Third Trip
Around the Fusion Plant
in My Nissan Leaf

March 28, 2015

Mark D Larsen

Wheels of Fortune
(Click to enlarge)

Three years ago to the day, I took delivery of my Nissan Leaf! To celebrate another milestone, I am posting this report, similar to those for the first and second year anniversaries.


Just the opposite of Indiana Jones, in my case “it’s not the mileage, it’s the years.” Although I drive my Leaf everywhere I go, I only drive about 25 miles per day, i.e., 12 miles fewer than the U.S. average. Here are the CarWings readouts compiled to date:

Click to enlarge any screenshot:





Extracting the data from those readouts, here is how they tally:

2012: 6,574.2 1,219.0 5.4
2013: 8,325.3 1,467.6 5.7
2014: 9.497.9 1,664.7 5.7
2015: 2,542.6 449.8 5.7
TOTALS: 26,922 4,801.1 5.6

Of course, as I’ve pointed out previously, my odometer doesn’t agree with CarWings’ tallies. This morning it showed 949 miles higher:

(Click to enlarge)

This makes me wonder: if my Leaf loses its 4th capacity bar with 62,000 miles on the odometer, will Nissan still replace its battery pack for free, since its own CarWings will have only tallied less than its 60,000 mile warranty? Hmmm. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath. Somehow I suspect that the automaker’s policy with CarWings and odometers also echoes the standard warranty caveat: “whichever comes first.”


Speaking of capacity, I also took a LEAFStat reading this morning, and here is the result:

I’m at a loss
(Click to enlarge)

Entering that 79.63% capacity into the following graph plots the battery’s degradation after three years of ownership:

The plot thickens... er, deepens

It is painfully obvious that, despite my Leaf’s comparatively low mileage, its battery pack is losing capacity faster than the polynomial curve of Nissan’s published benchmarks would predict. So far, the line looks fairly linear, and if that trend remains steady, I might qualify for a replacement under warranty after all. Nonetheless, I understand that capacity loss is supposed to slow down with age and miles, causing the plot to begin to curve more horizontally. I’ll just have to wait and see what future LEAFStat readings reveal.

At least I have managed to cross the 3-year threshold before losing the 2nd capacity bar. However, I expect this will happen in the very near future, when the readout drops through the predicted 78.75% trap door —only 0.88% away!


The EPA claims on its 2012 LEAF page that the amount of energy in one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to that in 33.7 kWh of electricity. That page also estimates an average of 34 kWh per 100 miles for a 2012 Leaf like mine, which translates to 2.94 miles-per-kWh, i.e., 99 MPGe. However, because I have averaged 5.6 miles-per-kWh in my Leaf, its energy efficiency to date is much higher:

26,922 miles / (4,801.1 kWh / 33.7 kWh per gallon = 142.47 gallons) = 188.96 MPGe

Driving my Leaf has taught me to be a pretty good hypermiler, but in truth such a high level of efficiency is primarily due to the low speed limits and few stoplights in my community. Consequently, my Leaf has ranked “platinum” for the last 30 months in CarWings:

Click to enlarge any screenshot:

Nonetheless, you can see in those tables that the highest ranking I have ever achieved was 298th in January 2013 —not even in the top 100! Obviously, there are hundreds of Leaf drivers worldwide whose energy efficiency puts mine to shame. Nothing to brag about here, folks, just move along.

Fusion Fuel

What I can unabashedly brag about is that I drive on clean, free sunshine. This pie chart shows the distribution of the kWh that my solar array has generated since the day I took delivery of my Leaf. For the sake of simplicity, I have rounded the decimals to whole numbers:

Perhaps this infographic makes it easier ot understand exactly how and when those kWh are used:

You can see that my solar panels have generated even more excess kWh than I have used to drive my Leaf, which my utility, Rocky Mountain Power, then confiscates at the end of March every year and sells to my neighbors at the full rate. Believe it or not, that company is now resorting to class warfare propaganda to convince our Public Services Commission to levy a monthly penalty surcharge on me for making that “donation.” I have, of course, written a letter to the PSC to protest that unconscionable proposal.

What adds insult to injury is that I am obviously helping Rocky Mountain Power clean up its dirty, fossil foolish act to mitigate global warming. My Leaf truly is both emission-free and cost-free, as the following graphics substantiate.

Indeed, if I didn’t have solar panels, and charged from the utility’s grid instead, the Leaf still would have produced upstream less than a third of the greenhouse gases that my old Subaru would have emitted both upstream and from its tailpipe. As for fuel costs, the amount for grid electricity would have been less than 11¢ on the dollar compared to the price at the pump for gasoline.


I can honestly say that I love my Leaf more than ever. In fact, I can hardly stand getting behind the wheel of a lurchy, jerky, noisy, stinky, primitive ICE anymore. As a matter of fact, I sat down and calculated that it made no sense to keep paying registration, insurance, maintenance, and safety inspections on our Subaru, because we were only driving it once or twice per year at most. I therefore sold it a few months ago, and figure we can always rent a car on those rare occasions and still come out ahead.

I do wish that I could take the Leaf on those trips, however, precisely because it is such a joy to drive. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible until there are finally QuickChargers in my area or I upgrade either the battery or the entire car to have greater range. For now, it still fulfills the vast majority of my daily driving needs in quiet, clean, guiltless comfort.

Happy Birthday, Ohm My!