I took delivery of our Leaf yesterday from the hands of Allen Childs, president of Nissan Canada. It was a busy day, but also a very fun and exciting day.
The event received a lot of media attention. I gave interviews to several local radio stations and newspapers. The main newspaper in Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen, published this story on the front page of its Business and Technology section.
I drove our Leaf for the first time with Allen Childs as a passenger. Then I took my family for a ride. Then I gave more interviews. Then we went home.
I drove 99 Km the first day and arrived at home with 51 Km range to spare (3 bars). The average energy efficiency is sitting at 7.6 Km/KWh, which is really good. All my cost estimates were based on 6.6 Km/KWh. I plugged the car in for 2.5 hours in the evening before I had to leave again for an errand, and arrived later at night. I continued the charge overnight but my smart meter report only shows the first 2.5 hours right now, so here are the numbers:
– 2.5 h charge = 9.8 KWh
– Times 11 cents/KWh = $1.08
– Estimated range went up from 51 Km to 135 Km, or 84 Km.
Now, that’s quite amazing. For less than a liter of gas, I can drive 84 Km. In the city!
I think the estimate is a bit optimistic though. Given my average of 7.6 Km/KWh, that charge should actually give me 74 Km, which is still very very good. I should get more precise numbers in the next few days, after a few full recharges.
As for the iPhone app, it works really well but don’t expect fast responses. You’re not talking to the car directly but through a central server. Update requests take about a minute to receive a response from the car.
ECO mode is sluggish but I’m starting to make sense out of it. It drives as if you had five heavy people in the car and lots of luggage. It gets to the speed you want but accelerates much more slowly than what you’re used to on the Leaf by default. On the other hand, the acceleration is very similar to a small gas-powered car, so you’re not making any people behind you crazy. It’s worth getting used to it because it saves a lot of energy, and you can always click it back to “sport mode” when you need it.
One thing to watch for in ECO mode: the regenerative breaking is very aggressive. That means you rarely have to step on the break when getting close to a red light. That’s great for recharging the battery but remember the person behind you will NOT see any break lights while you’re decelerating so make sure there’s enough room between you and the car behind you.
Today I drove another 82 Km and ended the day with a 67 Km range, or 4 bars. A full recharge was estimated to take 4.5 hours but took a bit more than 3.5h. The hydro report will be available tomorrow.