Saturday, February 24, 2018

2018 LEAF; Week One Ups And (yes) Downs!

Now that I have actually driven the LEAF long enough to make a real evaluation, there is a lot of good things but also some not so good things.  So what do you want first?

Well, studies show that whatever is presented first makes the greatest impact so in order to do this fairly, we shall do the good first! :)

The Good!; E Pedal For Safety

Day One. Snow from Wednesday. It would be what came a few hours later that 
would cause havoc. Notice how innocent it looks here? 

I knew it would be cool but I didn't realize how much of a safety feature E Pedal was until forced to deal with VERY BAD driving conditions.  Now, realize I am in an S so still riding on Ecopias pumped to 44-45 PSI. (was aiming for 43 and missed...)  On a gasser, they are probably one of the worst tires you can use especially on treacherous roads.  But I already knew that regen is THE perfect invention for driving on snow and ice.  Its like driving in low gear all the time without the drawbacks that gassers have with overheating engines, reduced gas mileage, etc.

But the real benefit is E Pedal gave me PERFECT deceleration control.  In most accidents, its driver error that causes it.  Either not paying attention, going too fast or in this past week's case; hitting the brakes too hard on ice.

I-5 about  7 hours before my drive

So anyway, I go beebopping out of the neighborhood at my typical leave time of 3:30 AM and notice that I am the 2nd one out of the neighborhood. Traction was good as it always is in 2-3 inches of fresh snow as long as you are not stopping or turning! Today's drive is  mere 89 miles to Everett... The FAR end of Everett.  Since I charged overnight on Level 2, I thought B mode was best to reduce friction braking but quickly realized that road conditions made it difficult to stop.  So back to E Pedal I went. That was the end of my traction issues!

As I got on I-5, everyone was driving in the right lanes with the far left lane wide open but that lane proved impossible to navigate. The roads had not been plowed so the lane was mostly crisscrossing tracks thru 3 " of snow with ice underneath so back to the right lanes with everyone else. 

As we approached DuPont, I was in the right lane and an SUV in the center lane decided to slow down due to traffic and lost it eventually skidding across the highway in front of me to end up on the shoulder. He was lucky since he didn't hit anything including me.  All I did was let E Pedal slow down enough to miss him and went on.   By now it was 21ΒΊ and I-5 traffic had reduced the road to compacted ice. There was literally no traction at all.  Speeds were dropped to 20-40 mph.  

I exited I-5 at Highway 512 to pick up co-worker and the car in front of me lost it eventually sliding off to the side and hitting the guard rail which caused her to do a 180. She was traveling roughly 25-30 mph. 

You might find this hard to believe but we were 20 mins late. On the Client end; one called in, too scared to drive while another totaled her car about 2 miles from the store.  Needless to say, it was going to be a long day. 

Finally finished and unlike my trip up with a passenger, I was solo going home. So I get on freeway and its clear smooth driving!... for about 5 miles. Then the traffic went back to its normal 20 mph crawl that E Pedal handled with ease. However there was  3 car rear ender right next to me that was so close, for a second they I thought they hit me... but no "bump" so I was good!  What I realized is that despite it now being a balmy 37ΒΊ, there was still black ice on what appeared to be a dry I-5.  Again; E-Pedal simply worked flawlessly. 

 I decided to get off freeway and grab a charge.  My GOM said I had 21 miles of range but I load up LEAF Spy and its says I have 112 GIDs which is nearly double the range!... Oh well, the charge was at AAA in Lynnwood which is one of the quickest ones to hit due to its very close proximity to I-5. 

So, I plug in to EVGO its starts charging and ran 4 minutes and 10 seconds and shut down... Hmmm? Weird. So I restart session and it runs for 25 mins and 37 seconds before I manually turned it off.  Wasn't sure how EVGO would handle this since I only have a free 30 mins but got my 20 kwh!. So its cold but again, I see a drop in the rate just over 50% SOC but it basically went from 120 amps to 100 amps and sat at that rate for a bit so it was not a fast ramp down. Will have to gather more data but looks like it ramps down gradually. 

You can see the little "wedgie" on the Green line when I did the restart.
Notice the Blue line? Neither did I until I realized its at the bottom!

The Irritating; NCTC

Needless to say, as I go South, the roads are somewhat clear compared to Everett which didn't get that much snow to begin with but the temperature is dropping... FAST.   This meant traffic which is slow on a perfect day, is even slower. Black Ice abounds. Accidents aren't as bad as the morning drive but still enough of them.  I soon gave up the hope of getting home in time to do anything so decided a stop at Tahoma Market to test the Blink was a good choice since not stopping meant hitting Ft. Lewis slog at the height of its slowness.   So, I plug in, and it spins and says... "card not recognized" So I try it again, same result.  I called in, and the rep knew me (based on my cellphone number) knew my email addy created specifically for the purpose of this NCTC registration but there was a card issue. I asked if he could fix the card issue. He could not. Well, I was already here and knew that leaving would put me in traffic Hell. I had exited the freeway with average speed of 10 mph and it WILL stay that way until past the Tacoma Dome where it will speed up to normal until Tacoma Mall...about 3 miles away where it would slow down again...

