Peak Experience
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6-Year Anniversary
since taking delivery of
My Nissan Leaf

March 28, 2018

Mark D Larsen

Today marks 6 years since I took delivery of my Nissan LEAF. I can still state that it is the best car I have ever owned. Like its owner, however, it is getting rather long in the tooth. As you can see in the photo below on the left when I pulled into the garage yesterday, I have driven it 61,698 miles, i.e., an average 10,283 miles per year.

Rear View Mirror
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Tally Ho!
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Energy Use

While driving home, I also launched LEAFstat to take a reading of its battery capacity. Since Nissan replaced the pack under warranty 13 months ago, I have driven 9,186 more miles. As you can see in the screenshot above on the right, the capacity has dropped to 88.61%, plotted on the following graph:

I must confess that I am disappointed with that loss. Evidently this pack is not holding up any better than the original. In fact, now that I think about it, I believe that Nissan merely replaced the original with a “refurbished” pack rather than a new one. To wit, when the warranty was first announced, Nissan stated that owners would need to pay for an adaptor bracket to fit the new battery into older 2011-12 models, yet as you can clearly see in the videos of the installation, the replacement didn’t require any such bracket, and the dealer didn’t charge me a dime for the service. If I am wrong, and the replacement is in fact a new pack, then I have to conclude that the so-called “lizard” chemistry is hardly an improvement. As a matter of fact, a recent study purports that Nissan’s new battery chemistry loses capacity even faster than the original.

As for my LEAF’s energy efficiency, it continues to be stellar. Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago Nissan revamped its owners’ portal yet again, for the third time, both on the web and the smart phone app, and it is currently difficult to extract the kinds of data that I have posted in the past. The webpage, for example, has a link that is supposed to accesses driving statistics, but... it doesn't work, and is likely still under construction. A similar link on the app does work, but the information is not nearly as thorough as before, and the displays are hardly legible. For example, below on the left is a screenshot of last year’s miles-per-kWh, yet the maximum Y-axis on the graph is 5, so several months of my energy efficiency is off the top of the chart.

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Platinum Ranking
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Regardless, my efficiency continues to rank “platinum,” barely noticeable in the screenshot above on the right. I wish I could boast about my hypermiling skills, but in truth that ranking is due to the fact that I rarely drive on the freeway, and only a few of the roads around town have speed limits above 40 MPH.

The good news is that I keep track of my data by hand, independent of Nissan’s records, and here are the relevant stats compiled after 6 years of ownership:

In short, my LEAF’s energy efficiency continues to be outstanding, much higher than a comparable ICE, and nearly double that of the EPA’s combined city/highway estimate of 99 MPGe:

5.2 miles-per-kWh x 33.7 kWh-per-gallon = 175 miles-per-gallon equivalent

Driving on Sunshine

Best of all, I have managed to average such high efficiency using renewable energy. Here is how the kWh from my rooftop solar have been distributed during these last 6 years:

For those who wonder about the environmental impact and cost of owning an EV, these data show that there is simply no comparison:

What’s not to like?

What’s not to like?

Finally, this infographic summarizes how my solar array has powered both my home and my Leaf:

What Lies Ahead

Tesla started delivering its Model 3 several months ago, and although the ramp up has been slower than hoped, reservation holders who are not employees or owners are now receiving invitations to place their orders. Having also hedged my bets online the first day, I therefore anticipate that I might receive mine before too much longer. I am not sure at this point if I will immediately configure, or wait until the AWD model is available later this year, but I definitely plan on upgrading to a Model 3.

I am so spoiled to driving an EV that I can no longer tolerate driving an ICE on even an occasional roadtrip. Upgrading to a new 2018 LEAF simply wouldn’t suffice for several reasons: its EPA range is only 151 miles; the CHAdeMO charging network is still too limited to take bona fide roadtrips; and Nissan still doesn’t use a thermal management system to slow down capacity loss. I therefore surmise that this will be the last anniversary report that I will post for my LEAF.

Thank you, Ohm My, for over 6 years of quiet, smooth, responsive, nimble, fun, guilt-free driving!