Saturday, December 13, 2014


I can't even begin to thank Nissan enough for having the guts to be first to market with a viable EV that fits my needs and guess what? After 4 years, the Nissan LEAF is still the best fit for my needs.

Now, there is competition but you have to live in specific areas of the country for that.  I am (like 90% of the country) not lucky enough to have the correct zip code. So, again I am thankful that Nissan has fully committed to the LEAF and not half-as... well you know what I am saying.

But like the first place car in a race, setting the pace uses more fuel and can cause a situation where additional fuel stops are needed. Plus, cars behind can use the leader's slipstream to keep up while conserving fuel.  So is Nissan making a mistake? Right now, the biggest draw to EVs is their relative cheapness that combines a reasonable sticker price (after incentives) along with ridiculously low cost of operation.  But those federal incentives are limited. Its up to $7500 for the first 200,000 units from any manufacturer then it drops from there each quarter until zero.

Which makes me wonder if other manufacturers dragging their feet has more to do with getting a price advantage on Nissan than waiting for better technology?   Cause I have to think if there was a "ticking" clock, then everyone would be in the market right now trying to establish a niche in the market.

Nissan should be rewarded for pushing the envelop and allowing us to enjoy, learn and incorporate electric vehicles into our lives today! We have over ONE BILLION kilometers of EV driving under out belts and that number is growing exponentially!

But incentives can't or shouldn't go on forever. Unlike the Oil industry, the incentives should have a finite period. So, this is where you guys come in. We need to start petitioning our legislators to make the incentives time based and not unit based.  This puts all manufacturers on equal footing and the best part is it rewards the manufacturers who take the risk and brings products to market sooner rather than later.

And I am betting this will meet with huge resistance from manufacturers who currently have little or nothing to offer in the EV arena currently. They will say its unfair because Nissan has been enjoying the benefits of the incentives for over 4 years and several thousand more units than them. But whose fault is that?

Compliance cars are simply an answer to other manufacturers taking advantage of loopholes in the system. Lets close some of those holes! Contact your legislator today!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

**UPDATE** The Saga of VIN #222; RESOLVED!!

A while back I wrote about a neighbor, Jennifer who purchased a used LEAF last Summer. It has 12 capacity bars and was a good deal. Not a great deal, mind you. Just a good deal.   She soon lost her first bar which we told her was likely to happen in the first year. Now keeping in mind the first bar represents a capacity nearly three times larger than the next several bars, it would not be extremely unusual for only a short period of time to pass before losing bar #2.

But the Pacific Northwest's weather is nearly tailor-made for battery health. Our climate is tempered by Puget Sound so its rarely very cold or very hot.  My first LEAF, VIN 258 built nearly the same time but having the advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest went 44,958 miles with all 12 capacity bars intact. At 57.11 ahr, it probably would have lasted all Winter before losing its first bar in mid Spring. So it had at least a few thousand miles to go.

But Jennifer's bars continued to disappear at the rate of nearly one per month! Something was not right.  Further digging found that this EXACT same car was reported as a 3 bar loser by its original owner in Southern CA back in November of 2013.

Obviously, someone was trying to pull a fast one here. She posted her dilemma on Facebook and we encouraged her to get the car inspected and research its history.  When the history of the car was reviewed it was immediately obvious that all was not as it was represented to be.

She was able to get it tested and guess what?? During the test, she LOST ANOTHER BAR!!

As a result, a new battery pack is on its way. It will  be a "Lizard" pack so it will be coming from Tennessee but the adapter kit is on back order and will take several weeks. She is in a loaner until then so looks like everything will work out for her and she will soon be driving a better car than she thought she was purchasing!

There still remains a question of how all of this even happened. How the depleted capacity bars were restored. Why she was not advised they had been restored. Who knew what and when?

Having been in the car business, car dealers have no more protection at auctions than we do, so its very much buyer beware. But in this case, the dealer, Tacoma Nissan should have been able to access the car's warranty history just like the dealer who is helping to get the warranty pack.  But auctions frequently have time limits, limited information in advance, etc. So it can be conceivable that Tacoma Nissan would have known very little in advance before bidding.

But they would have had ample time to have discovered the true nature of the car well before it was sold. The price they sold it for does not suggest they were open about the battery's degradation level. Either way, it is pretty obvious that laws need to be written that REQUIRES the true nature of the battery pack to be documented and accepted by the buyer.

Because this is such a new concept and still very much under the radar in most areas, we REALLY need to rely on you people to get the word out to your legislators.  The first post concerning this issue has links from Facebook and detailing the history of the car.

Finally, this issue would have never come to life if not for the actions of several people.

Kudos to Jennifer, the Washingtonian who bought the car from Tacoma Nissan and alerted our Facebook group to her plight and also for completing the escalation process!

Kudos to Aaron (The Tech) for investigating the history and testing the car AND being insistent with Nissan who first stuck with the claim that the car had 12 capacity bars in Jan, 2013!

Kudos to Nissan Motor Corporation for having the insight to create the paper trail that allows us to know the true nature of the battery's health. It was the warranty history on the car that provided the proof to warrant the test needed to complete the escalation process.

and finally....

Kudos to Nissan of the Eastside  in Bellevue, WA for giving Jennifer the "proper" loaner while she waits for her new batteries


Edited to update that it appears Jennifer will be getting the Lizard pack after all.  Normally, it would be OEM for the 2011/12 model year but as expected, the packs from Japan have apparently run out so she will be getting a better pack than the car was originally equipped.  As mentioned above, the Lizard pack requires a adapter kit to make it work. Some components of the 2011 pack were moved to the front of the car so the adapter is required.

Also want to make it clearer that the information surrounding this situation is still coming in. There is some details of the story that some parties to the story want to keep under wraps for the time being, so stay tuned. We will have more updates as they come in.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What I Want For Christmas Along With The Nov 2014 Drive Report

A Billion Kilometers! Wow, what an achievement but that is only the beginning! Nissan is really starting to move away from the pack and recent revelations from the top promises to widen the gap.

hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving but its now time to fill out the Christmas Wishlist.

Carlos Ghosn mentioned that much better batteries at a much cheaper price are just around the corner.  This is not surprising since the technology curve is always steepest in the beginning.  If press releases earlier this year are to be believed, then can we expect a 2017 LEAF with a 185 mile range in the low Thirties by Summer 2016?

That has been my hope which is part of the reason I did a 3 year lease a year ago.  Other than "stretching" the lease miles a bit, everything has worked out much better than I had hoped!

Today in my area, the LEAF is the ONLY viable option for me.  Yes, a RAV 4 EV would work because of its longer range or the Kia Soul EV would work because it has Chademo fast charging... but neither is available.

What I do have is the Mitsubishi MiEV with range that is too short and the Ford Focus without fast charging. Both are deal breakers for me. But Nissan's success will spur other car makers into action. I fully expect to have at least 3-4 cars to ponder over in two years. So Nissan; you have had a great start but no time to rest!!

 EDUCATION Right now, the biggest drawback to EVs is still education. Thankfully, EVs have such a high owner satisfaction rating, word of mouth is helping in that area but even among owners, there is still a lot of misconceptions and features your EV may have that are not being used properly.

With Winter well under way, the major topic has been the range hit we have all been seeing.  Still tons of misinformation being passed about or simply info being relayed that many are simply misunderstanding.

An example is knowing how efficiently you drive. There is a miles/kwh meter I recommend resetting daily because its a gauge that can illustrate day to day differences you are not aware of.  I posted a pix in August of a commute where I averaged 5 miles per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and several were amazed stating they only drove at "3.8 in the Winter to 4.0 in the Summer."

Well that was an immediate red flag in this area.  The differences should have been much greater. Further questions revealed the person really had no clue how efficiently they drove because they were unaware that the number could be reset.  If that was all there was to it, then not really a big deal but a surprising number of LEAFers knew about it but didn't do it thinking it wasn't all that necessary.

That could not be further from the truth! Even routes repeated often like a work commute can have huge variances in performances in seemingly similar situations.  What it boils down to is a car that is highly efficient, any variance can greatly affect its performance.  I found that resetting my odometer and efficiency meter daily does give me great insight on my driving performance AND bragging rights!

Another reason to do this is this also allows one a head's up to possible upcoming issues. A big drop in performance minus any obvious causes (track your weather! a change in wind direction will play havoc on your range!) is a red flag to investigate.  The other day, I started up my car to see my tire pressures ranging from 3940 PSI. I normally keep them at 44 but the cold weather reduced tire pressures a ton and the car's TPMS does not alert you until the pressures hit a ridiculously low number in the twenties!

AWARENESS  Nissan; its no longer a secret that you wish to corner the electric vehicle mainstream market. So, lets hear about it!!  Tell us what you are working on! What is your goal for 2016 or 2017? Give us something to look forward to!

SUPPORT Lets face it; other than Oregon (color me GREEN with envy) public infrastructure support has failed.  In a state that is one of the leaders in EV adoption, it really saddens me that I am experiencing some of the "best" we have to offer.  There has been some reports that more support is at least desired but I think the targets need to be changed.  As a 3rd time EVer, I am not likely to change my preferences the 4th time around, but many first timers are having a hard time adjusting.  More public charging does bring a great sense of security to EVers even if there are no plans to use the system.  Just knowing its there in case its needed goes a long long way. 

