Real World Test: 2013 Nissan LEAF Range vs 2012 Nissan LEAF Range (w/Video)


Editor’s Note:  The 2013 Nissan LEAF achieves an EPA-estimated 75 miles (as compared to 73 miles for the 2012).  However, a subsequent press release by Nissan says that under the new testing procedure, a 2013 Nissan LEAF with a 100% charge gets up to 84 miles of range, a 11 mile improvement over the outgoing the 2012.  Tony now puts the new 2013 LEAF through its paces to see how range translates in the real world.


Nissan 2013 “LEAF-S” Range Autonomy Demonstration   –   (UPDATE: short video of the event at bottom of article)

A new 2013 LEAF-S wearing metalic slate exterior paint and black interior with a total of 180 miles (290 km) on the odometer was tested today for range autonomy. The car arrived at the Blink charging station at 13520 Evening Creek Drive North, San Diego to top off the car to 100%. The car had started from the owner’s house about 8 miles away where it had been charged to 100% and left for 6 hours to allow the automation to balance the 96 cell pairs.

I estimated that the 3.3/3.8kW 16 amp charger would take about 45 minutes to charge back to 100%. Unfortunately, the Blink charging station stopped in only 8 minutes. It is not unusual that a Blink would fail as they very frequently do and fortunately, there was another nearby unit that did work. I plugged the car into the second charging station and it operated for 49 minutes.

2013 Nissan LEAF S Model

2013 Nissan LEAF S Model

Test procedures were similar to the planning for the September 15, 2012 range test in Phoenix and subsequent Phoenix range test demonstration event. Unfortunately, this car does not have cruise control, so I had to manually maintain speed at 100kmh ground speed as measured by GPS; not a fun task, particularly in the somewhat hilly terrain. This resulted in an indicated speed of 65mph on this car, or about 4.6% increase greater than the actual speed.

At 100kmh ground speed, it was estimated that this would yield a target energy usage rate of 4 miles (250 watts per mile) or 6.437 km per kWh (155 watts per km) without climate control. Based on Nissan’s published official range data from Nissan Technical Bulletin NTB11-076a, it was determined that a new car would travel 84 miles (135 km) until “turtle” mode (a reduced power mode to safely get the vehicle off the road before the battery disengages power altogether). This data is also consistent with extensive independent testing, both by myself and many others.

The car had two occupants for the test, both the owner Bob and myself. The combined total crew weight was 450 pounds (205 kg). The weather was absolutely perfect for the event with close to 70F (21C) degree weather, clear blue skies and light easterly breezes. In short, another perfect day in San Diego. Of course, thanks to a change in the 2013 LEAF, we were able to run the climate control fan without powering the heater or air conditioner pump, which we did.

Weather between 1:53pm and 3:53pm at nearby Montgomery Airport (KMYF) in San Diego:

– Time — Temp. – DewPt-Pressure – Visibility-Wind Dir-Wind Speed – Gust Speed
1:53 PM — 66.9F — 9.0F – 30.06 in – 10.0 mi – NNE — 15.0 mph — 21.9 mph
2:53 PM — 66.9F –10.0F – 30.05 in – 10.0 mi – NE — 10.4 mph — 17.3 mph
3:53 PM — 64.9F –26.1F – 30.05 in – 10.0 mi – NW — 10.4 mph — N/A

Weather between 1:53pm and 3:53pm at nearby Palomar Airport (KCRQ) in Carlsbad:

1:53 PM — 64.0F –30.9F – 30.04 in – 10.0 mi – West —  8.1 mph — N/A
2:53 PM — 64.9F –26.1F – 30.04 in – 10.0 mi – NW — 6.9 mph — N/A
3:53 PM — 62.1F –30.9F – 30.05 in – 10.0 mi – WSW — 9.2 mph — N/A

Density Altitude Calculation

Density Altitude –      932 feet,  284 meters
Absolute Pressure – 29.59 inches Hg,  1002.02hPa
Air Density – 0.0744 lb/ft3, 1.192 kg/m3
Relative Density – 97.3%

The course selected was an 85.8 mile (138 km) loop as measured on Google Maps, starting and ending at the same Blink charging station at 13520 Evening Creek Drive North, San Diego, California and began with:

The Letter "H" Icon In The Photo Below Is The Planned Start And Stop Location

The Letter “H” Icon In The Photo Below Is The Planned Start And Stop Location

0.8 miles (1.3 km)
Interstate 15 freeway south to:
18.0 miles (29 km)
California 94 freeway west to:
1.7 miles (2.7 km)
Interstate 5 freeway north to:
36.2 miles (58.3 km)
California 78 freeway east to:
16.4 miles (26.4 km)
Interstate 15 freeway south to:
12.0 miles (19.3 km)
California 56 freeway / Ted Williams Parkway
0.7 miles (1.1 km)
Blink charging station at 13520 Evening Creek Drive North, San Diego, California


Both trip odometers, miles/kWh, average speed, timers, etc., were reset by the disconnect of the 12 volt battery earlier. Headlights were off, climate control off (except fan) and tires set to 36 pounds per square inch (2.48 bars) pressure.

