After receiving his LEAF this past weekend, Olivier Chalouhi has been actively answering questions and posting his various ventures/experiences with the car on MyNissanLeaf.com. After riding around in the car and testing it out, Chalouhi believes that Carlos Ghosn was right when he said “once you buy one EV, you won’t go back to ICE.” Being that Olivier is not on Nissan’s payroll, it’s refreshing to get his view on things. Here’s a rundown of some of the interesting findings the new owner has made so far.
Olivier is more than happy with his purchase. He has vehemently stated that there’s no chance that he’s ever going back to his day-to-day car. He writes, “I chose it [the LEAF] because it’s electric, but if it wasn’t but still had the same characteristics (noise, acceleration, comfort, equipment, price), I would buy it.” He goes on to say, “Electric cars are by FAR superior.”
Chalouhi compared the vehicle to his wife’s Ford Fit, stating that the LEAF is more comfortable, better equipped and is much more silent.”I also think that you have a lower perception of speed in the LEAF(ie, 40 mph feels slow in the LEAF given lack of noise, and it’s a bigger car),” Olivier writes. “After 70mph, I’d have to compare the 2 for real. Intuition tells me that the fit accelerates slower, but I could be wrong.”
As far as range goes, Chalouhi says be prepared to see your mileage vary. On one trip Olivier left his home with 82 miles of range remaining and when he returned home, he had the same amount even though he had driven 10 miles. On a separate occasion Olivier recalls starting the morning on a full battery with the dashboard reading 96 miles, but when he turned on climate control, it dropped to approximately 85 miles. “If you want to cruise on the highway at 75+ mph, then you should not hope to get more than 50-60 miles of range, with light climate control,” Chalouhi writes.
One very important thing Olivier mentioned on the forum, is that you get less regen when the battery is full. Chalouhi gave a thorough recollection of when he first noticed this. He writes, ” I went to work via El Camino Real this morning, 10 miles on a 35mph road, with light traffic, so I was going between 25 and 40 mph. I ended with more range than I started with (in eco mode, climate control off), and average mileage at 4.5 miles / KWH. This number would IMPROVE as I drive more on the same charge, as I’ve noticed that regen is limited based on battery state of charge.”
All of the findings mentioned above, occurred over the span of four days.
Chalouhi gives insight on some FAQs about the LEAF’s specifics:
Tracking miles: “The main problem though is tracking miles … honestly, I’m simply using the car, and it’s a little bit of a hassle to look at how much I’m driving.” Chalouhi mentioned that he forgot to reset the counter on his LEAF one morning before leaving. As he result, he ran into the same issue he had with his electric bicycle…he forgot how many miles he had left.
Recharge timer: “When setting your recharge timer(s), you can set a charge limit. There might be a custom entry, but the 2 offered by default are : “100%” : maximize your range, or “80%” : maximize your battery life.” Olivier also says that you can assign days of the week to your times. For example, you can charge 80% Sunday through Thursday and opt for a charge of 100% on Fridays and Saturdays.
ECO mode: “…is way less fun than regular (actually ECO mode makes you feel you’re driving a regular car in terms of performance).”
Climate control: “If you turn on climate control while the vehicle is plugged, is seems that it turns itself off automatically as soon as you unplug the car.” Olivier states that remote climate control seems to work the same way whether you are plugged in or not.
Voice command/recognition: “…is not that great … it works, but the user flow is sometimes cumbersome.”
Bluetooth connection: “The bluetooth connection is great (music, phone, contacts) and works perfectly with the iPhone.” Chalouhi states that being on the phone in the LEAF is ” the best communication experience you’ll experience.”
Although Chalouhi loves his LEAF and he’s glad he bought it, but he does not recommend the vehicle for individuals with a daily commute over 25 miles each way, this of course being at freeway speed. Chalouhi also said, “The way I drive, my LEAF knows I can’t make 100 miles,” so that is something to keep in mind as well. As Olivier and the other first LEAF owners continue to share their experiences with the vehicle, we will continue to share them with you. Just the facts of course.
Photo Credit: Nissan LEAF