Now this by no means means the chargers will lie unused. Too many times we are seeing this

This is the scene at the Burlington WA fast charger. What we have is one fast charger and 4 LEAFs waiting to use it. It is literally an oasis and in Winter it is a must stop. This needs to be changed.  There are too many holes in the infrastructure. The Washington Coast is pretty much been ignored. Grays Harbor County has ZERO public charging of any kind. Sure there are plugs for the imaginative. After all, its electricity and we pretty much all have it EVERYWHERE but I think its far past time the States take a lead role in this. One need look to the South to see how effective this can be in encouraging EV adoption!

But anyway, the stats for Nov, 2014 and FINALLY as promised, the LEAF has seen a reduced roll primarily due to very cold weather and lease mileage limitations.  But still managed to go 813.3 miles at at cost of $15.75 in electricity or just under 2 cents per mile. Work reimbursement was only $105 so with insurance added, it was a "break even" month.

The Corolla drove 954.7 miles using about $75.11 in gas on 3 fillups for the month costing 8 cents per mile.  The last fillup consisted of driving with temps primarily in the 20's but still managed 37.3 MPG which is pretty good considering one morning last week, I had to warm the car up about 10 mins because it took me that long to scrape ice and pry the trunk open due to a frozen latch.  That was no fun! (especially without gloves!)

Since I am just now hitting 17,000 miles with an anniversary date of Dec 23 and a lease limit of 15,000 miles per, I will continue to drive the Corolla for my longer commute options. The LEAF has been doing mostly the shorter errand type of things which helps to preserve my outstanding gas mileage.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

TCO Equals ZERO!!!

On Wednesday, I booked 78 miles of personal transportation for work which they will reimburse me at the rate of probably 39 cents per mile. This brings my total reimbursement in the LEAF for 2014 to roughly $4352.

So what does that mean?  Well in 2014,  my expenses were

Lease @ $245.75 a month or $2949
Insurance   $837  (5 months at $68 and probably 7 months at $71)
electricity/public charging fees estimated;  $375  (YTD $342.71)
Tabs; $179.75 which does include a $100 EV penalty fee (I call it like it is!!) and a $30 Seattle Seahawk custom plate fee (wouldn't leave home without it!)  other than that, WA State tabs are fairly cheap if you don't live in the rapid transit district up north :)

But all that adds up to... oh wait!  Maintenance was about $10 for windshield wipers although they have not been installed yet.  so "that" adds up to $4,350.75

which means my total cost of ownership for the rest of the year is PAID OFF!!

Now, in all fairness, I should mention this has not been without repercussions since I am nearly 17,000 miles on my LEAF with 5 weeks left in my first year of my 15,000 mile annual lease.  So I should probably add  $300 to the cost of TCO for a lease mileage penalty... BUT I AM NOT!!! (Mostly because I don't want to delete this post...)

Actually, I will likely just break even this year and considered removing items that were not required for the car like the Seahawks tab costs but then again, would that be a true TCO?  I guess it could be a true CO... or FCO (false cost of ownership?)  or maybe I am putting too much into it. I did spend $10.87 on wiper blades that I have yet to install. I could wait till January.  But anyway, on the break even comment; if anyone remembers, I did break my passenger side view mirror mount and it was $239 to replace that piece of plastic so that will probably push my true TCO nearer to Christmas than Thanksgiving but I still have plenty to be thankful for!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Buyers BEWARE!!! This is a MUST READ!!

This concerns a purchase of a used 2011 Nissan LEAF VIN 222 from Tacoma Nissan in July of this year.  The car came with 34,000+ miles and 12 capacity bars on it. This is not unusual for the Pacific Northwest as I turned in my 2011 LEAF VIN 258 with nearly 45,000  miles and all 12 capacity bars intact.  I was at 57.11 ahr so still had a few thousand miles to go on bar 12. ( most report losing first capacity bar in the mid to low 54's)

But the honeymoon did not last as she recently lost bar #10 (3 bars gone) a few days ago. How could this have happened.  She posted on Facebook about her dilemma and a 2011 is a rather rare model and the interest of such a model was great so my first thought; "What is your VIN?"  and as luck would have it; it was a very well known VIN.

It took a bit of searching (and help) but found this posted Jan 15, 2014

I had a SoCal 3 bar loser:

Car 222 omkar Irvine, CA
3 bars lost at 35 months (11/19/2013) / 33,700 miles
2 bars lost at 29 months (5/25/2013) / 29,500 miles
1 bar lost at 20 months (9/5/2012) / 19,000 miles
Previous owner verifying 3rd bar lost 8 months before Tacoma purchase
This is a major problem and no less heinous as rolling back an odometer to increase a car's resale value. But that is really the only clear part here. Who is to blame? The car came from out of state so it was likely a auction purchase. What did Tacoma Nissan know about the car's history? It is conceivable that they were as much in the dark as anyone else. The owner said there does appear to be several entries in CARFAX but was unable to get details of the report without paying for it.

The VIN in question is JN1AZ0CP6BT000222.  Knowing the details of that report might shed some light on how duplicitous  Tacoma Nissan's role is in this scenario.

Either way, this is an issue that needs to be resolved ASAP and I encourage everyone who reads this to pass it around as much as you can. We need to get the word out! This is something that cannot go unnoticed!!

I will be posting MUCH more about this as it comes in!!

**Update; We shall soon have the warranty history and carfax info which hopefully will tell us what was known, when it was known and who knew what was known.

Here is a pix of her car taken Aug 3, 2014 after a few days of ownership. Notice all 12 bars are showing??

Stay tuned!!


Ok, a VERY GOOD LEAF tech advised that the capacity bars being reset is an unavoidable consequence when performing several functions with the pack.  So the ultimate act could be happening without any malice intended


This in no way removes the dealership's responsibility to provide full disclosure to a potential buyer.  LEAF Spy has grown from a "garage" app to THE  de facto standard for monitoring and recording LEAF Pack performance.   Maybe its time to add to the CARFAX report?  I now see reputable Nissan dealers offering to give LEAF Spy readings to potential customers which is awesome but this does not address shady used car dealers and maybe its time that new laws are enacted to require verified battery status reports including dates of any all BMS resets.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Are My LEAFs Ecopias Really That Bad?

Just the other day I was wandering up I-5 just south of Highway 167 when suddenly the car in front of me spun out of control. I then saw a truck tire tread in the roadway and swerved out of its path by violently jerking the wheel in the pouring rain.   I did realize about halfway thru my maneuver that it was simply too severe and let off on the wheel a bit correcting back so I essentially ended up altering my path of travel by only a few feet at the most. To my surprise, I did not break traction even slightly.

Now I do drive a bit slower than most and because of my neutral driving habits, I tend to maintain a larger than normal following distance mixed in with shorter than normal following distances especially if I was caught shifting back to drive a bit late.  But all this happens at pretty low speeds and there have been times where vigorous braking was needed to keep the peace (and pieces) together. In all those situations, my LEAF handled well. I attribute it mostly to a very low center of gravity and the extra traction a heavy battery pack can give.

Now as mentioned several times, my plan had always been to drive the Corolla much more than this past Summer and so far the plan is working somewhat.  Yesterday while running errands for work in Tukwila, I could not help but notice a few times I braked that the Corolla breaks traction MUCH easier than the LEAF.  Ok, so its lighter but I was not going faster... or was I?

The LEAF's super smooth ride and stability in cornering has lulled me a bit I think.  It only took one time for me to realize that the Corolla has to be at least 10-15 MPH slower thru the roundabouts in the neighborhood.  I do admit to not touching the brakes entering the roundabouts in the LEAF. It is part of the fun of EVing; zipping and dashing at 35 MPH or less!  The car is perfect for congested, in-town driving. Its responsive acceleration at low speeds are perfect for squeezing into that momentary opening before it vanishes!

Well, that extra weight has seemingly helped with low speed braking.  Now, the Corolla is a 2000 and does not have anti lock brakes which really makes a lot of difference; much more difference than I had imagined.  All these modern advances has essentially degraded our ability to drive. No wonder we suck on the road!

But what I really would like is feedback from anyone who drives the LEAF and a newer gasser enough to be able to compare them. Now, not looking for Porsche comments. I want someone who has a run of the mill passenger car with ABS at the very least to chime in.  Does the LEAFs added stability and low center of gravity overcome the shortcomings of its tires as compared to a passenger car with better tires?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 2014 Driving Stats

OK, I know I said I was parking the LEAF more and using the Corolla and that is the plan (although, I didn't really start using the Corolla until this week) although it was a bit slow in being implemented. Now we just had a all time record warm October so the "Winter Range hit" was more "dirty look" category than "hit."

The LEAF still managed to go 1622 miles for a cost of $39.82 which includes $8.82 in public charging fees. The bit hit was Blink and its new pay per Kwh pricing. I had to use them to show my support and once it was vital as I was in a major time crunch (perfect time to switch to the Corolla but the weather was gorgeous and... well, you know!) so fast charging was the only option. $435.24 has been reimbursed from work so far with another $80 or so pending.  There was a glitch in last month's paycheck so some of what I got this month by rights should have been received last month but whatever. As long as I get it, that is all that matters.

The Corolla paid off some of its ROI debt driving 411 miles at cost of roughly $33.70. The huge drop in gas prices was a big help lowering per mile fuel costs to 7.7 cents per mile. Work payout so far $102.96 with nearly $100 pending (remember, I just started driving the car this week...)

This month both cars received additional charges. The LEAF has decent wiper blades since I use RainX extensively so the wipers don't do as much duty as you might think living in the rainy Pacific Northwest but Costco had sales on wiper inserts at $4.50 each so to be cheap like I am, I got two of the 22" blades (driver's side....don't care if passenger can see where I am going) that I will need one day. Cost $9.09.

