

” more market dominance by the Germans.”
Only in EU…

The e-Golf uses a platform that was designed for fossil/hybrid/EV. Yes, it’s a compromise but not simple conversion of a fossil car and even with its limitations it’s excellent. Test drive a Leaf and then an e-Golf and it’s clear which is the better car.

The price / performance ratio between the VW & Nissan EVs is profound. Sometimes improved driving dynamics eclipse the marginal increased range capabilities for certain drivers.

You drive, compelling Fahrvergnügen sometimes decides!

But which is faster?
If the VW has a smaller electric motor it will be more efficient.

And Leaf battery, 125 F in Norway???
Come on, that battery has NO COOLING.

Yeah that seems very strange. My leaf never gets that hot even when it is 100F outside?

In the US, the e-Golf has the compliance car shadow over it, because VW chooses to make it so (delivering a very limited number to a few CARB states). In Europe, however, the e-Golf, Leaf and Renault Zoe are usually vying for the best-selling EV title in most markets, so they’re viewed as real world EVs.

The only ‘compliance shadow’ is an imaginary veil created by zealots that obscures their vision. It’s right up there with thinking dieselgate somehow going to bankrupt VW. They are the single largest auto maker in the world increasing year over year consistently and doubling in size in the last 10 years since their CEO said they would do just that. They are a global company who pretty much has decided the US market doesn’t really matter that much and the entire VW lineup sell in relatively token amounts in the US. But pretty much everywhere else other than Japan and the US, VW is king by a wide margin. And there is no evidence at all that this fact is even coming close to changing.

Exactly, they know their EVs very well actually. IDR, Porsche 919, Audi e-tron etc. then the ID variants etc. they’ll smoke companies like Ford, GM,Honda and Toyota in the EV world.

Know their evs well…like ID that doesn’t even exist yet?
Smoke companies? Maybe in EU if they actually pull through with their plans.

I agree with you in many points … but I have to disagree with your view of the US market. VW is going to build and sale the ID line in the US, build will occur at Chattanooga plant.
The models will start with the ID Crozz, and them the ID Buzz, the ID Neo will not be available in the US.
Regarding the other VW brands, Audi e-tron line will be produced in all 13 Audi factories (probably in Mexico for the US market) , and Porsche will ship then from the EU.

The guys working on the E-Golf were actually very passionate about the project. Even if the company itself decided to do it because of compliance reasons, does not mean the people working on it were not trying to do their best.

Or that they did not inadvertently succeed. We went to an EV show, and the E-Golf was the first car that both my partner and father genuinely liked.

Agree completely. e-Golf is a compliance car. And yet it get’s consistent charging and basically same range as the slightly larger Leaf 2.0 battery pack. Plus the appointments for both interior and exterior IMO are nicer than the Leaf. Goes to show you what VW can do with a full-fledged BEV platform, not just with a compliance car.

I have a Leaf 2.0 and love it. However the e-Golf is an amazing BEV that goes relatively unnoticed because VW has and is only building enough for USA compliance and a decent amount of European orders. With ID re-tooling and preparations, the e-Golf should be spooling down production numbers soon.

This race IMO was basically a tie, even though the e-Golf driver could have left to get to the final destination first. Some bad luck with a full EVSE cost Bjorn time.

So with all this, I am even more super-stoked about VW’s prospects in the EV space!

Race was not a tie. It was a 100% win by eGolf. Since Leaf battery was overheating even in Norwegian winter night, the gap between Leaf and eGolf will widen the longer they travel. If you race in more moderate weather, such as 20C / 70F, eGolf will do even better.

Without a shadow of doubt, eGolf is faster than Leaf.

Surprising performance for the e-golf, I wish they’d add the BMW i3 too.
Although the VW might beat that too.

And Looking at the BMW i3 REX, looks like it would be a Valid Option for Norway too.

It doesn’t really surprise me. Having both in my household, I can tell you the e-Golf is the better car. Granted this is compared to old Leaf, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the new version isn’t that much better.

Didn’t see any Golf battery temps only Leaf, with Leaf making so much heat it’s baffling why they don’t make the battery heat available to the drivers cabin?
Definitely like the Golf better, again, the Germans once they set their minds to something will be something to be reconed with, Nissan still just doesn’t get it.

What’s interesting is eGolf uses “passive cooling” for the battery. Not sure how that’s different from Leaf’s sealed battery box.

Supposedly Leaf battery has more heat tolerant chemistry than previous year models, yet it lags eGolf. It’s not clear if it’s “sealed box” or if it’s due to inferior battery chemistry.

What’s really bizarre is that it doesn’t cool down at all when driving. You’d think driving around in the winter it would cool substantially when driving but even at 50 deg C it hardly cools between charges. The 24kWh battery was much better there. On road trips even around 10C it will drop some 8C between fast charges (which is only like 100km of driving).

You would think it wouldn’t be that difficult to have thermostatic controlled venting at the very least for the Leaf battery….Nissan seems to be stuck on battery development, going nowhere fast.

Actually, Leaf battery does cool down from about 50C to 40C when driven at -9C ambient for an hour or so at moderate speed consuming about 15 kW power.

It could be that 24 kWh battery had less thermal mass, hence able to cool quicker. Same might apply to 30 kWh being quicker in cooling when driven than 40 kWh due to smaller thermal mass.

I wonder how 60 kWh will perform with even bigger mass; it might take -30C polar vortex weather to cool after DCFC.

Interesting our LEAF doesn’t heat up that much? very suspicious.

The e-Golf has a direct heating defroster – which will save a LOT of energy keeping the windshield clear.

The e-Golf also coasts by default, so that is part of why it is more efficient.

You are implying that the Leaf doesn’t? I clearly remember it has a D mode you can drive in. The defroster is nice to get ice off initially but can take forever to get vapor off. I ratter use air for 5 min and done. You will notice that when you activate the air defroster the heating defroster gets canceled. Looks like they realized in their testing that air is better and faster.

Another Euro point of view

So if I get it well a ICE converted to EV by VW is better than a car which was built from the ground up as an EV. Incidentally I did a test drive of a VW passat today. Actually the best car I ever driven. Those engineers they have are quite something.

They’re coming out with a new Passat GTE. I suspect it will be a success.

Leaf starts at 97% and had some troubles while charging. and also golf may be not so restricted on high temperature to charge at high rate of speed

It shows that “bragging about LEAF” because somehow Nissan isn’t as evil as VW is just something that EV supporter like to do for no reasons…

E-Golf is clearly a better car to start with.

I just hope VW gets more serious with its engineering power and bring out better EVs soon.

I drove my wife’s 2018 LEAF the other day to work with the heat on and the seat warmer on and the battery did not heat up at all? How did you get the LEAF battery to heat up 30C before the first stop just from driving it 60 miles? Our car’s battery never changes temperature at all? Did you run the LEAF with the battery port open or something to let hot air in?