Nissan Drive Electric Event Representative Talks Eco-Mode

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This Man Is About to Get Wet. Very Wet. All Weekend Long.

On a soggy afternoon this past Friday in San Diego during the Nissan’s Drive Electric Tour, a very wet, yet resilient Nissan representative talks about Eco-mode.  A function designed to maximize the range of the LEAF when extended journeys are required by the driver.

This wet weather warrior explains the Eco-mode’s function as being twofold.   First to “get you to accelerate less quickly,” and secondly to increase the heaviness/efficiency of the regen brakes, enabling more power to flow back into the LEAFs batteries, while also adjusting the output of power that is being used by the heating and air conditioning.

Additionally, the representative mentioned that whenever the LEAF gets within 25 miles of the expected range of the battery “the LEAF will automatically bring up the available charging stations within that 25 mile radius…so it will tell you where to get a charge when you get down on range.”

The high point of the ‘walk and talk’ for me was when someone out of the crowd asks if the range will still be 100 miles in Eco-mode, and you can tell he thinks so…but he isn’t really sure.   Which, I guess means the hired hands for Nissan are still not 100% up on the literature (despite this being the 3rd stop on the tour) because he answers, “Yeah, still.  But, it will probably be more.”  /thanks a pant-load Chet

Unwilling to end this piece with a question mark, I can confirm that I have spoken to Nissan’s Director of Product Planning, Mark Perry about the subject and he backed up the rep by saying, “…stronger regen and softer pedal response, plus modulates the auto HVAC temp setting” is the basis of the mode, which leads to “saving a few kW(h)s…10% more than normal,”  effectively giving it a 110 mile range (EPA LA-4) if the mode was toggled on from a full charge.

(Video: Bright Side of News)

If you enjoyed that video, you may also find this ditty on the iPhone App entertaining as well:

15 Responses

  1. mark smith says:

    I really think the Nissan battery pack is a work of art – to build a pack that fits under the seat without compromising the passenger area… to utilise the space under the front seats and the rear seats and not compromise the boot space is a stunning breakthrough. If you compare it to the T shaped Volt battery that blocks the middle seat in the rear you realise this is a much better design. Also, impressively it weighs “only” 500lb – I say only, as that’s not much more than a good sized petrol/diesel engine, and in an electric vechile the weight is in the battery, not the engine, the electric motor tends to weigh a lot, but a fraction of a petrol engine… the Tesla Volt motor is apparantly only the size of a watermelon.

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  2. mark smith says:

    … or compare it to 2 seater cars like the Volt or the electric mini that becomes a 2 seater vehicle. The car looks quite similar to most nippy european cars and this car is going to be fantastic for people living in small cities… especially ones that have congestion/pollution charges. In the UK this will be exempt from the £7 a day congestion charge… add that to electricity per mile costing 1/4 of what petrol does and this will be a MASSIVE saving once you’ve bought the rather pricey car!

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  3. RB says:

    Today’s WSJ has a story “High batter cost curbs electric cars” that says what everyone knows (battery costs are up to half of total cost) in which it pegs the price of the Nissan Leaf battery at $15K/car. There are quotations from people at various battery and car companies on the expected future price of Li auto batteries. The forecasts range from not much change (Toyota, based on the history of Ni batteries) to decline of 50% in a few years (A123), to decline of 70% by 2014 (US Dept Energy goal). Generally the article is negative on electric cars, but it includes interesting tidbits.

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  4. Unlimited_MPG says:

    Anyone sat in the back seat of the Leaf yet? Curious how it compares to the Prius for leg room?

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  5. alexsambie says:

    Sat in the back seat of a Leaf at the Innovation Station event on 1st Oct in London. Space is ample and very comfortable. Cannot compare to a Prius for leg room – never tried back seat of one. Would say as good as a Golf if not better. The Leaf looks a lot bigger in real life than in any of the pictures I have seen so far. Very pleasantly and positively impressed. Ordered one (blue with solar panel) on 1st September…can’t wait!