So I said "remote start me" I was hoping he would waive charges but that didn't happen so I stayed plugged in long enough to see a ramp down.  EVGO is known for early ramp downs even on my 2016 LEAF but Blink was generally less prone to early ramp downs in colder weather... But not this time. I turned off car to grab some refreshment at Tahoma Market which accounts for the pause in the graph. Sometimes LEAF Spy runs with car off, sometimes it doesn't. This was on my Samsung Galaxy 4. 

But looks like Nissan has cranked down the fast charge rate so the advantage I was expecting over the Bolt is not going to happen. I am still charging faster than most Bolts I have seen or heard about but the Bolt will probably squeak it out in a long distance race, if it can find a place to charge... 😏

Another 14.93 kwh for $7.31!

So naturally, I get home. Call EZ Charge like Blink rep said I "had" to do.  The system says "if you need help with" and runs off list of vendors, I select Blink and it takes me to Blink rep and it takes me a second to realize this and he tells me the same thing. Have to go to EZ Charge to fix card issue. So I hang up and this time on automated phone system I selected "other" and got EZ Charge rep and explain situation and he says that Blink Rep can fix. I say I talked to 2 Blink reps who can't fix anything. EZ Charge Rep replies "Why am I not surprised"...  

So he says, he can't fix issue with someone else's system but can submit form directly to Blink to fix. He also states that Blink Rep has access to same form... So I give him card #, last 6 of VIN, dealership I got car from and date of adoption for car, etc.  He says it will take "3 to 5" business days.  (It took less than 24 hours) So I guess the question becomes; Should I fight to get my $7.31 back or forget about it which would make gassers feel a tiny bit better since my cost would be higher... 😊

The VERY Good; E Pedal For Performance

When I first got my LEAF, I had some concerns about what role friction braking would have in E-Pedal when the SOC was high. It was a small concern simply because my primary direction leaving my house is uphill so  regen wouldn't play a big role anyway.  But in the name of Science, I still wanted to know if it was an issue.  

Well, there is a lot going against finding out right now. For one; Nissan had issues with cars being damaged due to rogue OBD devices (not a LEAF) so they took steps to prevent that and one of them is to buffer all the data on the bus which means the ability to track real time stats is all but removed.  Now, most of LEAF Spy still works well but the one thing that is now  gone is the "Braking/Motor" graph which would have told me how much if any friction braking was being used. With E Pedal, its not only easy to never touch the brake pedal, its actually normal.  Only in emergency stops would touching the brakes be required at all.  So any hint of braking on the graph would be tell us what we needed to know but alas, the easy way is not available. 

But one thing is VERY clear.  The 2018 LEAF is a HUGE leap in efficiency.  Despite one of the THE worst week ever for driving, I still managed 4.1 kwh on the car.  This included 3 days with extensive heat/defrost use. Unlike my S30, I simply turned it on and left it on which included 2 sessions of 105 mins and one of 65 mins. I won't bother to mention the several shorter sessions.  Even with the unfavorable conditions, the biggest improvement is highway range and its a bit shocking!  With our mostly snow and super cold dry days, the real acid test of rain has not been common but still had a few days and still getting a prelim range estimate in the 140's. I need to add that the extra range has hampered my ability to be a law abiding citizen if you know what I mean... πŸ˜‰

Now that was to be expected somewhat.  The Cd dropped from .32 on the Gen one to .28 on the Gen 1½ and there were other efficiency tweaks but it is a noticeable difference and yeah, E Pedal probably contributed as well!

LEAF Spy logs do verify a healthy dose of regen even at very high SOC. More on this later.

Slow Start; LEAF Spy

The 2018 LEAF has a lot of changes along with their locking down the CANbus so expecting LEAF Spy to have a few hiccups wasn't much of a surprise.  

Notice the charging graphs above? KW line (in blue) isn't working.  Not much of a big deal since the Green line is volts * amps rating which is pretty close. If you saw previous graphs (I have posted many) you will notice both lines follow along the same path.   

When viewing LEAF Spy logs (I think only available on Pro edition?) The OBC power out that used to show charging speed only works on Level 2 with Level 3 not showing anything hence the blue line issue.  Again, the logs are so extensive that you can still tell what the power delivery rate is from the amps being delivered which shows negative on regen or charging and positive when driving. This complicates the situation a bit because before you could see your total kwh gained from regen on a trip. Now both regen and level 3 charging are thrown together. 