A stored energy display meter (Gidmeter) was installed. A new LEAF in optimum condition will show 281 units reported by the LEAF’s automation, for a total of 281 x 80 watt hours per unit = 22.48 kWh stored in the battery. This value, referred to in the LEAF community as “Gids”, is alternately displayed as a percentage of 281 (281 would equal 100%). Of the 22.48kWh stored, the LEAF has 21 kWh available to use to propel the car and operate it’s various systems, therefore at 4 miles (6.437 km) per kWh of economy multiplied by the 21 kWh available will equal 84 miles (135 km) of range autonomy. The LEAF battery has an advertised capacity of 24 kWh.

The Elevation Profile Of The Route

The Elevation Profile Of The Route

The fuel capacity gauge segments were observed to be 12 of 12 illuminated, as were the battery capacity segments. The dash display of State Of Charge (SOC) showed 100%. Battery temperature segments displayed 6, indicating temperatures between approximately 50F (10C) to 100F (38C) per Nissan service manual documents. Finally, the “Distance to Empty” meter, known amongst LEAF owners at the “Guess-Oh-Meter” (GOM), was observed displaying 84 miles.

Lack Of Cruise Control In The S Model LEAF As Tested Made The Test Slightly More Difficult

Lack Of Cruise Control In The S Model LEAF As Tested Made The Test Slightly More Difficult

We got underway at a bit past 2pm due to several problems with the car. First, it would not recognize the key, nor go to READY mode. Also, it kept referring to operating the parking brake on the dash display. I decided to do a reset of the computer with a disconnect of the negative lead of the 12 volt battery. The car then did turn on properly, however it would not stay in Drive; it kept popping into Neutral.

I was ready to give up and consign myself to just driving to the dealer for repairs, but it finally stayed in Drive. Subsequently, at the end of the test, when I turned the car off and then back on, it did the same routine of popping out of D. I used ECO mode mostly because it’s easier to modulate the speed.

One small surprise was that the dash SOC% meter matched the the Gidmeter exactly at LBW and VLB (17% and 8% respectively).


We drove about 69.2 miles (111.4 km) indicated (the odometer seemed surprisingly accurate compared to the speedometer) until Low Battery Warning (LBW) at 3.9 miles/kWh, and an additional 8 miles (12.9 km) to Very Low Battery (VLB). I determined based on many dozens of previous examples with the 2011 and 2012 LEAF that the car could drive another 4 – 5 miles (6.4 – 8.0 km) until Turtle mode, for a total of 81 – 82 indicated miles of range.

Not surprisingly, 81 miles divided by 3.9 miles per kWh equals 20.76 kWh of battery energy consumed to Turtle.
If the car could go 82 miles divided by 3.9 miles per kWh equals 21 kWh of battery energy consumed to Turtle.

If the car had gotten 4.0 miles per kWh of economy, it likely would have made 84 miles.


There is no more nor any less range with a 2013 LEAF under these conditions that a 2011 or 2012 (when those cars were new with fresh batteries).


For comparison, a brand new 2012 LEAF-SL was driven on Nov 4, 2012 in Phoenix with only 138 miles on the odometer (and a recent production date) ran a course and parameters in similar weather as the Sept 15, 2012 LEAF Phoenix range autonomy demonstration. The key differences from that test to today’s test is that this 2013 LEAF was as much as 200 pounds heavier as tested, the air in San Diego today was slightly more dense, the terrain had substantially larger elevation changes (although both tests started and ended at the same elevation), and the battery was cooler.

The results for the 2012 LEAF last year were:

83.2 miles (133.9 km) driven (with 21 Gids / 7.47% remaining battery energy)
88.7 miles (132.7 km) calculated range to turtle

Start battery stored energy: 265 Gids / 94.3%
Start pack volts: 393.5 (4.1 per cell average)
Start SOC: 91.4%
Start GOM: 103
Start temperature: 6 bar segments
Economy: 0 miles/kWh (reset)

Highest cellpair: 4095mv
Lowest cellpair: 4055mv
Average cellpair: 4093mv
Max voltage delta: 40mv

The car was driven an additional 4 miles to a charger when these readings were recorded:

Gids: 11 / 3.9% remaining
Pack volts: 317.5 (3.3 volt average per cell)
SOC: 4.3% (this SOC% is different than the 2013 dash SOC%, since 95% = 100% on a 2013 dash)
GOM: “—” (normal for “Very Low Battery”)
Battery temperature: 7 bar segments
Economy: 4.3 miles/kWh

I’d like to thank Bob for volunteering his car, and Phil for loaning me his extra Gidmeter.

