Kyle Conner evidently wasn't satisfied with the 70 mph (113 km/hr) highway range test I performed with a 2020 Nissan LEAF SL Plus back in May, so he got a hold of one and repeated the test himself. Actually, that's not really why he repeated the test. He and I always try to duplicate each other's range tests so we can compare results and confirm the accuracy.
While we never match each other's results perfectly, because there are variables that are out of our control, we usually do arrive at very similar results, as was the case with the 2020 Nissan LEAF SL Plus.
The LEAF SL Plus that Kyle and I tested is EPA range rated at 215 miles and has a 62 kWh battery, of which approximately 56 kWh is usable. Nissan also offers a 40 kWh LEAF, which is EPA range rated at 150 miles per charge. We haven't been able to secure a 40 kWh LEAF for our highway range test just yet.
Kyle fully charged the LEAF and set the tires to Nissan's recommended pressure. The temperature was a warm 85°F (29°C) so he had the air conditioning on for the entire trip. He also had a passenger along to take pictures and video. The vehicle was set to ECO driving mode with e-Pedal regeneration activated.
On my LEAF range test in May it was a little cooler and averaged about 74°F (23°C) and I drove alone. I also set the tires to Nissan's recommended 36 psi, drove with the air conditioning on, and used Nissan's Propilot driver's assist system for most of the journey. I also drove in ECO driving mode and used e-Pedal. I finished my trip with the LEAF's battery at 1% after covering 185.4 miles (298 km).
Kyle ended up driving further than I did and finished up with 193.6 miles on the trip gauge. While I pulled off of the highway and plugged in at 1%, Kyle pulled off of the highway and drove on secondary roads at a slightly slower speed for the final 7-8 miles. However, when he was at 1% state of charge, he had covered nearly the exact distance that I did. He just kept driving until the vehicle went into reduced power mode before plugging in.
One thing of note is that Kyle finished with an average consumption rating of 3.5 mi/kWh (17.7 kWh/100km). When I did my LEAF SL Plus range test I finished with a slightly worse consumption rating on 3.4 mi/kWh (18.2 kWh/100 km). I wouldn't have expected Kyle to do better than me since he was carrying an extra passenger and was also driving in hotter temperatures so the air conditioning should have been working harder to cool the cabin. Perhaps his slightly better consumption rating was because he drove a few miles at the very end at 50-55mph.
I know I could have driven a couple of miles further also, but since I was on the highway with no secondary roads to pull off onto, I had no option but to end the test with the battery at 1%. As we always do when we both conduct the 70 mph range tests on the same vehicle, we'll average the two results and publish that figure.
Therefore, we're calling the 2020 Nissan LEAF SL Plus 70 mph range at an even 190 miles. That's 25 miles less than its EPA range rating of 215 miles, but EVs rarely ever match their EPA stated range while driving at a constant 70 mph. In fact, the Hyundai Ioniq was the only EV to beat its EPA range rating on our 70 mph highway range test.
Another point of interest is that the Nissan LEAF Plus S, which is the lowest trim level for the LEAF Plus, is EPA range rated at 226 miles, 11 miles more than the LEAF SL Plus, and the LEAF SV Plus. That's because the S has smaller wheels and narrower tires. It also weighs slightly less because it has fewer standard options. So if the range is your number one priority, you may want to go for the less expensive and less plush, LEAF S Plus.
About our highway range tests:
We always like to mention that these range tests aren't perfect. There are variables out of our control like wind, traffic, topography, and weather. However, we do our best to control what we can. We do these 70 mph range tests to provide another data point for potential customers that are looking for as much information on the driving range as they can get. Check out our previous 70 mph highway range tests for the vehicles listed below:
- 2020 Hyundai Ioniq
- 2019 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Long Range
- 2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor Long Range
- 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
- 2020 MINI Cooper SE
- 2020 Chevy Bolt EV
- 2020 Nissan LEAF Plus (part 1)
- 2018 smart Electric Drive Cabrio
- 2019 BMW i3s BEV
- 2020 BMW i3s REx
- 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV
Were the results about what you'd expect? We'd also like to know what the readers think of our 70 mph range tests. Is there a particular EV you'd like to see us range test next? Let us know in the comment section below.