But, I have EVERY faith in Jim, the LEAF Spy developer to resolve the issues. The Braking graph screen is gone but the other stuff, I am confident he will get figured out. Even if he doesn't; LEAF Spy is still considered an essential for any LEAFer. 

WTF;  LEAF BMS/Charging

Where to begin! 

Every LEAF I had previously only took a day or two to determine what the new battery pack stats would be. The 2018 has not done this. My stats are all over the map including one day that is VERY concerning.  Realize LEAF Spy log records REAL SOC...

So you tell me. On my 4 full charges, what is the standard I should be using?  On the 506 GID day, I saw E Pedal generating over 8 KW of regen at 99.1% SOC! How can that be good for the battery??

May need to click to expand... not easy to see

I am hoping this is a LEAF Spy glitch (I doubt it though) and not a flaky BMS! One of the things I think contributed heavily to some 30 kwh packs degrading rapidly was a high  Depth of Discharge (DoD) or the amount of the pack that is available for use.   If using the nominal calculation for real pack size we come up with around 41.4 kwh pack.  With 39.3 kwh available, that is 95% DoD which is even higher than the 94.5% DoD the 30 kwh packs had.  I have to think I haven't seen where my pack will settle into.  Now wondering if it will settle into anything at all? 

Someone on reported that a Greenlots charger of unspecified make burned up his charger.  This caught my attention because I have determined that Aeroenvironment DCFCs are not compatible with my LEAF and now this has been verified by another LEAFer in Oregon. 

This is all I get when trying to use AV!

From a LEAFer in Quebec

I got the same issue on the 2018 LEAF SL Demo unit we got from the dealer at Quebec city yesterday,
I tried many times on both blue DCFC charging stations (Flo and ElectricCircuit) but nothing happen.
400V DCFC charging station can't start charging the 2018 LEAF Demo unit.
Definitely an issue. 

Very Bad;  Accident!

For the 2nd time in 2 months, I have been hit!!  My 2016 went over 29,000 miles and I never even got as much as a door ding! It was completely scratch free! But my 2018 didn't even last a full week.  Now with all the slush and dirt on the car, not sure if it happened at Walgreens in Everett or Federal Way but it definitely did happen!!

**WARNING; The following is very graphic and disturbing! Proceed with caution!**

Now I am afraid to wash it because then it will really show up. 
There is paint missing so its probably way worse than it looks! 

Conclusions; (until next week that is) Its All Good!

Ok so this may all seem ominous but in reality its all small stuff.  The BMS issues are likely to be fixed. The rumor is AV just got a 2018 LEAF to test so that should be resolved soon I think but I don't use AV nearly as much as Blink, Chargepoint or EVGO so it doesn't affect me a lot.   Plus with the additional range, I do not plan to charge to full much anyway.  I do it now because its cold and to get the battery parameters but this LEAF has enough range that I simply won't need to go full  most of the time.  I will say I am most impressed by the range I am seeing especially at this time of year!  I fully expect to see 175 come Summer time! It will be glorious!

Now, you might be tired of hearing it, but E Pedal is THE best idea Nissan ever had!  Its ability to drive for you on icy roads is unparalleled!   The reason it works so well is a twofold whammy. EVs naturally will do better on slippery roads simply because they have much greater control of the power to the wheels. Unlike a gasser where you barely touch the pedal, the car will continue to accelerate as it changes gears. Good for tailgating but not so good when trying not to slide into the car in front of you!

EVs don't do that. You barely touch pedal, it goes to a certain speed and sits there. E Pedal takes that super fine control and adds a bit of "cyber steroids" to make you a Pro icer (notice lower caps to differentiate between good "icer" and bad "ICE'r" 😎) where you always have the exact right amount of regen and deceleration! 

So for all you bitching about the weather we had this week. Stop it. I ordered it for the E Pedal test... all in the name of Science!!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 LEAF; Day Two, The Settings

 Its Day Two of the 2018 LEAF Saga and despite this supposed to only be a Settings Only blog, I must digress.  The differences from last year to 2018 are simply piling up too fast!

Yesterday, I couldn't help but notice that Eco B provides almost as much regen as E Pedal! This was a bit a shock really.  Eco B works a bit slower than E Pedal but for predictable in town driving, its probably just a pinch less efficient that E Pedal and eliminates any possible friction braking action. My original intent was to drive around enough to get full regen available but found that the regen in Eco B kept making regen bars disappear!   So started playing with it instead and found that Eco B max'd out at street speeds but stayed pretty high for a much longer period than my S30 did.  In reviewing LEAF Spy logs, I found that the resolution is not good enough to make good side by side comparisons but did see regen hitting just over 40 KW a definite improvement over 30 kwh packs!  This  does put a new task on my list to measure regen going down a BIG Hill.  Below is a video descending the Martin Way hill to the Nisqually entrance to I-5. Although rather steep, its less than a mile long. Now thinking I need to do something like Highway 18 Eastbound a few times!


