Video: Can A Nissan LEAF Go 500 Miles In A Day? You Bet


501.2 Miles In Just Under 17 Hours

501.2 Miles In Just Under 17 Hours

Thanks to the Ecotricity Electric Highway in the UK (link to the network here), which has installed high capacity 50 kW charge stations at Welcome Break motorway service stations, it is now possible to travel more then 500 miles in a day in that country.

In the entertaining video above, thanks to a little less than a dozen fast charges, a UK couple accomplishes just that feat.

The original plan of the couple was to set out at around 7am, and be done the journey at 8pm, a tidy 13 hours – which would have be a wildly optimistic figure even if you had done the route several times previous, given the fact each of the 10 fast charges they required took about 30 minutes each.

Still, they did make it; hitting the 500 mile mark with about 6 minutes left to midnite.

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33 Comments on "Video: Can A Nissan LEAF Go 500 Miles In A Day? You Bet"

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So basically they spent 5 hours charging and 8 hours driving. Although the QC option on the Leaf is nice, and definitely helps extend the range around town and to some neighboring cities, it is still nothing close to a Tesla supercharger.

Exactly. Compare that to two 30 minute charge stops with the Model S.

Or just one. Starting with a full battery.

Or none, compared to my Honda Accord.

* War not included, but may be required. Please consult your Emir before starting any new oil extraction program. Your vehicle may emit toxic gases which should not be inhaled and which may lead to the extinction of our species.

When all else fails, play the “environmental piety” card.

say that again to the 9-11 survivors and war veterans Rick.

I say that as a vet myself.

SRSF, I sympathize with the 9-11 survivors and appreciate the war veterans’ sacrifices as much as the next guy. I really do. But honestly I don’t think a mature EV industry is going to do a whole lot to stabilize the middle east. There’s a whole lot more going on over there than just oil.

My only point is that, when I run the numbers before I buy a car, the EV’s up front cost does not yet offset the fuel savings. One day it may, then I’ll buy one.

The U.S. will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia by 2017. We will be energy self sufficient by 2030, so I’m not that worried about the Emir. The power plants generating electricity for your EV produce toxic gases too. So please spare me your red herring arguments.

Been there a zillions times before, no matter how you slice and dice it, EVs are cleaner.
And mine, like 39% of plug-ins in California, is solar powered, so there…

Thank us, we make your air cleaner, and your gas cheaper (and laugh as you still pay through the nose for it though).
And just maybe, your kid won’t have to visit the Middle-East in uniform, suffer weather quite as extreme, etc.

So ridiculous. Step away from the punch bowl for a minute. The org you reference is funded by guess who? Environmental interests. Lack objectivity and thus, credibility. Dad used to say figures don’t lie but liars can figure. You have to try harder to figure out who the liars are. Its easy if you follow the dollars. For a counterpoint, look at a recent IEEE article for a more comprehensive analysis. it gets pretty messy but internal combustion wins with lower total environmental impact.

Well, great for you Rick. But, I think you stepped in it a little bit here, today. Your point was a little weak for the energy you expended coming to this site and bothering to write your message (IMHO). Their little experiment was a little silly (self admittedly, on their part) but in good spirit. Good for them, I say. They are excited about their car and are enjoying it. They also commented that they (she) wished it could go a bit further. But, as the technology develops, the range of these car’s batteries will increase. While you are obviously not an early adopter, we are. To each his own, huh?

“Energy” != petroleum.

Heavy dependency of transportation, particularly of personal transportation, on petroleum is what makes countries so desperate for the stuff that they spend hundreds of billions supporting oppressive despots. The same political compromises happen with other commodities, but those commodities are recyclable, so not rapidly consumed and supply issues do not have the ability to cripple the economy within a week, which gives governments a lot more room for maneuver.

And this is a global dependency, which means that US energy independence by itself won’t make that much. But this will be a global shift. When the USA becomes a net fuel exporter instead of importer (it imports and refines way more petroleum than it exports as fuel products) at the same time as other nations become more efficient and diversified, then you’ll really see a geo-political shift as the USA and other developed nations take their hands off the Persian Gulf and let the Islamic politics run its course.

PS My electricity supply is about “9% toxic” (that’s the percentage of coal, as we’re mostly hydro, natural gas and nuclear).