Which brings me to the Corolla. EVing has created some pretty bad habits for me and that is not caring about maintenance. What can I say? its hard to care about next to nothing! Well, the Corolla was neglected. This week when driving it for the first time in 3 weeks, I noticed the temp gauge riding a notch higher than normal. So I checked water; ok. Checked oil and it was 2  quarts low! OH NO! That gasser POS is gonna cost me a fortune! So went back to Costco, got a case of oil for $27.23.

Oh well. FYI; I am about 600 miles away from being due for an oil change! another month of no ROI gains coming up, but then again, since I am now 1,000 miles past my lease mileage with almost 2 months to go this year, i might have to drive the Corolla a bit more this month

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

80% Charging; Why I Don't Miss It And Why You Shouldn't Either

Guess what? Unless you want to do the math EVERY NIGHT and mess with the timer on your LEAF, you can't do 80% charging any more.  So why did Nissan decide to remove "long life charging" mode?  Well, maybe they figured out what I did.

Some background for the two people not familiar with my story. I work for an Marketing/Audit/Inventory company.  We do our work at our client's location and my district's territory covers Western WA from Seatac, WA South to Centrailia and West including the entirety of the Olympic Peninsula and South to Long Beach WA on the coast.  That is a LOT of territory!

We generally only have a choice of company vehicles when the one way commute is greater than 100 miles. After that its our POV so my driving need is beyond the norm.  FYI; my 15,000 mile annual lease limit is now been exceeded by 890 miles and I still have almost 2 months to prepare for my LEAF's Birthday...

So needless to say, even if I had 80% charging, I would never use it. Had it on my 2011 and never used it there either but there are other benefits to fully charging your LEAF such as conditioning your LEAF to better address your driving needs.  Sounds confusing? let me explain.

Based on my lease mileage issues and the start of the rainy season, I have to drive the Corolla more.  It sits outside under a tree and if I don't drive it regularly (unlike the once every 4-6 weeks this past Summer) it will become a haven for mold, mildew and other things I am guessing I won't appreciate. So the LEAF has spent the last 6 days mostly sitting the nice dry garage unplugged.

I actually went 3 days not plugging it in at all with the rest of the time just plugging it in for an hour or so here and there never getting past 11 charge bars. So what happened?

Well, as expected, my battery stats plummeted. I have blogged previously about how battery stats can be manipulated which was really more of a curiosity than anything else but the results did suggest that top end balancing was a good thing that should be done on a regular basis.

ahr went from 66.37 to 63.56
kwh available from 22.0 to 21.4
GIDs from 284 to 276
Hx from 102.58 to 97.58

So what does all this mean? probably not a whole lot.  There is NO evidence whatsoever that top end balancing or lack thereof causes any permanent damage.  So whether you do it every day like I do or once a month, you are probably ok.

But this does bring up some interesting observations.  I have contended from day one that my 2013 LEAF has more range than my 2011 and it was not a popular idea at first. Now that a lot of people have claimed the same thing, its now "somewhat" accepted to be true. And to be fair; its only a few miles more like about 4 or 5 so easy to miss, ESPECIALLY if you have not properly "trained" your battery to do a range test.

Tony Williams does a great job of testing ranges of various EVs by going thru great lengths to insure the testing conditions are as similar as possible but the one thing he has not done is conditioned the LEAF by charging it to full for several days in advance of the test and this is likely why his tests show only 21ish kwh (FYI; My LEAF when new showed 22.7 kwh available... wondering just how big my LEAF's pack is nowadays?) available and that is EXACTLY what mine shows as available when I don't do any top end charging.  In Tony's defense, he is testing cars that are not his so he has no control over the charging habits of the tester car and realistically, its a few miles; not really that important in the overall picture.

But the question remains; Should you charge to 80% (or any level below full) or 100% and what is the best thing to do?

Well, a few things to think about.  Pack balance is important. Only a well balanced pack can give you the chance to get the full range from your LEAF and sometimes every little bit can help. I am pretty certain this fact kept me from walking one day!  Now batteries are pretty flexible so they can take a lot but there is a breaking point and that happens when you charge too much or discharge too deeply. Now, Nissan has taken care of the "charge too much" thing limiting us to no more than a 97% SOC on the top end but the bottom end is a bit of a different story and the reason is an unbalanced pack means its possible a single cell could be overly stressed leading to a premature end.

Now a well designed BMS is supposed to protect against that and I have no doubt Nissan has addressed this issue but the delta in an unbalanced pack is greatest at lower SOC.  Normally my voltage delta is 20 mV or less.  10 or 11 mV is normal but when the SOC gets low...

So the potential for damage is MUCH greater.  So its 328 mV variance or  this.  You decide.

The other thing to think about is... well getting there! We all know the LEAF's range is limited but then again is it? Despite my "slightly" greater than normal need, I have only been forced to gas it 6 times in 10 months.  I have actually driven the gasser more times just to keep it active.  But is it better to run the SOC from 80% to 15% or  100% (or whatever) to 35%?

I think its the latter and not because of the screen shots above.  "Experts" say we drive 38 miles a day but do we really?  We may commute that much but some of us have lives! My "unexpertise" analysis says Life adds another 20 miles to the equation making "want" needs to be more like 60 miles.

So charging to 100% really just allows you more options, less stress, more ready to EV it! So how can that be bad?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Road to Hell Just Got MUCH Shorter

Gas prices are plummeting and many people are now looking at bigger SUVs and sedans at the car lots again.

The US is now the #1 producer of oil in the World passing Saudi Arabia and Russia. They have been #1 in Natural Gas production since 2010 despite reports that a Billion dollars of NG is flared off EVERY DAY on the Bakken Reserve.

But there is a conundrum. If oil prices drop too much, oil recovery could become too expensive and that would slow the roll in North Dakota which recently surpassed a million barrels of oil a day.  To keep that in perspective. In 2008, the most productive fields were producing barely half of that. With new fracking techniques, The Bakken becomes the 4th US field to surpass the million barrel mark.  But rejuvenating old fields and tripling their production rates takes a lot of money AND resources. Money is not a roadblock. The oil companies have plenty of that. The resources, namely water, well that is a different story.

North Dakota has now become the most expensive place to live due to the Oil boom there. Some places boast rent levels more than double the poshest Manhattan address.  The area's ability to support the huge influx of workers has been strained beyond the breaking point.  "Experts" say the boom could last as long as 5 years while others predict 25 years. So much for "expertise."

A couple I used to work with live in Rochester, WA a town of roughly 2,000 people just south of Olympia.  3 years ago, Kevin got fed up with the low pay at his job and signed up with a temp agency that was promising him an annual salary of more than 75,000 a year.  It did require travel and he eventually ended up working for an Drilling company near Dickinson, ND. He got a job as a truck driver hauling water from one drilling site to another which in itself sounded pretty easy except for the fact that the volume of water required was enormous and the area is generally pretty dry.  What water that was there was either already taken or not for sale.

Although he was paid based loosely on an hourly wage (his paycheck was so confusing even he did not know what it was) his potential to earn bonuses easily tripled his take home pay. But bonuses were awarded on how well he was able to meet his schedule of deliveries.  Each week it seemed, he had to drive farther and farther to new sources of water.  During a trip to a farm in Montana he had a rare chance to talk with the property owner (most were VERY hostile to him and kept their distance)  who said that the payment he received for selling water was enough to erase 25 years of debt, pay off his mortgage, buy a new truck and car for the wife and send them to Hawaii for their first vacation in 15 years. But the farmer was now expressing regret. He simply had no idea how much water they would take since he only allowed access to the property with no mention of volumes.

Within a week, they came in, built temporary roads and drilled a dozen wells onto his property. Each filling a large tank servicing 4-10 water trucks daily.  Kevin did not find out exactly what the drilling company paid for the water but estimated there was probably at least 3-4 million dollars worth of equipment there.

Three months later, Kevin came home with cash, a LOT of it.  Towards the end, he was working 80 hours a week because the bonuses just got crazier and crazier. The other reason was he could not find a permanent place to live.  As it was, he was staying at a hotel in Montana over 50 miles from the truck yard renting a room by the hour. Depending on where it was or which room, it was costing him $100 a day.  the company he was working for was offering 12 week contracts but would not allow him to work consecutive contracts. He was required to take a break between them but there were new contracts offered every week. Committing to a contract in advance was a $200 bonus, so he had 3 weeks before he had to be back.

Kevin talked Sherry, his wife into quitting and going with him. They went out and bought an RV and a brand new truck. Then they set out leaving their 3 kids with the grandparents promising they would be back in 3 months for good.

Fast forward to Spring of 2013. I was working when I ran into Sherry shopping. (not their real names although I doubt they care) She said they were still doing the oil thing although they do take 2 months off during the worst of Winter.  Kevin has changed jobs a few times because he was getting ripped off on his paychecks or so he thought.  She had gone there, got a job in a diner eventually moving up to manager, bookkeeper, supply runner.  She did that for a year then had to quit because of issues with her kids. The grandparents were getting older and managing the kids in their small mobile home got to be too much.

They now had a big house they bought that included a guest house where the grandparents live on 2 acres in Rochester.  Kevin was now delivering supplies and pipe and general what not to drilling sites, some as much as 200 miles away.  They still had their RV and was paying $1800 a month for lot rent in a converted farmer's field. There was no power or water hookups. A water truck came twice a week to fill the portable showers (it cost extra for that) and the RV was powered by the onboard generator which meant the "park" was always noisy with the sound of idling engines droning on all night.  