Having had 2 S's in a row (2013 and 2016) I am really quite unfamiliar with what other trims had so forgive me if its old news to you but its NEW NEWS to me!!

As you can see, there are a LOT of menus to peruse.  Some are basic and boring but we will probably look at all of them anyway.

First off, ( I tried but I just cannot resist! ) remember the two clocks and how they had to be set separately? I used to joke around with my passengers and tell them one was my Standard Daylight time and the other was my Daylight Savings Time.  😎

But Nissan has solved it! Now the center display sets BOTH clocks which naturally means

Again, I apologize but I simply COULD NOT resist! 😁

VDC Setting
I liked this better when it was a button on the lower left corner of the front dash where it was much easier to access.  Great when you are stuck and need to rock.  Getting stuck sucks but then again,  rocking with electronic shift by wire is pretty cool! 

Driver Assistance
A few head scratchers here so if anyone has insights as to why these options exist, please chime in. 

Emergency Forward Braking alerts you to an impending collision along with some braking help (if you have the guts to wait that long. I don't) 

Timer Alert
Ever have those days where you are not sure you can stay awake at the wheel or simply have to take a pill on a strict schedule?  Well you can configure your LEAF to remind you...

Low Temperature Alert
I'd say with the level of heater use I employ, I don't need this but some of you might like it. 

Chassis Control
This goes by a lot of different names but its essentially anti skid control that can vary braking force and power (if available) on each individual wheel to prevent skiding, etc.   And yes, it can be turned off which has to be THE stupidest idea ever. 

E Pedal 
As we all know us Hypermilers hate the fact that our LEAF cannot accept the fact that we want to drive in Eco B ALL THE TIME! So its a constant double shift to get there EVERYTIME we shift to a forward direction.  Well, E Pedal does the same thing EXCEPT when "Retain Mode" is enabled! πŸ˜€

Customize Display
Main Menu Selection
Ok, so if you read the previous blog , some of the dozen screen options were kinda....well, of lesser value lets just say. No Problemo!! Here you can turn them off! 

ECO Info Settings
Want to bask in  the glory of a highly efficient month of driving? Here is where you would do it... You can also delete the history if you don't want anyone to see how badly you did as well. Actually since I have only had the car 2 days, I don't know how much history is available but I see 5 on mine! So apparently it divides them up from power up or the manual reset?  I don't have 5 of either.  I have only 2 manual resets but more than a dozen power ups but didn't actually go anywhere so maybe it only logs info after a certain distance which makes sense. Plus I can only guess what the dealer did since I had over 20 miles on the Odo when I picked it up. 

Welcome Effect
Allows you to tweak the boot up show. Well, not really but this is the place to try. 

Vehicle Settings

The LEAF now comes with custom auto headlights. They will come when its dark or after they sense 4 sweeps of the windshield wipers so you don't have to worry about idiots not using their wipers and hitting you in the rain!

How dark do you want it to be when the lights come on? Around here, in Winter; 
early. In Summer? Not so much

Have no idea why anyone would want to disable the button on the door handle
but disabling Selective Unlock to allow entry for all is great and saves the 
double tap when you have passengers!

"12 Volt Battery Torture Setting" 
Here you can configure how long the headlights stay on after shutting down. My choice? 
Garage light is set to 2 minutes. Good enough for me! FYI; 30 seconds is the default. FYI; headlights stay for a period after the car is shut down until the first door is opened. 

7 Position Speed Sensitive Intermittent Wipers.
California and Arizona LEAFers might not get this, but this is literally a godsend.  In my previous LEAFs, I would flip my wipers on and off about 20-50 times an hour. But then again, that is Washington rain for you where it can rain 10 days straight and not add up to an inch...

How does it work?  Level one at a standstill, the wipers sweep once every 35-38 seconds. At 40 mph, they sweep once every 10-12 seconds.  LOVE IT!!!

EV Settings
Here is where another 2016 Button is buried AKA Charge Connector Lock.  This is good because too many people did not understand how to set it to "Auto" to unlock when the charge session was completed. This is a personal beef with me.  Hopefully while digging thru the menus, one will have time to think about the proper setting... 

Charge Timers

With the extra range the 40 kwh pack affords us, leaving home with a full battery becomes less of a priority and will likely lessen your rate of degradation considerably but no, there no custom SOC settings so the next option is timer manipulation.   So DO NOT turn on "Full Charge has Priority" because;

1) The end time will be ignored if the battery is not full
2) The start time will be changed if the car determines there is not enough time to fully charge the battery
3) Climate Control Timer can also mess up these preset times.  In an area with extreme TOU rates, this is... well... it sucks!