Postscript:  Tony previously headed up the largest independent test of LEAFs with battery capacity loss that (in-part) prompted Nissan to take corrective action for LEAFs that were  struggling in the extreme hot weather places in the US, like Phoenix.  Our thanks to Tony for this comprehensive 2013 LEAF range road test.

(2013 LEAF S Model photos via Nissan of Valencia)

Categories: Nissan


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80 Comments on "Real World Test: 2013 Nissan LEAF Range vs 2012 Nissan LEAF Range (w/Video)"

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This is probably a question for – but what does it mean to “sat for 6 hours to let the automation balance the cells”? Why aren’t the cells being balanced during the charging cycle? I look at the Leaf as a 70-mile AER vehicle. There is no reason to “expect” to drive it the full state of charge of 100% down to turtle on every drive. You just don’t do that with gas cars and shouldn’t do that with EVs either. Drive with a comfortable reserve based on the technology in place and you just have to say that 70 miles is the maximum comfort range that I would use with a 2nd passenger and hilly terrain. A nice gentle 40mph cruise through the countryside might offer 85-90 miles of comfortable range while seeing the sights. Which is why I do love my Volt. No concerns at all about range yet being very efficient over cars I’ve previously owned. My morning commute today was at 32*F, just under 40 miles of AER and just under 40mpg on the highway portion at 60-65mph. My prior car was 25-26mpg. We’re talking about getting a 2nd Volt – but I’d like to… Read more »

In order for the automation to do a “top balance”, the cells first have to be charged to 100%. Yes, the automation also does balancing during the charge. We have found that depending on how far out of balance the cells were to begin with, it can take anywhere from minutes to up to six hours to complete the balancing routine after the car has reached 100% charge.

The way for the user to know when the balance is complete is when you observe the rather short charge that will top off the battery after all the highest voltage cell pairs have been discharged to match the lowest ones. Occasionally, the car will do this more than once, with a subsequent cell pair discharge and top off charge.

Since the 2013 is substantially the same battery and range as the previous LEAFs, you can use the “LEAF Energy” app for Apple, or the similar app for Android (sorry, don’t know the name) that are both based on this Range Chart that I compiled:

Thanks, @Tony for designing a clear and concise test for measuring the Leaf’s battery capacity and for all your effort to collect & correlate data. By constraining as many factors as can be controled constant (as is realistically possible) for duration of the test, a known baseline has been established. 🙂 To me your 2013-S results make sense as performance of motor, battery pack, inverter & coefficient of drag are essentially the same between 2012 & 2013 models. Only exception being 2013 SL with its 17″ wheels, which might show an insignificant drop in range. The significant differences impacting energy use for 2013 Leaf are the internal climate control (heatpump), and charger (3.6 kW on S & 6.6 kW on SV, SL 2013’s vs 3.3 kW on 2012) which I believe helps with more aggressive ReGen. Tests like EPA’s city cycle resulted in higher MPGe’s values due to lower speeds & better ReGen energy recovery with the tests many stop/starts. As can be expected, EPA’s highway tests show less improvement in MPGe between 2012 & 2013 MPGe values vs. city MPGe values. Too bad there isn’t a clear test to measure ReGen effectiveness? I expect ReGen is where 2012 &… Read more »

Thanks Tony, Its a shame that you could not duplicate the test exactly as was done before, but the results are fairly close. Is the 2013 Leaf using the new improved motor? (but with slightly less torque)

I think all the “improvements” amounted to Nissan shaving costs. For instance, the Leaf uses 40 percent less of the rare-earth mineral dysprosium in the motor. They repackaged the cells to make them lighter, and to somewhat mitigate the storage of heat in the cells (the tops are now open and the metal container is thinner to radiate more heat).

Somebody can absolutely duplicate the test on the same route that we did in Phoenix. I publish all the particulars just for that, however I honestly don’t expect any real world change in range with the heater off, as this demonstration suggests.

With the heater on, however, this car would operate the same as a 2011-2012 LEAF, since it uses the same 6kW resistance heater (and so does my 2012 Toyota Rav4 EV). Only the 2013 LEAF “SV” and “SL” models will get the much improved heat pump.

Where’s the test for the second leaf?? or are you comparing to a test run in Phx??

This test is almost as confusing as the tests you ran in Phx.

Its there George, the bottom paragraphs are all data from the 2012 LEAF test.

