We have been producing Living LEAF for over a year now (although our first six months of work got swallowed in a server crash). We are still amazed at how little we know about all of the information to be found regarding electric vehicles (EVs) in general – battery technology, electric motor technology, you know… generally how stuff works, and the rapid rate of its evolution.
It is actually pretty easy to find out LEAF stuff. Nissan has media sites active globally to pass along corporate communications. We can check out Japanese and European sites as easily as our own Nissan U.S. media centers with equal ease. But we are still blown away at how many sites exist (and have existed for some time) that we just have not stumbled across before now.
So why all of the rambling? We just discovered ev.sae.org. This is the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) magazine for EVs – vehicle ELECTRIFICATION. It is an outstanding source of EV information, and all things EV associated. If you are any kind of a car geek, it has some pretty cool information on a wide variety of EV related technologies. It naturally also links to the mother ship where you can find articles to keep you online for days, jumping from one to the next.
The real reason for this post though, is to pass along a link to the February 23, 2011 edition of the magazine, which was primarily about the Nissan LEAF. It features a nice interview with the LEAF Chief Engineer and has a great two page LEAF specifications table that offers specifics beyond the marketing fluff on the Nissan website. There is much more to check out as well.
One particular graph that caught our eye was the LEAF electric motor efficiency graph highlighted on page 17. The motor design optimizes efficiency right in the middle of its rpm range with a relatively broad range of optimum efficiency (roughly 5,000 to 7,000 rpm). This would equate to speeds of roughly 45 to 63 miles per hour, based on our previous detective work. In case you missed this detail on the graph, that represents a 95% efficiency factor of the electric motor at those speeds. The lowest efficiency proffered is 85%. We really can’t say worst efficiency, because even at 85% it is worlds above the efficiency of a typical internal combustion engine (ICE) of 14-26%.
Lots of geek stuff there. But some pretty cool info for those that just want to learn more about their favorite car. We’ll bookmark the site and check it out periodically to keep you posted (as we try to do now) on general EV innovations that may find their way into the LEAF. Happy reading.