17 September 2012

Leaf - two months on

It has been two months with the leaf and I have done 4000km and used about $155 worth of electricity (including heating the car in the morning).

My current average is 16.94kWh / 100km (energy from the wall socket to recharge the car), which is about $4.30 / 100km (@ 25.4 cents / kWh). My 2001 corolla uses about $10.5 / 100km (7.5litre/100km @ $1.4/litre).

You get used to the leaf being very quiet! I still get startled by loud cars and motorbikes when I have the windows down.

Lucky for me, Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) is not that big a place . I can get most places and back on an 80% charge (except the gold and sunshine coasts, I can get there on 100% charge, but need to recharge to get back).


I like the economy gauge (rainbow looking meter above the tree display, next to the speedo). It is very handy to show you when you are wasting power (usually means I am pressing the accelerator too much). Also, you don't need to take your eyes off the road to see it.

I don’t care for the tree display (now many eco trees you are saving). I would love to replace the tree display with cruise control or speed alert. (then you don’t need to look down at the bottom display).


The leaf glides up the hills effortlessly (without needing heaps of accelerator). I can maintain the speed limit easily (compared to my 2001 Corolla, which needs second gear and a lot of accelerator).

Stopping on steep hills is super easy. When I go to the shopping centre, there is a very steep ramp  (you get stuck on it waiting for cars in front to turn), I ease up on the accelerator and the leaf stops. The meter says it is not using any power (but it must use some?). When I need to go again, I just push the accelerator a bit more and away you go (I have never done that in other cars before for fear of over heating the engine and transmission).

Energy Usage

If you want to save energy, do the speed limit (I prefer not to go any slower as it upsets other drivers).

I travel a lot on dual lane roads, so I do the speed limit in the slow lane (60km/h) and it extends the driving range up to 20km. I usually charge every two days (average about 55 - 60km per day). 

Once I started driving around in eco mode, I have found that on an 80% charge, I can get up to 120km (it says 8km left when I get home).

I am not using air conditioning yet (Spring has just started). I use the preheat in the morning (set climate control to 18C), and in the afternoons it is about 18 to 20C, so I turn off climate control and open the windows a bit (which is what I do in the Corolla).

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