Starts with:
“For comparison, a brand new 2012 LEAF-SL was driven on Nov 4, 2012 in Phoenix with only 138 miles on the odometer (and a recent production date) ran a course and parameters in similar weather as the Sept 15, 2012 LEAF Phoenix range autonomy demonstration”

Sidenote: I’m cutting just this section of the nestled comments below this reply because it gets a ‘touch’ off track, lol

You’re taking all the fun out of this 😉

…thats my contribution to electric vehicle news, (=

“this 2013 LEAF was as much as 200 pounds heavier as tested, … the terrain had substantially larger elevation changes”

And you still got the same results as the 2012 model – that *proves* that the new 2013 Leaf has substantially more range. Do you not think that 200 pounds and driving up and down large elevations seriously reduce the range of an EV? You got great results but missed the correct conclusion.

Randy, We didn’t get the 84 plus miles that I was actually expecting (note that the course was 85.8 miles, and I don’t really like walking!!). So, no, the car didn’t beat the 2012 we tested in Phoenix in raw data, but then we start trying to parse numbers which isn’t correct either. We can absolutely run a 2011 or 2012 on the same course today and guess what? The 2013 will likely look like a superstar unless we find a “new” 2012. Obviously, that’s no longer possible, as the newest one is 4-6 months old, and batteries degrade with time. But, there is hope still that somebody has a 2012 that can test out with a Gid count in the high 270’s when fully charged that would like to take the challenge!!! The more data the better. But, after the Phoenix test, I realized that a small number of folks will believe whatever it is that they want to believe. Therefore, I probably won’t be making any further attempts to “prove” the lack of range differences between the LEAFs. It’s also why I didn’t take the car all the way to turtle mode; it’s a big inconvenience to me… Read more »

Huh? You said in the article that you estimated about 84 miles to turtle with the 2013. And you got about that with the 2012 you tested. But that the 2013 was 200 lbs heavier and ran a course that included drastic elevation changes.

My point is that if they ran about the same, and the 2013 was burdened as you mentioned, that in actuality the 2013 has more range because if the 2012 had 200 lbs of weight added and ran the elevation course, it would have had a shorter range, yes?

I don’t see the confusion on my point. You seem to admit this in your article but deny it in your conclusion (and your reply).

I’m not a “true believer” – I am as open-minded and intellectually curious as the next person and don’t own this car yet. But I don’t see your data backing up your conclusion.


Ok, I guess I thought it was somewhat obvious in the piece that the range yesterday with a 2013 LEAF was several miles short of my somewhat well informed guess that it could and should go 84 miles or greater.

I offered all the particulars to suggest why the car didn’t meet either my expectation, nor the range of a new condition 2011 or 2012; both terrain and weight were two prominent variables.

My further suggestion is that if the exact same test conditions were present, then the 2013 would match the mid to high 80 mile range that the previous cars did when new in those prescribed conditions.

I do not believe that the 2013 LEAF will have greater range that the 2011-2012, except in conditions where the heat pump equipped models will more efficiently heat the cabin.

Hope this helps and clarifies my position,


The elevation change makes a huge difference. The cars need to be tested on the same course. Otherwise, thanks so much for running the tests. I was very curious (we have a 2011 SL)

You will want to read this subsequent test, where we drove a 2012 and 2013 LEAF side by side:

Tony, I am expected my 2013 to arrive sometime in the next 7 days. I’m in San Diego. You can use mine, if you still need a car to test. Thanks for the great work.

Is it an SV or SL ? I’m not going to test another car without cruise control.

If so, we can run it on the same course. Let me know when you’re available. We need to do it midday when it’s warmest (this time of year). Tuesday or Wed might work.

Shoot me an email at:


An SL. And I think you should drive it alone, without a 210 owner (me) sitting in the passenger seat.

Well, to make an apples to apples, we need you (or 230 pounds of concrete) in that seat.

“I determined based on many dozens of previous examples with the 2011 and 2012 LEAF that the car could drive another 4 – 5 miles (6.4 – 8.0 km) until Turtle mode, for a total of 81 – 82 indicated miles of range.”

Was the car actually driven until Turtle mode, or is this 4-5 miles just an assumption based on a 2011-2012 Leaf?

As stated, it is an assumption.

I did actually drive the car to 6 Gid however, after the test, since I estimated we had 4-5 miles of range remaining with 11 miles to go on the GPS. So, we ended the test at Very Low Battery (I did video it, so maybe I’ll get that up today) and drove the last 13 miles on back roads to my house at 25-30mph (my house is about 2 miles further away from the start/end location).

The car did not hit turtle. We charged it on my 40 amp Clipper Creek in my house, as the owner wasn’t too keen to use a Blink again!!!

Well Tony, thank you for a very detailed comparison of the current and new Leaf range and power consumption. Great Work!

Did they at least use the radio during the test? Seems like running dark with no climate control is unrealistic. Also, isn’t running the tires at 40psi above what the owner’s manual states?

I understand the tester is trying to compare differences in models; however, if the mileage claim (and the ultimate perception of the car) are based upon an a-typical setup and driving manner, how valuable is this test?

We did turn on the radio for a bit, but that takes virtually no power. Most of the time was with the radio off. Either way would have virtually no measurable difference in the outcome.

