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Getting the best range in electric cars


January 20, 2015 - Electric Cars

How to Consistently get the best range in electric cars

Nissan Leaf Dashboard - the best range in electric carsDriving style and driving conditions will impact the total driving range of the car,as we all want to be getting the best range in electric cars.

The average advertised range of the Nissan Leaf is 84 miles. While it is not every day that we find ourselves needing to go that far, I have on many occasions exceed 100 miles of range on a single charge in the Leaf. This is verified by actually driving more than 100 miles on a single charge. My wife who is also mastering the range extending driving techniques, has me beat with 112 miles on a single charge.

Here is a collection of vehicle settings and driving techniques so you too can achieve over 100
miles of consistent driving range, in your Nissan Leaf or any electric car to get best range in electric cars
Charge Battery to 100%:

This is an obvious one but often times, people often only charge their Leaf up to 80% in hopes that
this will extend the life of the battery.

Nissan used to recommend doing this too but they don’t anymore. other than you should not let the
car sit for an extended period of time (weeks or months) with a 100% full battery. In any case, set
the battery to charge up to 100%.

The Economy Switch

The 2013 Nissan Leaf has an economy button on the steering wheel that
changes the sensitivity of the throttle pedal. I don’t know why this should matter. Burying the
throttle pedal will still push back in your seat. By keeping it in Economy mode, you still have a
very peppy Leaf but your range is extended by 7-10 miles.

B-Mode vs. D-mode

Why throw away precious kinetic energy? Reclaim as much as you can.

Starting in 2013, The Nissan Leaf added 2 driving modes. “D” for regular driving mode and “B”
for braking driving mode. While both modes offer some regenerative braking functionality, B-mode
is much more aggressive and effective at recovering excess kinetic energy when you need to slow
down anyway. Whenever you let off the throttle, the car instantly begins to slow down. This allows
you to come nearly to a complete stop without having to use the regular friction brakes at all. In the
towns and the city, this will increase range dramatically. Even driving on the motorway using BMode
will re-capture more energy than D-mode could (like when traffic is slowing ).

Personally, I prefer B-mode all the time and wish it was always engaged by default. As a
comparison, aggressiveness of B-mode on the Leaf feels very similar to the regenerative brake in a
Tesla Roadster and Model S.

Follow Battery Percentage and Not Miles Remaining. The mileage guess-o-meter is based off of
past performance. If you just drove down a long hill or just completed a lot of slower, city driving,
the range indicator will give you a false high range estimate. You may think you have lots of miles
until you get on the faster roads and the miles remaining quickly drop off.

Anticipate Stops

The less you have to use your brakes, (even regenerative brakes), the more
energy you conserve. If you know that the light up ahead will turn red by the time you get there,
coast to it. By the time you get there, it could be green and you can keep on rolling through it.

It’s enjoyable coasting up to an anticipated red light as other cars race past me. Then, after they
have all screeched to a stop, the light turns green and I leisurely roll past them as they compete
against themselves in a panic to get going again. Ahhh, the simple pleasures.

If you can spare a few extra seconds getting up to speed, do it. A slower acceleration will save
energy over a faster one.

Yes, per the laws of Physics, the Leaf’s 80kW electric motor, with its instant torque will completely
annihilate most ICE (Internal Combustion Engines ) cars off the line, (even ones with much larger
engines). While it is immensely fun to do, (leaving everyone else in the dust at every green light or
junction), is not conducive to maintaining 100 miles of battery range.

Let’s face it. You aren’t going to go on a super long road-trip in a Nissan Leaf. That’s not the
application for which it was designed. Save that trip for a petrol, or diesel car, (or hire one for that
longer trip ) or if you can afford it, (I wish at £100 K !), get a Tesla Model-S or Model-X and carry
up to seven people, (and all their stuff), on that cross country road-trip. With a range of 285 miles
+ !

Drive Slower

Air drag increases by the cube of your speed. Indy 500 cars need 700 hp engines
for one reason only. To overcome air friction.
Since you won’t be driving much farther than 100 miles at a time in the Leaf, driving faster will not
shave a significant amount of time from your commute.

At the expense of 2-6 extra minutes driving the distance of an average commute, drive 53 mph on
the faster roads instead of 60 or 70 mph. Just be aware of others want to drive 7 MPH faster than
you ! . Let them get the speeding tickets, anxiety, high blood pressure and stress. In return, you will
be driving happy, with an additional 15-30% extension in driving range.

 

 


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