So, every drop of oil comes from war? With Canada perhaps our highest volume source of imported oil? Most gasoline in the US is from US, Canada, Mexico, North Sea and some of the OPECs. If we have 8 million EVs on the road, we can cut the cord from OPEC. Or 15 million 40mpg cars converted from older 20mpg cars. Or more thoughtful driving and less waste across the board.

Oil is a fungible resource, so every drop is tainted by war and decades of supporting oppressive and brutal regimes around the world.

As James Woolsey would say: We should be turning oil into salt.

Agreed. But Nissan doesn’t market the Leaf as a road trip vehicle.

This trip is about as useful as BC2BC rallies or the recent cross-country EV rally. They all prove that today’s EVs are capable of the trips. But they also show that only really Teslas are designed for such trips.

Once again, though, when used for their intended purpose (commuting/errands), Leafs are great cars.

Exactly. I think these “see how far I can drive” things actually do a disservice to EVs.

Hmm, start at 7am, arrive a bit before midnight, that’d be more like 12h of driving instead of 8. Granted, the emphasis in the article is a bit misleading.

More importantly, yes, Tesla superchargers could shave maybe 3h off this trip by roughly halving charging time.
Now… There is no such thing anywhere in the UK yet, so the same journey would have taken MORE TIME with a Model S.

David it said they planned to take 13 hours. 7am to 8 pm.
(Your 8 hours driving +5 charging)
They didn’t actually arrive until nearly midnight. 17 hours.

He averaged 29 MPH. Now there’s a selling point!

While some will disagree, I think this was a good test. It shows you can charge and drive and charge and drive … to exhaustion, and the Leaf will not fail. It did not overheat or limit the rate of charging. That is important. Call it an endurance test. Passed!

One other take away is the value of a charging network like the one available in the UK. It makes moving the Leaf to another location possible. You would not do this often, but there are times when you might want to do this. A student could make such a trip from home to college with the Leaf, and then use it at the college. Perhaps you really wanted to take the Leaf to enjoy at your vacation destination. It would be possible, and with an increased range on future BEVs it will become easier.

I would agree with this. Yes, it is impractical now (whereas only the Tesla will be practical when they get their chargers in). But there’s no reason to think that in, say, 2-4 years, the relatively low cost Leaf might come with a 90 mile range, with an option for a larger 150 mile battery, which then changes this drive/charge ratio significantly. Or with a Volt, you might do a lot of it with petrol, but when you do stop for a break/food, there ARE charge stations at which you can recharge (with the notional Volt that actually has a fast DC charger; we’re talking the future here). What I really like about this article though is it shows how many chargers are becoming available in the UK. Having lived there a bit, it becomes obvious that it’s not going to take a massive fast charger rollout to cover 80% of the country. Driving from, say, Coventry to Nottingham in a Leaf is now a reasonable and possible task.

If you look closely at the video, you can see that the battery temp did get very close to the red-zone. I counted 9 bars (out of 12 with the top two being red) at the maximum.

They were greatly assisted by the cool temperatures during their run (note the clothing and they even said it was very cold) – probably in the 50F range – maybe 60F at most.

If you tried this in 90F weather, I doubt you’d get more than 3 QCs befoore you got the battery up to the red zone. In fact, a recent posted on the MyNissanLEAF forums experienced just this on a 425 mile trip – after the 3rd QC his battery was 1-bar into the red zone:

So for cool climates (50-60F max) – yeah – you can probably QC all day without significant issue. For warm climates (80F+) you are significantly limited.

In both cases, subjecting your battery to such extreme heat is very likely significantly accelerating rate of capacity loss.

Yes, I would not want to attempt this in my own LEAF. Its more like a good case study on what happens if you do a 10x QC in a day. Not a good idea to hit up multiple quick charges if your battery light is in the red (or darn close).

I imagine their LEAF could potentially have taken some amount of capacity damage from just this one trip … and their car was brand new – 400+ miles on the odometer at launch, ouch.

Yes. It would be interesting to repeat this in a LEAF instrumented with LeafSpy to see just how much of a hit the battery pack takes, and if it recovers subsequently over a period of a few days.

