17 September 2012

New Leaf

New Leaf

I always wanted an electric car, so I bought a Nissan Leaf on the 12th of July 2012.

I found some interesting things driving this car.


The first thing I was introduced to used to was the power meter on the bottom screen. (Regeneration to the left, Power to the right)

At first I used it to help judge the amount of power to use when taking off from the lights.
3 dots for a flat road and 4-5 dots for hilly road matches small cars (corolla size).

I only glance at the bottom screen every now and then when driving as I have to take my eyes off the road

I kept speeding at first, so I used cruise control until I was used to the leaf sounds.

Sometimes when braking at slow speeds, you feel the pedal change intensity (it starts to drop to the floor). It freaked my out at first.

I love how the car slows when in eco mode. When I lift off the throttle, I get about 2-3 dots of regeneration (4-5 dots if I add a little bit of brake). It is great for going down hills without speeding (the police in my neighbourhood love sitting at the bottom of hills).

Climate Control

Using the AUTO mode in the leaf sometimes feels like it is not doing anything (I put the windows down to clear the hot air, but it can still take a while to start cooling).

The climate control sends air to different places depending on the temperature. You can see what the climate control it is doing by pressing the status button about 3 times (is a footer on the screen). I use this to see what it is doing.

Preheating is awesome. I bought the car in the middle of winter (Brisbane does not get very cold - 3℃, but enough to need a jumper). Setting the climate control timer is easy, but you need to get into the car close to the departure time to get the best result.


After a week of driving to work (60km round trip), my distances between charges started to get closer to the estimates when you start the car (It says 134km, but the best I have got is 120km).

If you hit the charge now button (or use the iphone app), it charges to 100% (which the dealership advised against). So if you want 80%, you have to edit the timer setting.

Also, if the car is not plugged in before the “start time”, it will schedule the charge for the next day (again you have to edit the timer setting).

When you plug in the charger, the blue lights in the dash will flash in a circle pattern. When charging, the lights will flash to indicate how full the car is.

Recharging from the last bar to 80% using the boot charger takes about 8 hours (draws about 2.44 kW).

I bought a wall charger from origin energy (about $3000) and it takes under 5 hours (draws about 3.66 kW). The base model I bought does not show how many kWh it has used (I didn't check when I bought it). It costs another $1800 to have that feature installed. So I have been using the boot charger with a Clipsal EZ Audit 15 (I need to pay my share of the electricity bill).

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