Monday, October 2, 2017

September 2017 Drive Report; The Rain Has Returned!

The weather has turned, rain has returned and WA really needed it. On Labor Day Weekend, Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency for EVERY county in the state due to very high fire danger and deservedly so. Our Summer may not have hit a lot of record highs (several times smoke from fires blocked the Sun sufficiently enough to keep us off the record books) but it was a long dry one. It was THE longest Summer I have ever seen in my 30 years here by a huge margin. This year,  all 3 major holidays had perfect weather; something that has never happened to me.  Back when I used to plan camping trips for Memorial Day weekend, I can remember hoping for at least ONE decent day of the 3.  Having it rain most of all 3 days was the norm rather than the exception.

But many regions smashed records for consecutive days without measurable rainfall.  Considering we just finished one of the longest wettest Winters ever, 2017 will go down as a major "Weather News" Year!

With colder comes lower tire pressures.  A good rule of thumb is 1 pound of tire pressure for every 10ยบ F change in temperature. My LEAF's tires are losing air faster than any set I can remember (going back to my Prius days 2 of which also ran on Ecopias) dropping about 2 PSI.  So now is the time to adjust.  Max sidewall pressure on the OEM tires is 44 PSI. This what I recommend. Keep in mind, temps will be lower so will pressures so set your tires first thing in the morning.

Now, I did say that I would be concentrating on driving the Corolla more and did just that doubling August by driving 304.2 miles at a fuel cost of $20.46 or 6.7 cents per mile.  Now as always, maintenance costs for both vehicles are not included but I did get the oil changed at a cost of $35. I hate getting it changed on the short interval of 3785 miles instead of the recommended  5,000 miles but it has been 14 months and....well you know.

However, the additional miles on the Corolla did not serve the purpose of slowing down the usage on the LEAF so despite 8 days of not driving the LEAF or driving it less than 10 miles, it still went 2909.6 miles costing $22.95 in juice or .8 cents per mile.  NCTC kicked in 450.24 kwh and I did incur  .97 cents of public charging fees.  (This was at a level 2 Blink and correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember that level 2 Blinks bowed out of the NCTC program?  Either way, I was plugged into the Blink at the Walgreens on Bridgeport Way in Tacoma and when I unplugged I received an email detailing fees and the fact that my first hour was free)

Without NCTC, my costs would have run 2.2 cents per mile IF all my charging had been done at home. If I had actually paid the going rate, my bill would have been an extra $20 for AV and an extra $67 for EVGO and $14 for Blink.

As mentioned previously, I am now seeing degradation. Ahr had dipped to a low of 81.00 with Hx as low a 96.77%  SOH, GIDs and kwh available at full charge have yet to change at 100%, 363, and 28.1 kwh.  I did do a few fast charges and they didn't really improve the numbers but it got somewhat warmer and the rain stopped and the Sun came out and the numbers went up but was also on a 2 fast charge day so... hmmm?  The question becomes when fast charging are the numbers being inflated or simply showing the truer state of the pack?   Well, my experiment of baking the pack as much as possible has not really yielded any results. I guess I need more time?  There are now reports of 30 kwh warranty exchanges in LEAFs only slightly older than mine and most with significantly less mileage.  Now we could blame it on heat and time, but I am leaning towards the build process. At this time there is not enough evidence out there to do anything but guess.

Jim the LEAF Spy Guru did mention that the next iteration will increase the significance of SOH to 100th of  a percent. Pretty cool!  LEAF Spy is not only a very useful tool to monitor several parameters of your battery pack but it also a great way to share info that is well known in the community and also to support a great contributor to the EV movement!

Despite still hearing random issues over inadequate 12 volt batteries, I am feeling like Nissan has addressed the issue at least partially on my 2016 LEAF.  Friday morning, I got up to go to work and my back hatch was open. This is 4th time in the last few months, I forgot about it leaving it open for extended periods of time. I am glad to see that so far my 12 volt battery seems to have survived and thinking Nissan put in some timers to shut lights off if it detects that too much time has passed?

Thursday, I stopped to charge at Tacoma Mall long enough to grab a break, hit the bathroom, etc. and when I came back out less than 20 mins later, the car was not charging. LEAF Spy and EVGO logs verified charge only ran 14 mins. When I plugged in, there was no one else there. When I returned there was a Tesla and BMW both plugged into the free L2's with the other fast charger empty.  So... don't know.  Unfortunately EVGO is NOT very good at sending notifications. This morning, I did two 15 min sessions and didn't receive notification on the first session end but did receive it within 10 seconds for the 2nd time I hit the stop button.  So not sure what is going on? Looks EVGO still has to work to do.  FYI; the station I got the notification about was the same one that I got the short session from.

This is going to become more common I think. I hate the thought of having to babysit the car but it looks like it may come down to that.  Right now, EVs are beginning to explode but new charging stations are not.  During NDEW, an announcement of new stations along the I-5 corridor were announced but install dates could stretch almost 2 years.  The Lacey location has zero evidence of any work done. I will check on it monthly but not expecting to see anything soon.  Looks like LeMay Car Museum in Tacoma will likely be the first one.  The more the merrier but Tacoma Mall is just down the street from there barely 3 miles away.  If I was looking at where the need was greatest, I would go Lakewood or Tukwila but as mentioned above, the more the merrier.


  1. Just to comment on the lights, the default is for all lights to turn themselves off after a set amount of time (Headlights, trunk light, interior dome light). The only caveat is the interior dome light, if you leave it to "On" it won't turn itself off. As opposed to "Door" with a door accidentally left ajar, which will turn off. Even the headlights if left in the "On" position and you leave your car, will turn themselves off eventually. Pretty smart!

  2. This is good and definitely an improvement from earlier years when a few claim a door left ajar by their kids (not them of course!) was the reason the 12 volt battery died.

  3. We just received our motor vehicle registration notice for our 2012 Leaf and was pleased to see no emissions test and no safety test required. Sweet!

    1. Yep, little need for that. What state are you in? Because in WA, you would see a $150 EV Tab Renewal Fee plus RTA tax due to the ST 3 (Sound Transit) project if in King, Snohomish, or Pierce County