I would have no problem whatsoever doing that to my car.

Temperature alone isn’t a problem: it needs to be combined with the amount of TIME spent at high temps to matter (basically, the hotter the battery, the faster it ages; the car won’t let the battery reach the point where heat instantly causes damage anyway).

This is why some owners in scorching Arizona were impacted regardless of charging speed, but people quick-charging left and right in milder climates have yet to notice any problem.

As witnessed by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, a writer who tried a similar trip(s?) in warmer weather, yes the battery warms up but then cools back down — so what?
Even if the hot battery degrades say 10x as fast (which is certainly a pessimistic assumption), on that one day, it would age less than in 2 weeks of normal use.
And indeed, Nikki didn’t notice nor was able to measure any capacity decrease after her multi-QC trip(s).

As I don’t thing this couple (or anyone else) will do such journey daily, it’s not an issue at all.

IO, thank you for your thoughts on the matter. Respectfully, I disagree, and believe that there is a very real chance of incurring measurable and permanent degradation from just one day trip such as this one. Nikki is not the foremost expert on LEAF battery degradation issues, and neither she claimed to be. Her observations were anecdotal, and there were other comparable cases, where LEAF owners reported that their battery capacity, as expressed by the AH value measured by a CAN bus sniffer, took a noticeable hit and did not fully recover. While this would require more observation and data, I would like to urge not jump to premature conclusions. This is very much like last year, when nearly everyone thought that the battery was fine and Nissan only had problems with their gauges. Given the composition and chemistry of the battery, degradation from heat was far more likely, and ultimately that’s what we are seeing confirmed this year. The problem with multiple quick charges is that the battery rises beyond a certain threshold where changes to its composition could occur. We found that the LEAFs in Phoenix seem to be losing capacity faster then the Arrhenius equation would predict.… Read more »

Its a good example. If the I-5 (the arterial highway that runs the length of California) were to have a fast charge network, I could foresee moving the car to LA for a week.

Did anyone notice that the battery temperature gauge was at 8 bars? My Leaf in summer in Florida usually is at 6, never 7 and in winter usually 5 bars. I’m guessing the fast charging was keeping the battery temp fairly high.

Yes, you CAN do it . . . but why would you want to? Jeez, just rent a hybrid. Other than a move to a different home, I think such long distance driving on a car with a ~73 mile range is just silly. Use the right tool for the right job.

Great demonstration. Drivers new to EVs take a new LEAF on 500 mile journey with little planning and … destination reached with no issues. While a trip of 500 miles in a day is rare, these drivers have eliminated any anxiety of traveling more than 175 miles in a day! 🙂 Observation: even though the LEAF was in ECO mode, they appeared to spend a good portion of trip driving at high speeds. (eg: ~70 mph at 7:30-8:00 in video). Full speed ahead, no compromises made in driving style. 😉 Pro-Tip: Slowing down 5 or 10 mph (or 15 mph to 55 mph) would have reduced overall travel time by eliminating an hour or so of charge time. The “sweet spot” for quickest charging time is between 10% & 80% as rate of range gain tops 120 mph(r). Between 80-90% charge rate quicly drops from 50 mph(r) to 10 mph(r) above 90% SoC. (The Level 2 rate at 90% drops to a trickle near 100% SoC). A Model S traveling ~185 mies (of 265 mile range) between super charge stops will remain in charging sweet spot for long distance travel. However, a Leaf is limited to ~53 miles (of 76… Read more »

Well done! These three Dutch guys came pretty close to breaking the 800-mile barrier. They did 783 miles. But in all fairness, they were all in the employ of a company, which manufactured DC rapid chargers (Epyon), which was subsequently acquired by ABB.

If you have ever experienced watching a Level II 240V charger work on the road, this Level I event is nothing short of amazing.

There is not one Level I charger within 500 miles of Washington DC, isn’t that ironic?

There may be more going on in the middle east than oil but without oil, who would care?

So with my 90+% efficiency vs. your 30% efficiency, 100 miles on an equivalent gallon of gas, and no maintenance you can keep your Honda Accord. It is so last century.

Momma has to pee a lot on a trip anyway.

Range will soon be 120 miles worst case so the ice age is about tapped out and you are going to love it and never look back.