Two very cold nights parked at the airport

ImageI left the LEAF at the airport Park and Fly for two nights without realizing it was going to get really cold! If you haven’t heard, the Leaf battery will freeze solid if the temperature hits -25C, and no electrons will pass through the frozen electrolyte. To prevent this from happening, the Leaf has a 300 W battery heater that kicks in when the internal battery temperature hits -20C, stopping when it reaches a more comfortable -10C. The energy to power the heater comes from the battery itself, so in theory, you can lose a significant portion of your charge simply by parking the car during a long cold spell. That’s why you should leave it plugged in when parked in the winter, which clearly wasn’t my case as the Park and Fly doesn’t have any charging points.

The first night hit -23.2C and stayed very low for several hours, while the second night wasn’t so bad as the temperature stayed above -20C. I kept monitoring the charge using the GreenCharge app on the iPhone, but it didn’t change at all. I was curious to see if there was any change in the SOC% so I uploaded the data from the C5 logger to the FleetCarma portal and checked. For the two nights, the state of charge only dropped 1.2%, from 57.4% to 56.2%, which proves that a few degrees below the -20C threshold is still not enough to make a dent.


By canadianleaf Posted in Winter

2 comments on “Two very cold nights parked at the airport

  1. Hi my is renee i reading your comments about the nissan leaf i would like to buy a one a 2012 but mine main concern it winter at work i have no place to plugged and i will ve parking the car for 10 hour if the temperature hit more then -25 ill be able to return home my normal comute to work it 65 km round trip the battery will freeze or not thanks

    • Hi Renee: Sorry for the delay in answering your question. I always plug in at work so I had to ask other owners who actually park outside unplugged during the day. The general consensus was that it would take days, not hours, for the ambient temperature to have any significant effect because of the thermal blanket insulating the batteries. One of the owners actually has a commute very similar to yours and said this “We parked outside at work all winter with several days at or close to -10 C [he later corrected his — he meant -25C]. Our round trip commute is 63 kms. Car would be outside parked from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm. We used heat all the time, but at low levels. We’d always arrive home with at least 2 bars. We did park the car inside at night and pre-heated before leaving in the morning.”

      The whole discussion thread is in the Leaf Owners Group on Facebook. Feel free to join. Link below.

      Hope that helps,


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