I guess this is one of many reasons why I never used the timers other than one short experiment on manipulating end SOC's.  Now I know why it didn't work.

Charge Time
Ok, so sadly no 80%  charge option BUT Nissan does know about our thoughts on this and I have proof. As mentioned before, there are several charge speed options you can select for your charge time estimate and I have the two most common below. Notice something? 

Despite not giving us custom charge options, they DO tell us how long to charge
to what? 75% I am guessing because earlier screenshots only had one time estimate
but what should appear as soon as I drop below 75%? TWO estimates!! 😲
Notice the dashes below? Can we assume estimates for 50 and 25%?

Climate Control Timer
One of the things that I am shocked over despite knowing better having lived in hot areas extensively thru out my life is the temperatures people preheat their car to.  Nissan recognizes this and you can custom set your temperature AND run your battery down too if you want! 

TPMS Settings 
You have already seen this but I think its still pretty cool! To be honest with you, this was a bit of a letdown. I was hoping for an idiot light setting that would turn on at a predetermined pressure. I always do 44 PSI in Summer and as low as 42 PSI in Winter. But a dash alert when any tire goes below say 40 PSI is what I was hoping to find here...

No change here. Same settings for Tire rotations and Other... I would post pix and I even took one but too lazy.  

LOL!!! Kidding!! 


Ever wish you could post super impressive GOM figures like Canadians do? Granted its Kms but still for a second, nearly everyone is fooled! Now you can!  No wh/mile option here although you can see that in Energy History graph. Would be nice to see a running total though...

Tire Pressures
Same menu as the TPMS sensor menu. Told you it was in several places!

No Submenu here. Just toggles from F to C

Hmm, guessing this is a regional option here...

The last remaining option is Factory Reset. Guessing you know what that is all about.

Finally something that probably should have went in Day One but We have an adjustable light setting to brighten or dim the dash along the the Trip resets that are located just left of the steering wheel. Not easy to see but there nevertheless. 

I had hoped to try at least a few QC's by now to check cold weather ramp down, knee SOC, etc  but this range is just sooo tough to run down!  So may have to do a "Day 3" So stay tuned!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 LEAF Day ONE!!

As we all know, my preorder was for the SV with tech and weather but Nissan had production issues (as we see Tesla is not alone with this issue!) and I also had an issue  as well which created a major time crunch that involved gassing it EVERY day for a few days short of a month, a 31 day month!  But that ended Friday the 16th as I drove home in a Blue 2018 S with QC and weather from Ray Ishak at Campbell Nelson Nissan in Everett WA!

I knew that this LEAF would be more expensive than previous LEAFs but then again, it was a lot more car.  But quirks in the leasing plan created a situation where the greatest discounts were on the S at $9275 verses the SL at $7900 or the SV which essentially got no discount at $7500 (Nissan as always rightly passes on ALL  the consumer incentive AKA federal tax credit. A rarity in the industry...) So after discussing it with Ray I quickly realized my order submitted to Nissan the first week of September had the sole benefit of qualifying me for a gift...ONLY.  I get that most people would think that the ordering process that involved COMPLETELY configuring the car with all options, colors, etc would imply that that would be the car you get. Well that was not the case! So after reviewing what was immediately available (dealer searches in the region did not get me any better results) and realizing it would be AT LEAST another 30 days, I decided to take Ray's advice and go with the S.  Its hardly a disappointment with possibly hybrid heating and Adaptive Cruise Control being the things I miss most but the standard features of the new LEAF were already very impressive and besides, I doubt I would use the heat anyway. I don't care how much range I have, I hate wasting resources needlessly.  Driving fast (I admit the 30 kwh LEAF probably resulted in an average 7-12 mph faster drive home... ) has benefits associated with time management so not a waste!

But the real reason I passed 12 LEAF dealers to go to Ray is simply because its Ray!  Just over a year ago, taking home a LEAF meant supporting families in 3rd World Countries. This year, its a conservation of resources.  Gone is the mountain of paperwork associated with car buying.  All of it is now a Flash Drive that doubles as a business card!  No trees involved!

The Deal

MSRP; $33,295.00  "Negotiated" price (no real negotiation since price was already settled on a few weeks ago on Facebook Messenger...)  $31,989.  Lease Cash $9275,  Loyalty $1000.

Total discount  $11581.  In the interest of full disclosure, Splash Guards $190 were part of MSRP calc that I didn't order (They don't really work here anyway. Too much mud, rain, etc....)

MF was .00036 which equates to effective interest rate of .854%.  I had thought about putting $3500 down to reduce the rent charge of  $504.45 but even a $3500 down payment only reduced it by just under $50.  So heck with it. Put check back in pocket. Guess I will go to Acapulco instead. (or more likely Michigan/Ohio...)