Because the water truck rarely provided enough water for the site's showers, Once a week, they drove up to 100 miles to dump the waste tank and to fill up every container they could get their hands on with water.  Finding a place to dump their "brown" water was a challenge and expensive costing as much as $100. Illegal dumping was commonplace as was illegal camping.  She only went out for a few days to visit every few weeks or so and bring fresh bedding, clothes food and etc.

Last year, Kevin made over $100,000 and they figure to have the house paid off by the end of the year.  Kevin wanted to start applying for jobs in the Olympia area soon. They figured they would have the house paid off sometime early in 2014.

I guess the most shocking part of seeing Sherry is that she looked like she had aged 10 years. I am not sure how old she was but guessing she had to be in her early to mid 20's when we first started working together in 2006.  I jokingly said she should have bought a house in ND but she gave me a look that definitely said that was not an option. She then hinted another reason she was no longer working there was that is was starting to get scary there. She had seen way too many bad things go on in the diner.  Fights over food, showers, etc.  Even while staying there, she might go 2-3 days without seeing Kevin because of his working hours and it was just too much time alone dealing with customers that were getting meaner and meaner.

I got the impression in North Dakota's case, money is not the answer to everything.

I was hoping to get an update from them but I really don't know where they live. What the heck? I saw them every day at work for 6 years... Hope to have an update about their story some day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Do We Want in LEAF II?

A discussion has been fueled by comments from Nissan that the redesigned LEAF coming in a few years will be have a look of less "EVness."  We take that to mean that it will be less distinctive and more mainstream looking. So, what do we want?

** Driver Seating Position; Getting into and out of my LEAF is by far the easiest of any car I have used in years. Maybe I am getting old but I feel like I am climbing out of a hole in my other cars. No so with the LEAF.  Frequently, I am spending up to 90 minutes on a commute home which makes me rather stiff so an easy exit is much desired.

Maybe this is another benefit to a limited range EV. Less driver fatigue. I will admit to stopping in Fife for a quick boost and coffee to clear  the cobwebs from my head when Blink was still free  more than a few times at the end of a long day. Sometimes, just getting out of the car and taking a brisk walk of a few blocks during a cold Winter's day was enough. This resulted in the many times I stopped and charged for 10 minutes or less.

** At least 4 doors.  The hatchback design is awesome but can be inconvenient but not as bad as a trunk can be. Easier loading plus fold down seats makes the storage options in the current LEAF very flexible so definitely would love to have that again but not opposed to a great sedan design either!

** Another price cut. Nissan released the S trim in 2013 and I have to guess they wished they had done it sooner. Cutting a few thousand off the price really brought in a large group of new buyers who shied away from the near mid 30's price sticker.  But then again that is the Human Psyche when it comes to buying. That "starts under $30,000" is what got them in the door to buy. After the commit to buy is done, the salesman should NEVER again mention the purchase price. After that is all about "for an extra $21 a month (without mentioning what the monthly payment is) you can get "this" and "that".  No matter that the average S selling price was actually closer to $32,000, it was still that "less than $30,000" that did it.

Now, cutting the price before now was probably not doable but it has to be now. Higher volumes,  Production experience, and advancing technology should be making the LEAF cheaper to build. The next S needs to come in at $25,000 before incentives which btw, ain't gonna be around forever.

** Connectivity.  AKA; get rid of 2G!  Built in wi-fi that can be billed thru your cellular provider after a interim trial period, internet SW updates, etc.  This would allow a real ability to search for and determine the status of charging stations in the area.  Remember the story about someone who was told to take their LEAF in for a checkup and mentioned oddities about the car and the response was Ya, we know. Carwings alerted us and that is why we told you to come in? or some such.  That was great. Some of these features could become an additional revenue stream for Nissan to help offset the loss of service revenue.

Ok, so a lot of you will say "Bill me for wi-fi? forget it!"  well, its better than paying for XM Radio! Verizon used to offer this service and once upon a time you could even bill your OnStar services thru them.  This is an option that could easily be brought back.  Yes a multi-platform system would be required but keep in mind; the hardware is pretty cheap. The service is where the money's at.

** OPTIONS!! We need choices. Nissan needs to take a page from Tesla and offer a MINIMUM of 3 battery pack sizes.  Keep the 24 kwh pack (that is all most of us need anyway)  but add two more sizes as options available across all trims.

As competition builds, Nissan will see pressure to lower prices. Again, this can be circumvented by offering low and piling on options.  Multiple battery pack sizes is the easiest way. The new breed of EV'ers will be the less adventurous, mostly wanting to save money on the gas bill. They will have multiple cars, be attracted to the new lower sticker prices and "thinking" their existing gasser will still be the main source of transportation with the LEAF being a valuable niche player. We all know better.

Soon, the LEAF will be the main driver and the real thought process begins on getting the "loaded S" with the big battery, fast charger, etc.  This will be Nissan's bread and butter.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Battery Observations!! (No, not that one, the "other" one!)

Once again, another report of a dead 12 volt battery on the LEAF.  Why is this happening?  A computer also needs a battery supply to start up. The battery retains basic knowledge about the computer, its hardware and configuration settings so its BIOS can tell the processor how to talk to its various peripherals.

The LEAF battery fills pretty much the same role including a check of the system before it connects the traction battery. So its essential to the operation of the LEAF. Without it, its like having a gasser with a dead 12 volt battery; its simply no go.

With nearly 60,000 LEAF Miles under my belt, I have yet to experience this issue. This includes a time on my 2011 when a door was not closed correctly. I realized the error a few hours later when I went to start up the LEAF to do an errand and noticed the dome light was dimmer than normal. Luckily the car started ok and the dash alerted me to the door ajar issue. My short trip (added a 15 minute cruise around for good measure) was enough to get the battery back on track.

Now this was also about the time when the first reports of people having a dead battery surfaced. Initially, the user was blamed. Left lights on, left car on (ya, this one never made sense) or left door ajar, etc.

Then there was dead batteries after being plugged in while away on extended trips. We found that the 12 volt battery gets a boost every few days if NOT LEFT PLUGGED IN.  So we then decided if gone more than say 3-4 days, charge the LEAF to 50% SOC more or less and leave it unplugged and we should be good right?

Then Casey, A Seattle LEAFer left his car unplugged at 50% SOC for only 2½ days and his  12 volt battery was dead. What the hey!! He did what he was supposed to do and it did not work.  Obviously there was more to this than we realized. This is when I started monitoring my 12 volt battery on the 2011.  What was readily apparent is the car was simply not maintaining a healthy voltage for the battery.

Unlike other battery's chemistry, Lead acid should remain at the upper end of the SOC range as much as possible. extended periods at lower voltages dramatically shortens its life.  So the voltage target should be around 12.7-12.8 volts more or less.  My LEAF's 12 volt battery frequently read in the 12.1-12.3 range.  The longer it sat, the lower it would go. Yes, after a few days, the traction battery would kick in and give it a boost.  How much of a boost, I do not know. I never had an opportunity to monitor this because not driving the LEAF for that long a period was simply not an option and when it was, I was out of town!

Now, all this would make more sense if the issues were uniform but they were not. Some people were seeing dead batteries after a few days, some after overnight periods sandwiched between daily use and others were just fine after several weeks of inactivity.  So the conclusion might have been that Nissan needed to find a better 12 volt battery supplier.  Plus getting them replaced at the dealership was surprising pain free leading me to believe that Nissan had discovered something with the quality of the batteries or their own programming.

Fast forward to now and the recent reports of another battery failure. So it was get the meter back out and start measuring again.  After nearly 10 months and 15,000 miles, I have not had an issue so was not really expecting to get much insight to checking battery voltages but that never stopped me before, so

Like the 2011, my 2013's 12 volt battery seems to settle into a uncomfortably low resting voltage around 12.45 volts give or take.  A bit higher than the 2011 but far from the 12.7ish I would prefer.  I plugged in the car which had an SOC of about 30%, and charged it 90 minutes then checked voltage and it was 12.99 volts.  I unplugged the car, waited 15 minutes, checked voltage, it was 12.65 volts and plugged car back in. Voltage immediate rose to 13.00.

I unplugged car. Let it sit for an hour and voltage dropped back to 12.46 volts.  I plugged car back in and voltage immediately rose to 14.40 volts. So the battery was getting a boost now. So there is a cut in voltage level that initiates a battery boost.

I repeated the process this morning and saw the same results.  So, I did learn a few things about how the LEAF "manages" its 12 volt system but this did not really explain why others still continue to have issues including Tyrel who also has a 2013 and has been DIG (dead in garage) 3 times!

First thought (the fact that they are so easy to blame was a factor!) was Carwings. Carwings uses stone age tech to communicate with Nissan HQ thru the AT&T 2G network. This is a power drain on the 12 volt battery and whether its a little or a lot, its ongoing and also something I do not have.

The other factor is the very nature of wireless communication itself. The stronger the signal, the less power needed to manage it.  We have all been there when you see the roam or the dreaded slashed phone symbol which means you are experiencing poor cellular signals in the area. It could be a blind spot in the network or simply being in the wrong kind of building.  What happens? a MUCH faster than normal declining battery SOC on your phone.  Well, the LEAF system is not a whole lot different.

In a previous life, I pondered over the quality of phones and their ability to function on the network and there were frequently no reasons why they did not do what they were designed to do. The more complicated the phone, the larger the issue.  Environmental factors combined with end users was the general culprit blamed and frequently for lack of a better reason.  But this does make sense. Your phone is a sensitive electronic instrument not unlike your TV or computer, but unlike your TV which spends its life stationary in a climate controlled room, your phone is abused. Its hot, its cold, it takes soda baths, salsa facials, and copes unwanted falls on a regular basis.