We didn’t have the tires at 40psi, and that’s not even mentioned, so I’m not sure were that comes from. The door jam on every USA delivered car has a tag that gives you the manufacturers recommend tire pressure. For the LEAF, it is 36psi, which is what we ran.

The Phoenix test cars (all 13 total cars) was also tested at 36psi.

The test is only valuable if we isolate variables to the maximum extent possible. We are comparing cars where the only variable we want is that one is a 2013 model, and the others were 2011 or 2012 models of the same car.

I disagree with your notion that driving 65mph down a freeway is “a-typical”, but again, the purpose wasn’t to make it typical… just comparable.

As for the tire PSI, that must be my mistake as the article above states 36 PSI.

I was cross-checking the max psi for the tires and must have confused it another webforum post where 40psi was mentioned.

My notion was that running without lights and without climate control (and, incorrectly, at higher tire psi) would be a-typical for drivers.

I compared the range of my i-MiEV with 36PSI vs. 40PSI and had no appreciable difference. Just a tiny bit firmer ride. I would imagine this would be the same for the LEAF.

As for running the Radio, any power it does draw comes from energy in the 12v battery not the traction battery, so should have absolutely zero impact on the range test.

Not sure where the circulation fan gets it’s energy.

As a wild guess I’d say of the two current draws the fan would probably consume more than the radio. Neither would amount to a hill of beans.

Just recently got a Leaf S and found that I was running at 3.8 kw hours with both the radio running and the fan running at nearly full blast driving on terrain with fairly frequent elevation changes. I believe the representative from the dealership explained that they both run off of the 12v battery. Unfortunately the AC runs off of the traction battery and the rep recommended that I not use the dual climate control unless it is plugged in (that is the only serious inconvenience I’ve had with my leaf so far). I drove the Leaf about 53 miles (33 miles freeway and 20 miles city) and I still had plenty of battery life (close to 40 percent).

Obviously, the dealer doesn’t know what he/she is talking about with respect to air conditioning. Electric power is kilowatts, quantities of electrical power is kilowatt-hours. So, if you were using power at 3,8kW, then in one hour you would have consumed 3.8kWh. The LEAF will consume about 16kW driving down the road at 65mph.

EVERYTHING in a LEAF ultimately is powered by the traction battery, since the 12 volt is replenished from the DC to DC converter which in turn is powered by the main traction battery.

The air conditioner uses power directly from the traction battery because it is more efficient.

Outstanding work. However, I don’t see the Gid reading at 100% charge before the test began to confirm that the battery pack is in like new condition.

Sorry, I did not include that…. 280 Gid at the start.

Mea culpa!

I thought the improvement in efficiency was more at the higher speeds? In which case a highway comparison may be in order.

I don’t know what your highways are doing in your part of the world, but in California, the maximum speed on the freeway is typically 65mph. What speed did you have in mind?

I think the crux/takeaway from Tony’s piece is that you are probably better off relying on the new epa-estimated range of 75 miles for the 2013 (a couple mile gain over the 2012’s 73 mile range), as opposed to banking on the blended 84 mile (100% charge), 66 mile (80% charge) metric that is being put out there.

It appears to be unlikely that if you are driving a 2012 LEAF and your commute leaves you with 10 miles of remaining charge on a nice spring day, that simply swapping it out for a 2013 will comparatively leave you with 21 miles.

The greater (more valuable) range savings would still come primarily when you are utilizing the new heating sytems, which can lead to significant range extension.

I don’t know about these results. How can we compare a test in Ca w/ a test in AZ.

You compare them by reviewing the data. Not that hard.

I agree with your assessment. The range at highway speed (65-70 mph) w/o heat is likely identical to 2011/2012. Does the EPA release the data from each of the 5 parts of their test?

This could confirm what is contributing to the 100% 84 mile number Nissan is referencing.

In the past, it’s taken a FOIA request to get the actual test data, I believe.

We have previously compared the AZ run to another test done by a LEAF owner in TX eight months earlier. Since vehicle speed, air density and temperature were nearly identical, the results were comparable:

I believe Tony lists all these parameters in great detail in his article. The only open question is the effect of terrain. The most obvious problem there is altitude change. This was avoided by selecting a closed loop test course; they started and ended up at the same altitude. It’s difficult to say how much regen played into this, but since they were simply maintaining constant ground speed, it should not have had very significant impact. I think the key takeaway for me as an engineer is that the freeway range between the 2013 and 2011/2012 LEAF is very comparable and a significant difference should not be expected.

There wasn’t much regen enroute, if any, and the only points on the course that would have any regen would be while slowing while exiting one freeway for the next one.