Lease Terms

15,000 annual miles
Zero down payment
MF .00036 (.854% interest rate)
Rent Charge ($504.45)
35 payments;  $382.94 or  $13,402.90
Residual ; $9,655.55
TCO;  $23,058.45
29.8 cents per mile

Feel like paying it off early?  Save that rent charge

NCTC 3 (The 2 year free charging thing)

Have to add this because after 5 years, it is better but hardly fixed.  Registered with Blink, Chargepoint, AV and Greenlots. Total time; About 3 mins.  Then I get to EVGO.

What the holy H*** are they smoking!  I already knew I could not use any of the 2 previous emails I had but when I get thru the registration, I found I can't use my previous cellphone number which BTW is a new restriction since I did it on NCTC 2. (NCTC 1 was my 90 day assault on public charging due to some range discussion)

Well, I have Google everything so I figured, I will use my Google Voice number (something that works great if you don't want to give out your real number to suspected Spammers. You can configure all calls directly to Voice Mail on your regular number)  So I tried to do that but it failed! and the reason is almost as bad as EVGO's signup process.  It would seem that when I was with Verizon, I could literally do anything with my Google Voice Number but since I changed phones and providers to Project Fi AKA "GOOGLE WIRELESS"  I got an error message that I could not configure my Google Voice number on my Pixel XL 2 because the number was "managed by Project Fi and this use was restricted!"   So I tried using my CenturyLink Landline number that is Internet only and that didn't work either so I just used my Sister's cellphone number and sure enough, it wasn't even use to verify my account or anything else so the reality is I ONLY needed the new email address!!

The Drive

Ok, so its faster. Don't care. But it is quieter and that is a lot to say about a car that barely made any noise before. Now keep in mind; my experience so far was a 3 hour slog home thru Seattle on a Friday before a 3 day weekend so... anyway, at 15 miles an hour it seemed fine.  But I will say there is no longer that high pitched motor whine and its stability in roundabouts is noticeably better than previous versions.  The car simply feels very solid and well built.

So on to the car!!
Well the big complaint is the lack of digital speedometer.  Not sure why because it is most definitely there 😏

But we now have 11 screens to choose from so I guess I can see how it was overlooked.  But that is not all.  Previously several settings had "Easter Egg" processes to change them.  Well, Nissan dumbed it down for us giving us a very comprehensive settings menu.  If you are reading this from your cellphone, I would suggest connecting to Wi Fi or waiting till you get home to read this on your Big Screen because this is going to be a long one!

But before we get to all that, we need to explain that big circular thing on the right. Well, unlike the general consensus that its the speedometer, in reality its only purpose is for the power on animation.


Weather Package brings back the steering wheel heater!! But it doesn't work anything like the old one on my 2013. It does not cycle from very warm to luke warm and back. It now stays at a steady heat. The Seat Heaters also don't get as warm as my 2013 did either.  I do have rear heater vents but sadly, there does not appear to be a "rear vent" only option on the air flow menu.

Quick Charge  Gives me Chademo but also adds a dual 120 volt/240 Volt Charger. The 240 volt option goes up to 30 amps so very cool. Now what to do with the 3 EVSEs I have at home??...

The Screens

The Screens are divided into 4 categories with a 5th for settings.  The categories; Battery/charging,  Media, Driving Performance,  and Info.  The dots you see on the left side indicates the categories has multiple screens.  Moving from category to category is done using left/right buttons on the left side of steering wheel while additional displays within each category are accessed with up/down buttons.  Some will have config options that can be accessed by hitting the center button.


The power meter replaces the circles with bars. There are several screens that provide a smaller version in the lower right corner. I think its cute...but mostly useless.

SOC Meter; Again, a "cute" thing.  Hitting the ok button brings up a config screen that allows you to plug in various charging speeds; 50 KW QC,  6.6 KW L2, 3.3 KW L2 and 1.44 KW L1.  It will also display the actual charge speed in whole KW increments.  Nice when checking the ramp down on a DCFC  session.

Battery Temperature Gauge. Bravo to Nissan for burying this out of sight!!

Capacity Gauge AKA "Degradation Meter"  For my thoughts here, see Temperature Gauge. I am guessing there are 12 segments that will disappear at about the same irregular interval as before but wouldn't be great to find out its an analog meter where we could have like 11¼ bars?


Pressing the Ok button cycles you thru the inputs. I guess its a safer way then hitting the applicable button on the center screen.  πŸ˜‡

Driving Performance

Instantaneous Performance Gauge;  There are smaller versions on other screens. The top which is zero since its still sitting in garage will bring up your aggregate economy which can be reset by accessing menu on Ok button.

Driving History

Anyone who had a Prius will need no explanation here. Its basically an identical copy. The far right bar is the instantaneous reading that will graph your previous hour's performance in 5 minute blocks.  In the settings menu there is additional info to get daily performances as well.