So back to the LEAF's failed battery issues. Well, it would seem based on my observations that the 12 volt management system seems ok. It boosts it when its below a certain voltage when you plug it in. So driving and charging regularly would imply a regular boost to the system.  So maybe we need to look at environmental factors here as well.  Cars do go thru rapid and frequent temperature fluctuations and vibration (ya, some of the roads around here really suck!)  and all of that could be a factor as well.

My LEAF does not work correctly in all things. My climate controls are possessed. They change air direction functions on their own. When I first noticed this, I thought it might be a sticky button or something because I noticed a change in air direction (face to foot/windshield is most common)  when doing various things like shifting (ya, do a LOT of that) or even changing radio stations. This got me to paying attention to what I was doing when this "spooky" stuff was happening right? (Halloween is coming so trying to stay in the season!) This is when I noticed it also happened when I was doing nothing at all but steering.  Well, I have a bug. No question about that and one day, I guess I will have it looked into when its convenient and as long as the bug does not have children who might create other issues.

In conclusion, I have no definitive conclusion. I am thinking that further data collection on my 12 volt battery will yield nothing so probably need input from you. If you have a 2013 with Carwings, try some measurements like I did to see what your charging system is doing.  I will probably try to find where the cut in voltage for a battery boost will be. Its apparently above 12.46 volts and below 12.65 volts so we shall see soon enough.

FYI's; I have never used any special charge settings. No 80%, no timers, etc.  when I had Carwings. Now, I did do charge stop, finish alerts, remote A/C on a few dozen times, etc.  Also monitored charge levels a lot on the 2011. So maybe looking at timer settings might be an option as well?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September 2014 Drive Report

Another month is down and I am just now seeing a slight slowdown at work (Fear not. I am just getting "down" to averaging 40 hours a week!) which is good.  It has been a long Summer and I was thinking that September has flown by but realized its because most of the month had "July-like" weather.

The Corolla drove 213 miles for an estimated cost of $19.20.  The tank consisted of one trip with gasoline at $3.819 a gallon and a longer trip with gas at $3.419 a gallon. The last tank still managed 38.11 MPG (2nd lowest figure) despite having 3 passengers for nearly all the mileage due to work.  Because of the change in gas prices, part of the work reimbursement was 42 cents per mile, the other will be at 39 cents per mile. Final figures not to be known until pay stub comes in but it will be roughly $85.77 which means its still a small contribution to my ROI return since there were no additional maintenance costs.  This still however projects to a 4 year zero balance even with the small insurance ($31 a month) and fuel costs.  But this will soon change and for two reasons.

Its getting colder which means shorter range on LEAF and the LEAF is now over 14,000 miles so I need to reduce the amount of driving in it to prevent very large mileage penalties.  I had originally planned to limit LEAF to only 80 mile commutes in Winter but now thinking that 70 or 75 miles would be better.  We shall see how it goes.

The LEAF went 2032 miles in September (all time high and only 3rd time over 2,000 miles in nearly 4 years) for an estimated cost of $36.09 which does include 55 kwh at tier two pricing.  Mileage reimbursement was $546.39.   ROI looks good but my 15,000 mile annual lease mileage does not. My anniversary date is Dec 23rd and estimated date I will hit 15,000 miles is next week...

I guess its a good thing that gas is cheap right now

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Turtle Mode!!

Since getting my first LEAF on Jan 18, 2011 I had only seen turtle mode one time and that was on purpose. I actually was doing my 100 mile trip on a cold February day when it happened but had to circle my neighborhood for the last 3 or 4 miles to make it happen.

This was ok. But Tuesday I had 6 job assignments that had me running all over Puget Sound that ran from Puyallup to Kent to Shelton. Needless to say, charging as much as I could was a priority . Now, most of the jobs were short and actually was able to make it home 3 times to charge for short stints before I had to hit the road to head to my next assignment.

This is actually a rare treat for me because most of jobs lie North of my Lacey, WA home.  But it was about 9:30 PM when going from job #5 to job #6 that I realized that I had made a critical mistake.  I had been MUCH more interested in listening to a baseball game on the radio than I was in monitoring my speed and found myself driving way too fast (smooth ride of the LEAF be damned!!) for the distance I needed to cover and immediately started plotting a route to Olympia Nissan for a quick boost.

As I came off the Highway 8 interchange to Hwy 101, I saw I had 14 GIDs but almost 5 miles to go. A quick calculation told me I would be at least 1.5 miles short. This was not looking good. I immediately cut my speed to 50 mph. There was very little traffic and the speed limit would soon drop to 45 MPH for the 101 to I-5 Interchange.   I babied it as much as I could shifting to neutral for the descent to Mud Bay. I gained speed getting up near 58 MPH but every benefit has a price.

The ascent was looming in front of me and I started up still at 14 GIDs but started losing a GID every 4 to 5 seconds.  I was SCREWED!!

Now there have been many reports that the new turtle has a lot more range than the 2011's but THAT much more?  My only turtle event, I ended up with 3 power circles left losing each circle in .1-.3 miles. So Turtle really means stop NOW and plug in. There simply is not enough left to go anywhere!

As I eased up the hill, I approached the Black Lake Blvd exit and my GIDs were now at 6, my lowest ever in LEAF II!  Then the dreaded event; Turtle made its debut upon my dash! I was still nearly 2 miles away!

I slowed to 40 MPH (speed limit here is 45 MPH) It was still a mile to the Auto Mall exit. There is a slight downslope and I shifted to neutral hoping to maintain momentum but started losing speed immediately. I did not have enough speed to begin with so reluctantly, I shifted back to drive and eased onto the pedal. I looked down and was shocked to see that I had gone from 8 power circles to 2 in about 15 seconds!

I now started running scenarios thru my head of what I was going to tell my DM when I called to tell her I would be several hours late to the jobsite.  I also began to work out how I would be able to make my 6 AM Pharmacy audit in Kent the next day which was now less than 8 hours away! I can't really call in sick. I am the boss, I have all the downloads, equipment, etc. It would VERY inconvenient to get a replacement at this late hour!  I thought about calling roadside now to get a tow truck on the way early to reduce the amount of time, I would have to wait on the side of the freeway... Oh man I was SCREWED!!!

Not wanting to feel any worse, I reluctantly glanced at the dash to see only one power circle lit and still two tenths of a mile from the Auto Mall exit, I shifted to neutral and at least I was maintaining my 40 MPH speed. As I exited the freeway, I shifted back to drive and regen gained me TWO CIRCLES!!! I was stoked but still had a mile to go.  As I approached the light to turn onto the road to the Auto Mall, I debated just running the light, maintaining a bit of momentum thus saving power but decided against it. As always, there was no traffic to speak of and it took FOREVER for the light to change. I wanted to turn off my headlights while waiting but didn't. I did turn off the radio thinking it would help (it doesn't)

Finally the light changed, I eased onto the road and immediately shifted to neutral to take advantage of the downslope of the overpass but as luck would have it, the light at the bottom of the slope changed and I had to stop for a single car (probably the only one at the intersection in the past 10 minutes!) to go thru.

As the light turned green, I took off and saw I still had 3 power circles lit. Could I actually make it??But something must have been monitoring my thoughts because one circle disappeared immediately.  With my two power circles left, I tootled down the road that last .6 of a mile to the dealership. I was only 2 blocks away!! I was going to make it!!.

I was in front of the dealership and turned to pull in having had only one power circle left for the last 4-5 blocks. The turn in to the dealership is a short but rather steep slope and I as was about halfway up, my car slowed dramatically! OH CRAP! Don't tell me I was gonna die 50 feet away from the charger with no chance of pushing the car myself.  I literally slowed to about 4 MPH but made it to the charger!!

FYI: I was never worried for a second!~

Friday, October 3, 2014

Battery Stats Part Two

September 2014 saw a record 2032 miles on my LEAF so to put it mildly, it was a busy month at work!  Lot of info written by others when taking road trips in their LEAFs and what they saw on their LEAF Spy.  Here is more evidence that your numbers should be looked at as estimates and anything but long term observation should be taken with a small grain of Salt.

Every day, I reset my "miles/kwh" and Trip A on my LEAF.  Here is a record of the week just finished. If kwh available and GID is blank, that only means I did not complete a charge. Reasons why I would not is slow driving days or in one case, simply not enough time to complete a charge before my next work assignment

headers in order from left to right

miles driven
kwh available from LEAF Spy
ahr from LEAF Spy
Hx from LEAF Spy

36.9   5.9   276   21.4   63.52   97.92
99.9   4.3   281   21.8   64.71   99.09
52.3   4.5   283   21.9   65.34   99.93
140.1                            66.39   101.86
69.3   5.0   284   22.0   66.19   101.49
47.3   4.4   284   22.0   65.90   100.93
101.1  4.7   284   22.0  65.96  101.04
58.0   4.7   284   22.0   65.72   100.61
150.2  4.4                     65.90   100.94
   ***24 hour lay over***
20.0   5.4   280    21.7  64.38   98.66

Notice the big drop when I gave the LEAF the day off along with a slow driving day the next day?


Bad; Recently Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks commenting on his "too good to be believable" image he has gained.  He admits to being a bully when growing up and beating up other kids in school.

Good; If I was judged by what I did as a kid, I would not be looked at as a very good person either. Now, I am hardly Father of the year or anything like that but I have made a lot of progress as a person as most of us do so don't judge Wilson on his exploits as a kid but how he was able to learn, change and adjust to be the person he is today.