The previous test the you link is an excellent example of what the LEAF (and of them, 2011 to 2013) can do on flat terrain in warmer weather (I think it was in the 80s):

Approximate test date: Apr 10, 2012
Location: Plano, TX (DFW area)
Delivery date: 08 Mar 2012
Manufacture date: many months before that

– 70 miles traveled at exactly 65 mph, at 4.2 miles/KWH.. Note: The miles/kwh in the dash only after getting into the freeway and reaching a steady state of 65 mph, then resetting the economy to finally achieve 4.2 over the course.

– LBW at 76 miles, which means that there was 12-13 miles left to drive, for 88-89 miles of total range.

Terrain can have a substantial impact. My commute consists of going down the hill and coming back up – and a few other rolling hills. I do this @ 40 mph or less.

I get about the same or less m/kWh in this commute than in longer routes, including free way travel.

“Unfortunately, this car does not have cruise control”

That missing cruise control is only on the $28,800 base model “S”, where the “SV” and “SL” does include cruise control.

Yes, it is kind of a cheap shot to get you into the higher priced car, but overall, I really liked the car. I would, however, probably not get a LEAF without quick charging capability on the west coast of the USA where we are likely to have 100’s of DC quick chargers operating by the end of 2013. Nor would I want one without cruise control!!

I never use cruise control and would welcome a lower-priced option not to have it. Heated seats, on the other hand, would be my deal-breaking necessity. To each his own.

The base $28,800 ($18,800 in California after rebates and credits) LEAF does have the heated seats.

Front and rear heated seats, and a heated steering wheel, on the base S. 6.6 kW and CHAdeMO fast chargers are an option for the base S as well. Great deal if you don’t need cruise or heat pump. With the heat off, and heated seats/wheel on, the base S is just as efficient as the more expensive models.


Stop trolling, kdawg. Your Volt “only” goes 40 miles on electricity? DEAL BREAKER!

C’mon. Grow up.

Nissan might be write on the money to offer a scaled down version, the S model. There are at least two groups who will not miss some of the extras of the upper models; seniors who would use the Leaf for mostly town driving and fleet operators including taxi service. For these two groups the cruise control would never ( or shouldn’t) be used. And if these two groups live in a mild winter climate, you can also discard the seat and steering wheel warmers as well as the heat pump heater since these would seldom be used.

I read somewhere where the average age of a Leaf owner is 63. If this is true, I think Nissan is right to make a more affordable model (S) without many extras which a certain demographic could easily do without. I would also discard the CD player which I’ve never used in my cars during the past 8 years.

Nissan is smart to keep heated seats and wheel in the base model. Even warmer areas get chilly sometimes, and they are more efficient than the heater. The senior and Taxi demographic will both appreciate them.


Ok, at least one mistake in my data was pointed out; the battery temperature was between 50.5F and 74.3F with 5 temperature bars showing, not 50F – 100F.

LEAF Batt Temp
Segments Degrees C (F). Temp difference
4———-/ -3———(26.6)…….5.4F
3———-/ -6———(21.2)…….5.4F
2———-/ -9———(15.8)…….5.4F
0———-/ -15———(5)………5.4F

The car had 6 temperature bars for the test; 74F to 98F.

Ok, upon reviewing the temp data, I want to be clear that the battery was very close to 74F (23C). The battery temperature segments displayed both 5 and 6 bars, indicating temperatures between approximately 50F (10C) to 74F (23C) for the 5th bat and74F(23C0 to 98F (37C) for the 6th bar.

“I would, however, probably not get a LEAF without quick charging capability on the west coast of the USA where we are likely to have 100′s of DC quick chargers operating by the end of 2013.” I totally agree that LEAFs are most viable on the West Coast with DC Fast Chargers and truly wish your prediction comes true, but there is no real world evidence of this as of now. Washington and Oregon seem to have it together when it comes to Fast Charging but In Los Angeles County (which is over 4,700 square miles) where there is probably the highest number of registered electric vehicles, there is ONE DC Fast Charger in operation and even that one is behind a locked gate in a very out of the way location. If your prediction of 100 Fast Chargers being in place by the end of the year is to be realized (in areas other than the above mentioned States) they would have to get 1 up about every 3 days for the next 10 months. I would love to see this happen but i’m not holding my breath. The charger providers in SoCal have been fast asleep and only… Read more »


To be fair, there is one really nice 90 kW DC “SuperCharger” in Hawthorne, but it runs on some freakishly small proprietary plug 🙂

It is sad to see that there isn’t CHAdeMO stations ready out there. I suggest you contact eVgo and ask them for an update on their status/plans for their network. If you have good suggestions for charging locations/partners (even better make connections or introductions), it might speed things up.

I don’t think you can in earnest really count the Tesla charger, but for arguments sake I’ll add that and say there is one-and-a-half fast chargers in the County but only one available with a standard CHAdeMO connection available for the car discussed in this article.

I’ve been in contact with executives within the company that runs the eVgo network and my experience has been that they were not very interested in or receptive to suggestions other than from a superficial aspect.