This is where I will live with an occasional visit to the driving history screen.

Automatic Emergency Braking.

No you can't turn this off. But you can disable the warning. Not sure why anyone would want to but its an option.

DIGITAL Speedometer

Apparently one of the most important features on a car...I guess.


Recently someone posted that their TPMS sensor on the dash was on but they didn't have LEAF Spy and apparently didn't have a 2018!!

PSI not your thing?  I am sure you will find something you like.

Drive Computer

This will take up about 95% of my screen time. Best part of this is its an easy access to for my daily driving log. The only thing missing is Power usage by category.  The Soul has it! I want it too! But then again, we have yet to investigate the settings menu πŸ˜‰

Above I said there was 4 categories. That is actually not true. There is a 5th but hopefully I will never see that one.  Its the one between the "i" and the gear.

So thems the basics!

I got up this morning and LEAF Spy'd it and got

491 GIDs
38.1 kwh available
Ahr 115.09
96.5% SOC
99.26% SOH
99.17% Hx.

What does that mean? Well, its only ONE observation but it is a GREAT preliminary picture into what I can expect with my BMS process.

I have long contended that one of the (many) factors causing advanced degradation on 30 kwh packs was a high DoD.  DoD is Depth of Discharge or in layman's terms; How much of that battery is available to move the car.

24 kwh Pack DoD;  93.6%
30 Kwh Pack DoD; 94.8%

So going back the LEAF Spy numbers.  With an ahr of 115.09, the nominal capacity of the pack is 41.432 kwh or about 534 GIDs.  This works out to a DoD of roughly 92%  IOW.


If you get absolutely nothing out of this blog, that is ok as long as you understand this single point!
Now, realize I have a database of ONE so its possible (probable) that my numbers will puff up a bit after I start abusing my NCTC but even if I get to my estimated 38.5 kwh available, that is still a DoD of 93%.  A very very good sign. 

The Settings Menu

This blog is already too long and putting THE most important part at the end ensures most won't see it.  So for the settings menu; Stay tuned for part two! 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

LEAF Leases; What Will You Pay?

I actually did this back in November and have decided to revisit this simply because a few things have changed and we know a LOT more about Nissan pricing and its not quite as favorable as I thought it would be so...

As we all know, the Model 3 has had a tough launch.  Looks like the $36,200 version with the full tax credit is not going to happen.  Despite what appears will be a successful ploy by Tesla to get an additional 3 months of full federal tax credit for its customers, the estimated timeline for the long awaited basic model has been pushed back several times.   Anything can happen and I expect when it does, it will surprise us all, but it is possible that few if any will even qualify for the half credit.

The Chevy Bolt is getting a pretty hefty price cut if you are willing to search for a 2017. One recently got $5800 off his but it was also a model without QC; a tough sell.   As always, incentives vary a TON by location and a quick perusal which included a good 10 mins of back and forth on the phone with one guy before he would give up anything still has promising results of $3000-$4000 off.  Not bad but without getting much of the federal tax credit, its a tough TCO justification. My tax liability for 2017 was $3000...

So we come to the LEAF.  As mentioned, the incentives will not be huge but with my 2016 gone, I have zero bargaining position and the month of gassing (Its only been a month??!!) has literally chased out all my common sense and penny pinching ways!

So if we go to the Nissan site, they do have the basic lease terms. Unfortunately getting "my" lease terms are not available but we can make a pretty close guess with the basic info the lease disclaimer gives us.

Excludes taxes, title, and license. $3,979 initial payment required at consummation. (Includes $3,670 consumer down payment, $309 first month payment.) (INCLUDES $7,500 manufacturer's rebate applied to $309/Month lease. Offer valid only when financed through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation.) Subject to residency restrictions. 2018 LEAF SV Lease model 17118 subject to availability to well-qualified lessees through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. $33,375 MSRP incl. destination charge. Net capitalized cost of $21,386 includes a $595 non-refundable acquisition fee. Dealer contribution may affect actual price set by dealer. Monthly payments total $11,124 At lease end, purchase for $10,680, plus purchase option fee up to $300 (except KS & WI), plus tax, or pay excess wear & use plus $0.15 per mile for mileage over 12,000 miles per year. Lessee is responsible for maintenance and repairs. A disposition fee is due at termination of lease term. No security deposit required. Must take delivery from new dealer stock. See participating dealer for details. Offer ends 03/05/2018.