Bad; Steve Marsh, the undisputed LEAF mileage king lost his 4th capacity bar this week. He is now querying dealers in the area for a battery replacement.

Good; Steve lost his bar at 129,400 miles.  If the cost is $5499 but install (remember there is no sales tax for EV's or their related parts in WA)  that works out to about 4.4 cents per mile.  Add to that the low (or non existent for some) maintenance costs and the LEAF is still cheaper to drive than a Prius!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nissan Doing the "Shimmy Shimmy Shake!"

With the recent rumor that Nissan was talking to LG Chem about a battery deal combined with a several members of the top executive team leaving the company, it has left many people concerned over the future of the Nissan EV lineup.  The massive battery plant in Smyrna, TN has been open less than a year and already its future seems in doubt??

Add to that another disappointment when Nissan dropped several hints that a longer range LEAF would not be coming until 2017 after so many had figured 2015/2016 and we all have to wonder has Nissan come to a realization that they have bitten off more than they can chew?

As a member of the LEAF Advisory Board, I was able to meet Billy Hayes and Andy Palmer and witness first hand their faith, enthusiasm and commitment to making the LEAF the car that people wanted to buy.  It was this experience that further bolstered my conviction that I had made the right decision in 2010 and 2013 to go LEAF.

But as mentioned before, the LEAF was not a "purchase-ready" car for me just yet. My driving needs being beyond the norm made a long term commitment to a specific LEAF a bad idea. So, for the 2nd time in my life, I leased my 2nd LEAF.  But Nissan seemed to be listening. They changed their warranty to add a battery capacity clause. They then addressed issues many with longer commutes had when they started offering enhanced new pack replacements at the great price of $5499 after exchange admitting this price was being offered at a loss.

All of this while looking like proactive moves on Nissan's part to help the early LEAF adopters could also be looked at as losing faith with its battery partner NEC.   Since Nissan's partner Renault has gone with LG Chem batteries, CEO Carlos Ghosn, should have some inside knowledge concerning the technology behind the two battery options. So does this mean that Nissan is dropping NEC in favor of a better battery?

Since Nissan had denied all of this, we can only speculate and I choose to speculate on the brighter possibilities (as if that was a surprise)

Besides, it would be more than a bit difficult for me to think that Nissan is just going to let both battery plants in England and the US be left idle.  I personally think that Nissan is simply making moves based on long term success and realizing that multiple battery suppliers especially ones based in different countries is simply insurance against any possible hiccup in the supply chain.  This allows them two battery suppliers and does this create confusion or better yet, a clearer path towards adding more EVs to its lineup?

Up till now, we had all assumed that the coming infiniti would have Nissan/NEC batteries in them and the optimal capacities of Nissan's 3 plants in Japan, England and the US would imply that there is capacity to let that happen. But as I predicted, LEAF sales are starting to take off and I predict monthly sales approaching 4,000 units by the end of the year.  A longer range LEAF along with the resulting downward pricing pressure on the current range LEAFs will be the factor that will finally move EVs into the mainstream.  That is just around the corner, so lining up vendors now is simply business as usual.

But all of this does not explain the big shakeup at the top. But Palmer leaving Nissan to be a CEO can easily be seen as a promotion. After all, why work under someone when you could be at the top? Aston-Martin is a much smaller company but it is also located in his hometown. Had to be a big consideration for him.

Either way, many in the online community are viewing these latest actions as a precursor to bad news. I think its Nissan reacting to escalating sales of the LEAF.  Post your thoughts below!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall Is Coming, Time To Adjust Your Tires!

Being a Military Brat meant living in a lot of different areas of the country which meant experiencing just about every kind of weather, so I can say with certainty that Late Summer/Early Fall is the best time to be a resident of the Great Pacific Northwest. Unlike Spring when the area passes thru the same general temperature swing, this time of year is fairly dry which means less cloud cover so warmer days and colder nights.  Cloud cover acts as a blanket to keep the nights mild and the days cool but we have had a wondrous string of near perfect sunny days.  Typical highs in the upper 70's occasionally touching 80 but no warmer.  The nights are getting colder though with a prelude to the coming change in the seasons. 

This means we need to adjust our EVs!  We all know that proper tire pressures helps us get more range. How much more? Good question but I am betting you are not willing to find during your 80 mile family outing next weekend!  Your tires maximum pressure, generally 44 PSI does allow for pressures to go higher but even going a little lower can have ramifications on range and longevity.  The general rule of thumb is that every 10º change in temperature results in a 1 PSI change in pressure.  Your tires should be set at "cold tire pressure." So "what temperature is that?" you ask. Well, it depends. Its actually means the coldest your tire is likely to see.  So its the first thing in the morning reading. Now, here that has been in the mid 40's lately. For Phoenix, probably closer to the mid 70's. So you get the picture.  

 Now some background. My tires are running 1 to 1¼ lbs higher in the front generally speaking.  Now on the front one tire is good, one should be reduced about ¼ and on the back, one should have 1½ PSI added while the other gets about 1 PSI.  But yesterday, I got up and it was about 45º and saw this. 

Sure sign Fall is almost here!  Below is the picture taken while driving between morning job and afternoon job. It was 75º.  Definitely a difference!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Manipulating Battery Stats

I have mentioned this several times so we are pretty familiar with my ahr rising when I cycle deeply or use a Quick Charger and we really don't know why, or at least I am clueless.  I don't have the lizard battery but I am confident I do have a battery that is better than what I had in LEAF I so I decided to see if I could manipulate my battery's numbers and then restore them to their former glory.

Part One;

Way back in the beginning, I noticed a big jump in ahr and SOH when I quick charged but it never lasted more than a few days.  This was winter so I thought, its the warmth that did it. But then Summer arrived and my pack was in the 80's all the time. Then I noticed that driving 80+ miles and recharging to full more than 3-4 days straight also increased my numbers although not quite as astronomically as the quick chargers did. And as expected when the weekend came or a few local jobs in a row happened, my battery stats dropped just like my driving need.

So to test this, first I decided to not fully charge a while by only using LEAF for shorter commute days and timed this in a week where I had 4 local jobs.  Plus it was a good time to exercise the Corolla anyway, right!

As expected, my battery stats dropped from the mid 65's to the low 63's.  For kicks, I fully charged the pack and checked my stats; 63.84 ahr, then let it sit roughly 29 hours before driving and checking stats again and it had dropped to 63.20 without moving an inch!

The 2nd part of the experiment was to just do as much fast charging to see if that would raise the numbers like it did last Winter but this proved to be a tough one and mostly due to lack of charging locations. Here in the South Sound, fast charging locations are still sparse and I was not willing to pay astronomical rates to use AV although, I was kicking around the idea of paying $20 for a monthly subscription to try it but it did not take long to realize even AV's locations were just not convenient in my day to day driving needs most of the time. I need something going North!!

Going North, the nearest DCFC is the Blink at Fife. Now that Blink as gone to a $.49/kwh rate, this is doable. Not cheap but doable and I feel obligated to use them to show support for the new pricing model although I would prefer a time based rate to maximize the time the DCFC is available for others to use. You see, the longer you stay plugged in at a DCFC, the slower it charges as the battery pack fills up. Eventually the per kwh cost will be pretty high if there is a reasonable per minute rate of say? 20 cents or so?  But anyway...

Charging using nothing but fast charging for 4 days really did not do much. My ahr did improve to the low 64's but that was as good as it got.  I was now beginning to think I had real and permanent degradation.  The accepted high water mark for ahr is 67.36, a figure i obtained several times. If my new level is 64 ahr, then degradation would be 5% at this point and not too far off what is expected in this area.  The one thing to mention during the fast charge period was the light driving need.  42, 28, 51 and 39 miles.  Each fast charge was roughly 15-23 minutes and only once did I receive over 10 kwh.

Part 3 of the experiment involves driving the 85+ miles per day.  The best I could muster was at least 76 miles a day for 3 days in a row which brought me up to 64.68 or 4% degradation in just under 13,000 miles. In some ways I wanted to go another 1-2 days but the work schedule did not work out and my mileage lease limitations has made me hesitant to drive around for the purposes of this experiment.  The other reason is these measurements are very much an approximation so only trends collected over time should be taken seriously. Since my data is collected daily, I will as always report my findings. I have little doubt that my work schedule will provide me ample opportunities to continuously test this phenomena.


Guess I needed the combination of unseasonably warm weather and longer commutes!

After seeing all time low of 62.83/96.54/20.8  on my ahr/Hx/kwh available, the weather got hot! including a day in the 90's along with drives of 94.9/87.4/96.7 and 111.3 miles I got up this morning and saw this

So the moral of the story?  YMMV!!

Don't forget to attend your local Drive Electric Event this week!  I will be in Stelicoom, WA this Saturday the 20th. Come on down!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

August 2014 Drive Report

August was a banner month for the Corolla driving 400.9 miles at an estimated cost @ 9 cents a mile (probably higher but won't know for sure until I fill up) for a total of $36.09 in gasoline.  Work reimbursement was $158.11 at 41 cents per mile which was tax free so it all comes back to me minus the gas bill of course.

The LEAF drove a bit less due to an experiment I am currently running which I will tell you about soon but basically I was trying to see what effect the battery numbers would have if I let the LEAF sit around more than it normally did.  Results to follow. But the LEAF did manage to go 1536.6 miles in August costing a total of  $28.53.  That was from $26.69 in electricity and $1.84 in public charging fees.  That puts me below 2 cents per mile which was no doubt due to 2 Hospital runs for work and taking advantage of the freebie juice available at a few of those locations.  :)

The drawback to using more gas is the slower payback from work so my reimbursement from work this month did not meet my expenses setting my ROI back  $17,  Monthly expenses (lease payment, insurance, electricity and public charging fees) were $342.28 but work reimbursement was a "paltry"  $315.10.   But I am ok with it.  I will just have to figure out how to make it up somehow.