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  6. DonC says:

    The presenter isn’t a Nissan employee. He’s hired to do events, gets a crash course in the most asked questions, and gets sent out to do presentations. He’s a good presenter but he’s simply not an authoritative resource.

    The guys riding along are similar except they get a 1/2 crash course in the most asked questions.

    On the regen, I prefer the way that GM has done it, which is to separate the regen from the mode. So in the Volt you can set up Sport Mode with higher regeneration (L=More, go figure). With the Leaf you can’t do this, the Mode and regen are set together.

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  7. RB says:

    On the regen, I prefer the way that GM has done it, which is to separate the regen from the mode. So in the Volt you can set up Sport Mode with higher regeneration (L=More, go figure). With the Leaf you can’t do this, the Mode and regen are set together.

    .
    For the extra $10K you ought to get something … :)

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  8. DonC says:

    For the extra $10K you ought to get something …

    Hey, $6.5K! Of course after the CARB rebate it’s more like $12K …

    I’ll have a slightly better feel in in a couple of days but so far my impression is that the Volt is a higher end car. It’s a different car as well. The Leaf is perfectly suited for my driving which is along the lines of a suburban mom. You sit higher and aim where you want to go. Very smooth with good acceleration. If I had to do a lot of freeway freeway driving I think I’d be more comfortable in a Volt. The Volt is lower, with what I imagine is better acceleration and stiffer steering. A couple of extra airbags and more solid construction doesn’t hurt on the freeway either.

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  9. indyflick says:

    I couldn’t feel the regen in standard mode and it wasn’t all that intense in eco mode. I wish it were adjustable.

    When we were in the battery pavilion, the Nissan rep in those videos said a number of things which were wrong. He was talking about the J1772 connector and said it was what Telsa uses, that’s not true. He also said the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” was BS because it was simply a lack of public charging infrastructure which actually killed the electric car. I just rolled my eyes, bit my lip, and turned away.

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  10. Herm says:

    On the regen, I prefer the way that GM has done it, which is to separate the regen from the mode. So in the Volt you can set up Sport Mode with higher regeneration (L=More, go figure). With the Leaf you can’t do this, the Mode and regen are set together

    L simply stands for Low, just the way that automatic transmissions have been labeled for decades.. Sheez the kids today dont know anything :)

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  11. CaptJackSparrow says:

    I couldn’t feel the regen in standard mode and it wasn’t all that intense in eco mode. I wish it were adjustable.

    I’m more of a “freewheel and coast…” kind of guy. I’m still not sure Regen is that advantageous. Can I really recapture the same energy that I need to go the same distance from just “coasting”?

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  12. evnow says:

    I’m more of a “freewheel and coast…” kind of guy. I’m still not sure Regen is that advantageous. Can I really recapture the same energy that I need to go the same distance from just “coasting”?  

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    This is one of the most contentious issues.

    In general obviously a round trip to battery will be less than 100% efficient.

    I think coasting is best in cities that are more or less flat. In hilly cities more regen may be advantageous.

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  13. DonC says:

    Can I really recapture the same energy that I need to go the same distance from just “coasting”? 

    No. Regen requires a mechanical–>electrical–>chemical conversion, and then of course a round trip back.

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  14. Herm says:

    I’m more of a “freewheel and coast…” kind of guy. I’m still not sure Regen is that advantageous. Can I really recapture the same energy that I need to go the same distance from just “coasting”?

    Regen is a form of braking, its always best if you avoid all kinds of braking.. but eventually you have to brake and thats the advantage of regen.. obviously it will help some people a lot more than others. You want to anticipate the conditions ahead and use the un-avoidable forms of natural braking to your advantage (air drag, tire dag).

    There are legal liabilities if a manufacturer makes the car default to coasting once you step off the gas. You will never see that offered.

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  15. garygid says:

    Sorry, “Never” already happened.

    My 1994 Dodge Grand Caravan had a coasting “overdrive” where the ICE did NOT slow the car. Apprently the automatic transmission went into “neutral” to allow the coasting.

    One could push a button to turn the “overdrive-coasting” Off/On if desired, but it was always enabled at startup.

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