Now this is 12,000 miles and without the tech ($2200) or the Weather ($900) package. But using the above, we can guesstimate the MF using the standard formula. Simple math shows a finance charge of $596

MF = lease charge / (capitalize cost + residual) * lease term in months
Where lease charge = sum of all a lessee’s monthly finance fees over the entire term of the leasecapitalized cost = also known as lease price, is the agreed price for a leased vehicleresidual value = value of car at the end of the leaselease term = the length of time a car is leased in months 
Plugging in the numbers we get  MF = $596 / ($21386 + $10,680) * 36 months = .000518 or 1.24% interest.  Just talked to my dealer and my MF is .00036 or .86% 

So now, lets plug in "my" LEAF, an SV with tech and weather; $36,475.  Take off the basics and we are down to price of  $24205 that includes nothing but $1000 loyalty, $7500 credit and $3670 down payment.  So we still need to guess a bit so we will use $350 a month payments since I will also be doing 15,000 miles a year so we get

.000518  =   X / (24205 + 10680) * 36.  so divide by X, yada yada, we get estimated $650 in rent charge so we put in our estimated $350 payments or 12,600 plus the $650 rent charge to get 13,250 which brings us real close to the residual. In reality due to the greater mileage, the residual will be likely a bit lower so I would change to $360ish payments and I think I am in the ball park.

DISCLAIMERS Although this is the "worst case" scenario for me, its probably better than what some will see. WA State waives sale tax on the transaction so I don't have to worry about that. That is roughly a $2500 discount which covers all but residual.  These terms apply to "well qualified" customers but only requires a relatively low credit score of 740+

**EDIT**  FEB 17, 2018
Speculation is OVER!  Below are my actual lease terms.  Obviously not matching my prediction above because I ended up taking an S with QC and Weather instead of an SV with Tech and Weather but everything else is pretty spot on so I came pretty close with my predictions!

Lease Terms

15,000 annual miles
Zero down payment
MF .00036 (.854% interest rate)
Rent Charge ($504.45)
35 payments;  $382.94 or  $13,402.90
Residual ; $9,655.55
TCO;  $23,058.45
29.8 cents per mile

As always this is subject to change and lease terms get updated monthly. They don't always change every month but the possibility remains nevertheless.  

S;  $9275  ($7500 fed credit plus $1725 factory incentive)
SV; $7500
SL; $7900

Due to still low volumes and what I expect will be high demand (I predicted that the 2018 would break previous annual sales record despite the specter of the 60 kwh pack coming out late this year and I am sticking to it!)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January 2018 Drive Report; The Eve Of A New Era

Ok,  a very different kind of report here.

First thing I realized is my old decrepit Corolla simply should not be called upon to drive a 1000 miles a week but sadly that is what she was asked to do and she it without a single complaint.

2nd; After 10+ years driving EVs as my primary transportation, I had forgotten how inconvenient it is to stop for gas especially at the end of a 15 hour work day. It really SUCKS!

3rd; I just discovered (unfortunately) another financial benefit to leasing especially if you leased a late 2016 or 2017 LEAF with very high incentives and discounts.  More on that in a later blog as I finalize that story!

On to the stats!  The LEAF went 1055.3 miles in an abbreviated month finishing with 29,413.8 miles.  As always the stats bounced around a bit based on how much recent fast charging was done so I would say she finished with  ahr of 81.2ish,  SOH of 100% and Hx of about 98%.  Cost to charge was $11.84 or 1.1 cents per mile.  Due to the extensive driving, a lot of public charging was required which drove down the cost.  She died with roughly a 75% charge as I had just gotten a 15 min QC boost from Tacoma Mall a mere mile from the murder scene.

The Corolla's; (notice the plural?)  My original intent was to not rent a car and apply to the liable party to reimburse me something for not renting. This I did with my 2004 Prius settlement and was reimbursed slightly more than half of the best possible rental rate available. Not full value but better than nothing but as mentioned above, the accident happened in the middle of our busiest season. In a mere 8 days,  the  Grandfather Corolla went 1197.7 miles costing $99.05 or 7.9 cents per mile during a period in which Costco Gas went from $2.559 to $2.759.

"Kid" Corolla went 729.7 miles costing $61.01  or 8.2 cents per mile.  That brings the gasser total to $160.06 or roughly what I gas in about 6 months!

Side note; My Corolla has just past the miles I drove in a year on my LEAF (26,100.2 miles) with the odometer marking 26,127.9 miles and it only took "barely" over 5 years to do it! 

TCO Note; My Corolla, despite gas prices as low as $1.799 on February 29th, 2016, costs $1749.53 to travel that 26,127.9 miles.   My LEAF cost me  $254.16 to travel the 16,100.2 but that included a LOT of help from NCTC.    Without NCTC and relying on home charging only, it would have been at least $573.89.  Due to the amount of driving, I would likely be doing at least 40-75% at tier two rates which are higher... 

I had fully expected to report mileage from my 2018 LEAF but that has not happened yet. Hopefully soon. If I continue this gasser thing for much longer, I may need to take out a payday loan! 😬