Last paystub. I get paid every two weeks but Auto reimbursement is listed only once (notice phone reimbursement is "phone reimburse 2?"  that means its for week 2 of the 2 week pay period.  

So, despite the set back, I am still on pace for "free miles" about the first week of November.  Free miles is the point where work reimbursement will cover all my expenses for driving the LEAF in  2014 for both work and play.  Now that is a true ROI.

Once again; I LOVE MY LEAF!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why Nissan's Battery Purchase is a Win Win

Recently Nissan announced that 24 kwh battery packs will be available for purchase to any existing LEAF owner for $5499 after exchange.  This was welcomed by the EV community both for its very reasonable pricing and the fact that all replacement packs would be with the latest chemistry and technology available; IOW, the "Lizard" pack.

The Lizard pack is the new tweak from Nissan to combat excessive degradation due to heat.  Too many people in Arizona were seeing 2-3 lost bars in the same time frames we Northwesterners were seeing a 5% loss (the first capacity bar represents about 15%) making a long term commitment to EVs a tough thing to rationalize.

Nissan then later mentioned that the pack price was less than it cost them to replace the packs.  One might wonder why Nissan would want to lose money on this option but this was a very smart move in that it was a way of saying thank you to the early EVers who accepted that leap of faith aka as the LEAF. Plus, now a long term financial plan was possible now that one knew how much money to set aside for a replacement pack.

What we saw was people who absolutely needed the price of the pack right away, then finding out what that price was and realizing they would not need a pack replaced for at least 2 years!  Funny how much that tiny piece of the puzzle created so much calm within EV Land!  Never mind the fact that the price is likely to be different when the time comes to purchase, it was information that completed the puzzle and provided a great sense of relief for people who needs to have all the i's dotted and the t's crossed.

But that is only the beginning of the benefits.  In my EVangelical pursuits, the biggest obstacle I am seeing is still price. Range is obviously a concern but nearly everyone I talk to who is interested has a "short commuter" in the house but the price is still the big stopper.  To them I say "Well, lease then!"

And you guessed it; the next biggest stopper is the idea of leasing. It was an alien concept to me 3 years ago but now, I have to say its the way to go until the range of the LEAF goes up.  Right now there is about a 10 cent per mile difference in transportation costs between our two daily drivers the LEAF and the Yaris.  My 15,000 mile per year lease costs me $245.75 a month but I am saving roughly $125 a month in fuel (15,000 miles divided by 12 months times 10 cents)  so that brings my cost down to $120.75 a month. I am just over 11,000 miles and my total cost including the random public charging fee is running me 2.1 cents per mile. Yes, that does include some free charging sessions but why should it not? I don't go out of my way to charge for free, never do it if I don't need it, and its THERE! If there was a promotion for free gas and you could go there without 10,000 of your neighbors in the way, would you do it? Well of course you would!

Now, my lease deal is probably better than most could get because of returning loyalty cash and whatnot but its not inconceivable that one could be driving a brand new car for under $200 a month AFTER fuel costs are considered. In a gas car, you are looking at an additional $100 a month just for fuel!

But the ignorance continues. But now that batteries are available, I think the used LEAF market is set to explode. Right now they are going for a pretty cheap price in the $13,000-$14,000 range.   This allows one to get into a LEAF relatively cheap and drive it.  As we all know, this is when EV Fever hits.  We soon realize that the convenience of not going to the gas station is just the beginning.  Driving an EV is cool, smooth, quiet and just downright addicting!  Soon the car purchased for errands and short jaunts becomes the car we want to take EVERYWHERE!  This is likely to lead to a sale of a new EV or another common option; the 2 EV household!

Knowing that batteries can be purchased to replace aging packs will open up EVs to a whole new segment of the population. People attracted to the low selling prices of used LEAFs but concerned about degraded batteries now have options!  So can we call the LEAF a "gateway drug to EVness?"  I think the battery purchase program is just the "pusher" we need!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July 2014 Drive and Degradation Report

Ok, I thru in the "D" word to attract higher readership!  But then again, I am now only seeing a maximum 22 kwh available on a full charge even with the full 284 GIDs and 67.36 ahr so if every other number is max'd out why am I seeing less available capacity?

Well back in the "old" days I was seeing 22.7 kwh available. Then it settled on 22.5  then 22.2 and now its been at 22.0 since the first week of July.  The decline does roughly correlate with the rise of the temperature as Summer approached which when considering the appearance of adjustments made on the 2011's by the BMS, I have to think that is a possibility here as well.  And warm it has been. the big drop did happen the same week we hit the 90's for the first time this year as well.  One thing that did happen on Tuesday. This happened after a 26 min QC (needed all of it!) which also saw just over 3 hours on two different L2's that day along with 90º.  

8 Temperature Bars!! First time I have seen this in 3½ years of LEAFing.  In fact, the only time I ever saw 7 bars was after my 3rd QC of the day in my 2011 on a near 100º day. I now strongly suspect the TB scale has changed or the 2013 packs heat up faster

Now up until this past week (which included only one  QC but commutes of 174.3,  121.0 and 124.5 miles) I thought it was degradation until I saw this.

Like say what?? How am I back to the maximum 67.36 ahr and the maximum 284 GIDs but not the maximum available kwh ?  Something is up here! So the "final" word on degradation is... Stay tuned!

Anyway for the month of July, the Corolla drove 113.1 miles for an estimated cost of  $10.18.  This is an estimate since the last time gas was purchased was June 28th and the Corolla still registers more than 3/4th of that fill up.  Haven't gotten my pay stubs yet but the current rate is 40 cents a mile so if its the same I will get roughly $43 or so since all of the mileage I drove for the month is reimbursed I dont think. Remove the $31.25 for insurance and the car did pay off some of its ROI last month.  This does mean the Corolla wins the cheapest transportation of the month award!


The LEAF drove 1969.4 miles (nearly half of that in the last 9  days of the month!) for an estimated total cost of $40.95 or 2 cents a mile. This includes $6.75 in public charging fees.  Work reimbursement to be determined but definitely getting caught up.  Not sure if I mentioned this or not but its looking like I will  break even on ROI (IOW, no cost to drive the LEAF after work reimbursement) about the Middle of November!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Big Is My Battery?

I am a day away from 10,000 miles on my LEAF and so far, it has exceeded my expectations by a good sum. The extra 7-10ish miles of range I have has really made a difference in the car's usability. But like all good things, it will not last. Degradation will happen and I might be seeing the first signs of it now.  The past 2 days in a row, I have had the full 284 GIDs but only seeing 22.0 Kwh available. This is a drop from the 22.7 kwh I was seeing before.  Now as a refresher, my highs from LEAF Spy.  Other monitoring devices might be slightly different

GIDs;  284   (up from 281 on the 2011/12's)_

Kwh available; 22.7  This number widely reported from other users as well

Ahr;   67.36  Again, widely reported by others.

SOH; 106.65%  This number has the greatest variance from other LEAFers. I have seen reports as high as the 109's.  I did see a reading of 107.10% on my LEAF once but I only record readings first thing in the morning so I will stick with that.

Ok, so a GID was thought to be 80 watt hours more or less. The values do seem to change at different SOC's although I suspect its partly accuracy issues with Nissan instrumentation along with the irregularities associated with measuring electrical charges in general.  So 300 GIDs would make a 24,000 watt hour battery right?  So the LEAF leaves roughly 16 GID or about 1280 watt hours unaccessible at the top end which means that all of the battery at the bottom end is accessible??

Well, of course that cannot be true, right?  After all, its generally accepted that the deeper the discharge, the worst it is for the battery.  So we have Turtle mode that warns us when we are getting to the danger point.

Ok, so yesterday, I drove 89.3 miles and due to the late hour returning home, I was driving much faster than I normally would be but monitoring my progress with LEAF Spy to insure I did not speed my way into a tow.  The last 20ish miles (traffic does not permit me to drive faster sooner even at 8 PM!)  was done at 70+ MPH and I realized something.

Despite having exceeded 95+ miles over a dozen times, I have never really come close to turtle. The other day, I drove 99.3 miles and still had 12 miles left on GOM (traffic was HORRIFIC) In fact, I just realized that besides not getting close to turtle, I have just barely hit VLB territory.

I had been under the impression that my "22.7 Kwh available" was not all available and that some of that at the lower end would be in turtle mode. Well, yesterday, I went all the way to .7 kwh and no turtle.  I then went to grab food and come home, down to .4 kwh and still no turtle.

I mean, what is the deal here? Nissan are you seriously allowing us to go to ZERO percent SOC? or is the instrumentation that far off, or...

Did you give me a bit extra and decided to not mention it?

I guess, the one thing that is possible is that my "22.0" available was actually still 22.7 and the BMS is making adjustments due to heat. It has been a lot hotter here (just now cooling off the past two days but at night only) and yesterday was a full Sun day so the car was VERY warm...

Either way, I hesitate to make any claims on capacity, degradation or longevity. With the readings I am getting, I simply can only say;

I will keep you posted!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Flat Tires, Cell Service, and Public Charging

An interesting discussion on MNL about the need for spare tires got me thinking.  One mentioned that he frequently took trips where there was no cellular service so roadside assistance would be of no use if he got a flat.  In the past 10 years, I have driven either Priuses, ZENN, or LEAFs; some of which came with a spare but the Prius and LEAF had TPMS.