They do have “Plans” because they have to as a part of a settlement stemming from a lawsuit by the State of California, but they are moving at a glacier’s pace fulfilling their part of the rather lopsided towards their favor settlement.

Sorry to hear about you experience with eVgo. They have been the exact opposite here in Houston. Next time I have the ear of somebody over here, I’ll see what I can find out and suggest that they publicize an update for the L.A. area.

I think they negotiated the charging infrastructure into the settlement because they want to be in the CA market, not because they were forced to. Right now they just have Houston and Dallas, not exactly the same as CA as far as EV sales.

Even the Tesla fast “supercharger” is not walking distance from nice places to eat, shop, or relax.

More DC fast chargers are needed.


Thx for your efforts. I see you spent quite some time to make sure the test were run on an apples to apples basis.

My apologies for being so negative (ie did not do my homework before flapping my mouth)

It looks like the Focus Electric(3-4 hrs for full charge) still charges faster than the Leaf, even with the 6.6 kwh charger based on the article from Digital Trends below.

This could be due to the fact that the Leaf has no thermal battery protection, which Ford and Tesla state is what allows their batteries to accept charging faster and ensures longer battery life.

“For 2013, Leaf SV and SL models also get a 6.6-kWh quick charger, which can impart an 80-percent charge in four hours. ”

Hopefully you understand that the Focus battery is smaller which is how it can charge “faster” at the same 6.6kW rate of the 2013 LEAF (with optional 6.6kW charger).

Here’s a really poor video I made for the event… uncut and uncensored !!!!

(added to above article)

Great information! Thank you Tony!
We know a little bit more:
– The battery has the same capacity and still provides 21 kWh to use => No impact on range.
– The charger seem to be a little bit more efficient (esp. at 6.6 kWh) => No impact on range.
– The heat pump provides more efficient heating. This impacts range in specific situations.

But Nissan also said they made the car more aerodynamic and lighter. Those changes should improve range all the time. The only way I see to measure the efficiency improvements (and leave battery degradation out of the equation) would be to compare the energy consumption of a 2012 vs a 2013 on the same route and same speed.

>>>> The only way I see to measure the efficiency improvements (and leave battery degradation out of the equation) would be to compare the energy consumption of a 2012 vs a 2013 on the same route and same speed.<<<<

I will do this if somebody volunteers their car(s). The bad part is that any 2012 has already experienced some battery degradation. What would you hope to learn?

I confident that the performance is substantially the same. Any of the LEAFs can do 4 miles/kWh at 65 mph as we demonstrated, and they all have the same 21kWh available when new at 70F.

Again, what is the gain here? If we took the EXACT same car over the same course we might get a mile to two either way different from what was achieved Sunday.

I've seen this strong desire to want for the car to be better, and you seem convinced that the changes between 2012 and 2013 would do that (heck, even I thought it would add at least a couple miles).

It just doesn't appear to be the case. Honestly, ANYBODY in San Diego is welcome to drive the exact route that I detailed and report what happened.

Tony, you documented your test well. The route you chose was all freeway and the EPA hwy MPGe rating was only 10.9% improved, vs. city which was 22.6% improved, so I think you chose kind of worst case conditions.. I think it is also difficult to compare tests done in different cities under different conditions and say they are apples to apples. I see considerable variation in range during my daily commute. Even on days that seem equivalent for weather, and that is on the exact same route.

It would be great if a side by side 12 vs. 13 LEAF test could be run at the same time on the same routes. Not just all highway but also a city route. Range can vary quite a bit with conditions, that’s why the EPA has so many different test conditions and has taken so much flack for not being able to estimate exactly what drivers should expect. It’s difficult. Thanks for trying.

What I would hope to learn is whether or not the 2013 can do better in terms of miles/kWh in the same conditions, as Nissan led us to believe.
The battery “wear” and state of charge shouldn’t influence that measurement.

Drive two cars side by side at different speeds in the same conditions (ideally same tire wear and pressure, same on-board weight, etc.) and compare the dashboard values (if they can be relied upon, not sure about that though).

You think the EPA differences in MPGe are dure only to charging efficiency improvements?

I shouldn’t have said “at different speeds”. What I meant is: repeat the test at various speeds. Let’s say you compare energy usage of both cars at 20 mph, then at 40 mph, 60 mph, etc.

