Almost running a LEAF out of juice

by Ernie Hernandez on May 21, 2011

Our LEAF

On purpose

In our admittedly uneventful household, today brought two momentous occasions – we were able to replicate a photograph that we had been wanting to for a couple of months now, and – we got down to dashes on our juice display.

First, the photo. On the Nissan news site, Nissan publishes many photographs of vehicles and events for publication by the media. One of the photos offered was of a red LEAF in San Diego which we have used before. One of our readers, John Marvin of Colorado, actually figured out where this photo was taken. Today we finally had an opportunity to replicate the photo, and above you see the result. The original Nissan photo is below for comparison:

Red San Diego LEAF

It is not an exact duplication as there was a car one space to the left of our photo, and we think that that our car should be one space over. And we used our iPhone camera, as opposed to a real camera. But we think that we came relatively close, considering the circumstances. Also, Nissan’s photo was taken later in the day, as can be seen by the longer shadow in front of the car. But we were downtown near the ballpark, and had this opportunity. Also, my daughter was tired of me juggling the car (we had already taken pictures in several spaces, trying to get the angles and placement right). Oh the little things that we take pleasure in. Speaking of which…

We intentionally almost ran our car our of juice today. We forgot to plug it in last night and had 60-some miles available this morning. We knew it would be more than enough so we just hopped in and drove. When we got done, we had 11 miles showing. But my wife wanted some things from the store. So I volunteered to take the LEAF. (The store is only about a mile away.) So I go to the store and come back, and it shows 9 mile and one bar left. I had been paying attention, and it went to the last bar at 9 miles. But I had remembered reading of others that the remaining miles display went to the “- – -” display at a higher number. So rather than pulling into our development, I hopped on a parkway and drove some more. Taking it up to about 50 miles per hour, I drove up to the next light, turned around and came back. Probably around a mile or so. As I pulled into our garage, the display showed 8 miles remaining. Remembering the iPhone in my pocket, I decided to take some photos. I had turned on the air conditioning to use up a little extra juice on my parkway jaunt, and by the time I got the phone out of my pocket, we were down to 7 miles remaining.
Seven miles left
I figured that I would take a photo of the upper display too, for those that hadn’t seen this before. Both the red and orange triangular warning lights on the left had lit up by now:
Hazard lights
While we were doing all of these things, the air conditioning was still on as we sat in our garage. Then we noticed it – the display had gone to the “- – -” display:
Dashes
We were never really in danger of running out of power, but it was an interesting experiment in seeing what happened at the end of the useful daily capacity.

My wife just came in and told me that she plugged in the car already, so it would be ready tomorrow. (She probably thought that I’d forget to plug it in tonight too.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Twohy May 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Ernie,
Nice picture! Do you know how many miles you drove after the morning reading of 60 miles? What do you think your total miles driven on that charge was? I know it can be variable but a ball park would be good to know.

Reply

Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) May 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

You know, Frank, that’s a good question that I don’t have an answer to. I wasn’t really planning on running a range exercise, so I didn’t really look at my accumulated daily mileage. According to Google maps, the trip downtown and back was about 42 miles, but we went to Balboa Park on the way, and had the errands at the end of the day. Real world, we probably drove around 50 miles and it said we had 7 left at the end. But I don’t know how much my wife drove the day before. I might have some time next week to take a closer look at the range. Our car is telling us that we’re averaging 3.6 miles per kilowatt hour. So that would give us a total range of 86 miles on a 100% charge, but as we are currently charging to 80% (remember, we bought the car, so we are trying to optimize battery life), that would give us a range of about 69 miles to empty. Sounds like a good topic for an article or two next week.

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Frank Twohy May 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ernie,

As long as I am at it. I could use some of your automotive expierence regarding the value of purchasing a Nissan extended warranty. I also plan to purchase the car. You are in the auto business so I would love to get your thoughts.

Frank Twohy

Reply

Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) May 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Frank, thank you for your trust – I don’t take that lightly.

As I started writing a response to your query, I realized that it was turning into an article. So… please see my next post for your response! (Thanks for giving me something to write about. 🙂 )

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