Now during this time I was NOT lucky with tires. My 2006 Prius picked up a nail on 4 separate occasions, including two less than 10 days apart.  In all cases, I simply over inflated the tires until I got around to taking them to the tire store for repairs. On one occasion this went on for 3 weeks. So,  a spare tire or not? That was the question.  Twice I heard air leaking from the Prius and to slow the leak, I simply had to park on it.  But two other times, I was alerted by the TPMS.  Usually by the time the alert lights up the dash, I was in dire straits.  One time was coming home from dinner from the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, WA where cell service used to be weak. My tire pressures on my Prius were set to 42 PSI front, 40 PSI rear but the right rear tire was at 25 PSI.  I carried around a portable jump box that was used for various things and it had a 12 volt compressor on it so airing the tire up to 50 PSI only took a few minutes.

Either way, I is strange to me that in this day and age, we are still hampered by ineffective communication. Historically, the government has stepped in to build nationwide infrastructure simply because private business either would not or could not.  The highway system and the national electrical grid are two prime examples. The other issue is that my LEAF had two issues with tires and in both cases, a spare would have done no good. Luckily, I was in an area that had cell service.

I think its time we started a push for two more networks;  Reliable Cellular service (no coverage holes, including degraded service greater than one mile) and a public charging network.  Now it took cars being on the road for over 40 years before we started the national highway system but we really can't and should not wait that long.

Cellular Service; This proves to be the biggest challenge. Simply too many non compatible protocols.  I have Verizon which is supposed to be the best or at least they seem to be at or near the top in most customer surveys but there are several areas in the Puget Sound Region where service is weak or non existent while still in the middle of town. Kent, WA is a  prime example. It is in a hole which explains the poor signal.  In my job, I rely on GPS daily. But cellular based GPS gets its route data from the cellular network. Now, it still only needs a clear view of the sky to navigate like any other GPS system so traveling through a dead zone is ok, its getting the route information is where the signal is needed. But in Kent, WA there are several areas where only text messaging works. Now, this is not a deserted country road or remote mountain highway we are talking about here, so why is this happening?

Regulations, territorial pissing matches, NIMBYisms,  etc. all play a part. Its time we wave some sort of wand and remove those barriers. Communication on the run has simply become too important including a threat to personal safety in some cases.

Public Charging;  Last month we added over 200,000 jobs.  The country is expanding and we need to keep that momentum going but it would only take one negative incident concerning the world oil supply to derail most of the progress we have made. Yes, we are making a lot of our own oil but to say that we can weather a major oil supply disruption overseas is still a bit optimistic.  One could argue that there is not enough EVs out there to justify the expense and they would be right but such a project would take several years and longer if we combine the public charging project with an upgrade and expansion of the national grid.  So the project should begin in the areas where EV adoption is well on its way to becoming mainstream.

Like all expansions, the fringe sees it last and least. So a reversal will hit them the hardest. This can be changed by a combination of limited range EVs and well placed charging stations. Grays Harbor County,  WA is a prime example. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, least attractive job prospects and its largest city, Aberdeen, serves primarily as a junction  to other destinations.  Gas cars don't stop here. But EVs would have to and would WANT to if there was charging there.  One thing that applies to EVers and public charging. It does not matter where the chargers are. If one is there, the EVer will create a reason to go there! Most EVers would then spend money at the host location.  This builds income and eventually interest in the area. Aberdeen does have reasons to visit. After all there are at least a handful of people who live there because they want to.

The National Grid; There have been a few articles suggesting the next likely terrorist attack would be weak points in the electrical grid or a major pipeline.  Decentralizing the grid and creating more balanced distribution network  with super efficient transmission systems that can incorporate solar and wind more easily should be a top goal for both the security and economy of this country.

Now for those of you that know me and would make accusations that this was just a thinly disquised whine about the poor public charging system we have in place now,  you would be completely positively absolutely WWRRRIGGHT!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June Drive Report and Unofficial Range Results In My 2013 LEAF

With no vacations in June, the mileage went up. (Well we did do an overnighter but that was it. Just a single day away from the LEAF since we did not drive) The Corolla was used for 4 trips, 3 of which were simply to drive it.  The trips were well within the LEAF's range but the car had just simply been sitting too much so I took it out.  Naturally a schedule change happened which required the Corolla (185 miles) so at least one trip was taken on gas needlessly. Its been two weeks now...time to stop beating myself up over that.

Moving on, The Corolla drove 489.5 miles at a cost of$46.97 or 9.6 cents per mile. There seems to be a lot of confusion over the actual financial benefits of EV over gas so this month we are adding some "reference" statistics.  I fueled up June 11 th (first time in a month and a day) @41.98 MPG and again on June 28th @ 38.87 MPG. The latter tank is showing the results of A/C which was used several times including nearly all of the 185 mile trip which was a 7 hospital run so a lot of stopping and starting. Twice we had the luxury of indoor parking but the rest was out in full sun and it was a VERY warm day.  Because the Corolla is never used in a day to day manner, I estimate I am getting 5-8 MPG more than if I took the Corolla out for 3 mile errands that the LEAF does.  Based on the EPA rating of 27/30/34, I am reducing my gas cost by at least 25% and usually more.  Using that as a reference, if the Corolla was my only car, it would be more in the range of 12-13 cents per mile. My gas cost using 12 cents per mile for all driving totaling over 2000 miles would have been about $246.  Reimbursement for work will be added next week when my pay stub arrives. It should be over $100 for the Corolla.

The LEAF drove 1567.4 miles costing me $30.33 or 1.94 cents per mile.  Another fact that seems to be "disputable" is my true cost for electricity. In June, I paid 7.8 cents per Kwh and that figure seems to be GREATLY disputed by people who want to do nothing but quote rates. Well, that is fine but that is NOT my cost.  This in no way proves the bill is actually mine but I hesitate to post my street address. Not sure why so feedback on pros and cons would be nice

Either way, I figured my electric costs on the bill being $49.05 with kwh usage of 531 and connect charge of $7.87 making my per kwh charge bill minus connect charge divided by kwh used or 7.8 cents per kwh.

I know this may come as a shock to some (Charlie) but to the LEAFer's in the Pacific NW who actually do the calculations, it is pretty common knowledge...

So "my" EV benefit is what I could have paid in gas minus what I actually paid in gas/electricity or $246 - 46.97 - 30.33 = $168.70.

This would not include the reimbursement from work of course since most of you do not have that option.  As mentioned above, will have to wait on that but LEAF should getting $300+ which will take care of my lease and insurance payments quite nicely putting my overall transportation cost at a still astronomical "my time" (What can I say? traffic is a Beeyatch!)

Last week, in a jealous fit, I vowed to not use the Corolla (still seething over driving it for nothing...) so managing 3 90+ mile commutes would be a challenge.  The worst day was Tuesday where it was a  96 mile commute that ran from Lacey to Tacoma to Kent to Tacoma to Lacey. The Tacoma to Tacoma part included 2 co-workers. Lucky for me that neither was overweight!

Knowing the challenge and possible problems ahead, I started out at a steady 58-60 mph to the office in Tacoma, picking up passengers and did the same until hitting traffic at the Tacoma Dome a few miles down the road. Speeds dropped to 20-40ish for 4-5 miles then picked up until the Highway 18 interchange where there was another brief slowdown (by now we were in HOV lane) to 50 mph that again lasted only a few miles. We got to the jobsite in Kent, did the deed and piled back in to return. It was hot so A/C was on and set to 75º.  Keeping in mind; the morning trip started at 4:30 AM, the afternoon trip experienced MUCH more traffic. This time, it was slow (we were stuck behind a school bus... like its nearly July, when do they park for the Summer??)  in the HOV lanes at 20-40 mph for roughly 8-10 miles coming back to the office. The slowdown at the Tacoma Dome, 705 Freeway/ Highway 18 freeway was minimal at 50ish MPH. My passengers were dropped off, I did about 20 minutes of paperwork and home for the day and it wasn't even Noon yet!

Was hoping to have some miles to show you but just missed it by about a half mile. Pulled in with 23 GIDs left. Not even close!

Now there has been a general consensus that the 2013 LEAF did not have a range increase but testing on the Japan cycle showed a 14% improvement.  While my unofficial observations have not been as optimistic, others have done various "constant" speed tests and showed no or minimal improvement.  In my 2011, I had attempted the Kent drive before (Its a pharmacy and we do jobs there once a month on the first of every month) and failed. Twice I even tried Highway 99, a road that parallels I-5 and is a hypermilers dream if you can manage the lights which are far enough apart and viewable from a good distance so can be easy to time, or not...

But there was a distinctive line drawn on where I could and could not go in my 2011 LEAF. Auburn yes, Federal Way, yes. Southcenter, no, Covington, no,  Kent yes and no (depending on which end of town!)

All the above are now reachable in my LEAF. So you can do set course testing and use those results for baseline testing if you like but my life is simply not that predictable.

One final note; the Corolla day of 185 miles ended with a 95 minute commute from St. Francis in Federal Way to my home. Unfortunately a car fire (yea, pretty common around here!) caused a HUGE traffic jam right at rush hour.  Normally its about 45 minutes home.  OBTW, it was a gasser on fire, not a Tesla.

Finally; a Kansas LEAFer sent me a link of a tent camper that was pulled by a motorcycle he saw on a trip out West!  Gotta be "LEAFable!"