We already have a really good idea what the car can do at all those speeds, and I don’t feel the need to repeat that. Driving the two cars, a 2012 and a 2013, side by side is likely to get very similar performance. The biggest problem from an EPA standpoint is that the LEAF can go 100 miles on the LA5 cycle test, which is why Nissan was so keen to originally advertise the car as a 100 mile car. Then, EPA made the rating 73. For this year, they really muddy the waters with a new 5 cycle test that in no way can compare to the previous tests. Then they further made it difficult with averaging the EPA rating between 80% charge (67 miles) and 100% charge (84 miles). Naturally, folks want to hinge on that 84 number and try and compare it to the previous 73 number and expect 11 more miles of range. It’s just not true, because all LEAFs can meet 84 miles at 65mph on level terrain at 4 miles/kWh with 21kWh available when new and at 70F or above. The cars will likely do the same at 20mph or 40mph. The singular… Read more » We conducted a follow on demonstration today with two LEAF’s side by side, a 2012 and a 2013. The final results are as follows: ——————– 2013 LEAF-SL —– 2012 LEAF-SL — Odometer at end point —– 78.4 ————- 79.9 ——- Odometer error from Google- 2% low ———— nil ——- Ending Gid / Gid% ——– 22 / 7.8% ——— 26 / 9.3% — Low Battery Warning miles — 68.1 ————- 74.1 —— Very Low Battery Warning —75.6 ————– N/A —— 4.5 miles added to VLBW — 80.1 ————- 85.0 (*Note 1) Error corrected miles —— 81.7 ————- 85.0 ——- Starting Gid correction —- 81.8 ————– 88.7 (*Note 2) (*Note 1) – An additional 0.6 miles added to compensate for 2 Gid shy of VLBW at 75 usable wattHours per Gid is 150 wattHours / 250 wattHours per mile (at 65mph indicated on level ground at 70F) (*Note 2) – Difference between 2012 LEAF starting Gid and 2013 LEAF was 4.3% favoring the newer car Observations: The 2013 car did substantially the same range as the 2013 car tested on Feb 22, 2013. The 2012 car performed very similarly to the 2012 car used as an comparison example in the Feb… Read more »

Useful data on the battery and drivetrain here. I think the elevation changes and the difference of approx 5% in vehicle weight make it hard to compare this data to the previous test, though.

The 200 lbs definitely matters as do the elevation changes, but we can’t know by how much.

A valuable test would be to take a 2012 and 2013, run the 2013 to an identical SOC/GID level as the 2012 (to correct for any degradation) then drive them together on the same course on the same day, preferably with climate control on since that’s a major new change on the 2013…

Doesn’t look like this test accounted in any appreciable way for the claimed improvements in the regenerative braking on the 2013 models. One would anticipate that that might increase range in urban driving scenarios.

This test is perfect for me, and I am a San Diegan, with a commute similar to the test route.

What would you consider a safe maximum daily range for the Leaf? I live in San Marcos, and work in Kearny Mesa, so with a school drop off my daily commute ranges from 60mi to 70mi depending on whether I take the I-5 or I-15.

I am seriously considering a Leaf S lease. I feel that I might be stretching in a bit on the range, especially down the road as the batteries age (which is why the lease would be safer)

Your honest opinion would really help me decide. (Well, that plus a full-commute test drive)

This is pushing the daily unrefueled range of the LEAF. Of course, you can do it, but certain circumstances will make it more difficult: 1. AMBIENT TEMPERATURE RELATED LOSSES: Our test was most a steady speed of 65mph indicated which required a new non-degraded warm battery. On the coldest days in San Diego, with the battery at 30F, your battery capacity will likely be down about 10% (rule of thumb; for each 4F degrees below 70F there is 1% loss). A new battery holds 21kWh usable when new at 70F degrees, so a 10% loss would be 18.9kWh usable. 2. DEGRADATION LOSSES: Over time, the battery will degrade, as all batteries do. You can expect 10% reduction in capacity in the first 6-18 months, and perhaps 2%-5% per year after that. Cars in very moderate to cool climates, like England or Seattle, will do better; cars in extreme climates like Texas or Phoenix can expect significantly greater losses (up to 30% in the first year has already been reported). 3. DRIVING STYLE: Just like a gasoline or diesel car, your driving style can significantly affect the total range. In our tests, we generally see close to 250 wattHours per mile,… Read more »

Thank you for the very thorough reply Tony.

I’ve been hoping for my employer to add some charge stations at work, but no decision has been made yet.

My hope was to be able to make the drive without a recharge which would be possible most days. (Especially, since with carpool access, the shorter route would be viable more often.) In a pinch, I’d top up near the office. I noticed them putting in some blink chargers in the strip mall next door. I think one of them is even a quick charger.

Take a 2012 Leaf, toss a 100lb generator in the back with a full tank of fuel. If you get into trouble crank it up. The generator weighs less than the new 2013. And your buddy can ride with.

Hello Dear, are you actually visiting this web page regularly, if so then you will absolutely take pleasant know-how.

Tony, thank you for all you do in the EV community. This was a good read!

Keep up the good and honest work you do.

My nissian leaf has less than 8 bars. At 40,000 mile. And it sucks. This car has no range 20 miles maybe. Big mistake buying this vehicle. Will never happen again