Friday, November 22, 2019

More Range, More Screen, More Apps!; E Plus Comes Home

I really should title this "Ray did it to me again!"   I wasn't really in the market for an upgrade. I had the 40 kwh LEAF and it seemed that my pack had settled down and degradation had slowed to a trickle. My future had every indication of cheap transportation for the next 5-7 years.  This was good since this is the timeframe I expect automated driving to become both reliable and mainstream (AKA; cheap!)

But slow "fast" charging would always be a thing with the 40. The RapidGate software update did improve the situation but there was still the knee.  The knee is when the current starts to drop during a quick charge event. Depending on the starting temperature of the pack, it could be anywhere from 47 to 62% SOC.  With my NCTC coming to an end in a few months, I had to actually look at creating a "fuel allowance"  Its been so long, I am not sure I remember how to do it!

But the thought of seeing the maximum charging speed drop with half a pack yet to fill AND per minute billing practices of most DCFC providers, I wasn't so sure I wanted to settle on a car rated at 50 KW maximum.

I have to think the vibes my brain was sending out was stronger than I thought. Sure enough, Ray called last week, said with a tweak here and there, he could get me into a Plus for the same payments I am paying now.  After evaluating a few numbers, it was a bit more money on the back end with the higher residual but it wasn't too high and it was simply something I had to do!

So last Saturday, off to Everett I went. I got there, the car was already peeled, charged up and ready to roll.  Hopped into the new S Plus with climate (of course) powered up and as they say "First impressions are the most important" and I can't argue with what I saw

So, I take off for a quick jag around the block and after half a mile...

Hmmm?? Seems like someone might have been doing donuts in the 
parking lot while verifying the increased horsepower.  πŸ˜

But then again, that is Nissan and the GOM. We all know how that goes, right?  I don't suppose you can guess what comes next. πŸ˜‰ 

Despite all that, I knew the car was over 300 lbs heavier so there would be no great leap in efficiency needed to be able to hit that 300 mile target but truth be told; I don't really need a car that drives longer than 2 hours at a stretch mostly because "I" can't last that long.  Give me 200 miles of range; a full 30 minutes of charging at 120+ amps (basically full speed on the so called 50 KW chargers) and new tires and I am good. Well this car had it and much more.


I started noticing a lot of discomfort when in the car for extended periods of time. The time has shrunk to as little as 30 minutes. Naturally it wasn't me (I am not "that" old!) so had to blame it on the car. (Funny how it took a year and half for me to notice it was the car's fault?)  So I got a gel pad seat cushion thing.  Didn't work. It helped I guess. Discomfort was less but still there.  So I determined I got the wrong cushion. It was rated 4.8 stars but then again, it was consumers doing the rating, not cushion experts.  πŸ˜•

The Pick Up

Gone is the super cool usb stick with all the paperwork on it. Great advertising gimmick as well, btw. But one cool gone was offset by another added.  

As we all know, the car buying process (even if all the terms were negotiated and agreed on in advance) is a hurry up and wait thing.  We provide info, wait for credit.   A few more questions, wait for service.  This and that; wait for finance.  In other words, there is a lot of "Facebook time" mixed in the process.  This time, Ray handed me an ipad with video links to all the new features on the car.  Now, most of  it I already knew but there were a few things that I didn't and the videos were short like 3 mins or so which made them very easy to digest, didn't get stale halfway thru and now I wasn't relying on the memory of a salesman who is trying to tie 14 different strings together on my deal. (along with other people who were there)  Now we all know Ray is pretty much on the ball but let's face it; everyone here has had the salesman who is new, or simply hadn't read up on the latest features of the car he is trying to sell, etc.  So we no longer have to go strictly by what the salesman says. In fact, if he gets something wrong you can say "But the ipad said..." πŸ˜„

The Deal

2019 LEAF S E Plus with All Weather package;  MSRP plus destination charges as provisioned; $38,420

2 year lease,  15,000 miles  15 cents per mile overage. 

23 payments of $380.67, residual $19,200

Money factor; .00147, Interest rate 3.528%,  Rent charge; $2385.26

Cash price; $25,981.47 plus tax and fees. (if paid in full by Dec 15) 

That is the basics but there was a LOT more to it than this. I still had 15 (one due on date of delivery but didn't process until 3 days later)  payments remaining on the 40 kwh so Ray had make those 15 remaining payments, then buy the car, then use equity in the car to apply to this deal.  So what Ray can do for you may not resemble what you see here but he is quite the math wizard! 

TCO Analysis

Ok, it's obvious that more range requires a greater financial commitment.  The Money factor is much higher than the 40 kwh lease but then again, car loan rates have gone up. Its much harder to find the 1.9% lease deals that my 40 kwh had. Starting from scratch, you may be able to swing a better deal but with my 40 kwh commitment complicating matters, this actually becomes quite the deal.

Other things to note; If you don't know, NCTC (Nissan free 2 year charging promotion) ended in July.  

But it's all about what I got and how much better it suits my needs and desires over the 40 kwh. It will take a while to make a real evaluation on that but that doesn't stop me from giving you initial impressions of the car! 

New (for me) for 2019! 


Just kidding on the donut comments. On my test drive, there was a light rain so the road was wet. I didn't want to spin tires so I got a rolling start up to about 20 mph, then stomped the accelerator and still lost a bit of traction anyway.  Ah, well.  Nice to have I guess. Might try it again next Summer during the Les Schwab tire sale.

Back up Camera

Still has that "got water in my eye" issue at times but this has to be the perfect example of "not knowing what I was missing out on until I saw it" type of thing.  The view is definitely an improvement! 

The predictive lines are back? 

E Pedal Mapping

This is a change from my 40 kwh. I constantly shift from Eco B to E Pedal using the latter for stopping, quick decelerations and standing at lights. As soon as I take off, I switch back to Eco B. Using this method, I am averaging less than 5 brake pedal decelerations a week.  I noticed that the power mapping on the pedal is more aggressive in Eco B over E Pedal so swapping over creates a bit of a leap forward. E Pedal now resembles "Super Eco?" for lack of a better term.   Now that I know its going to happen, I simply adjust my pedal pressure to compensate.  Will be interesting to verify max regen for all modes again.

Steering Wheel Heater

The 2013 LEAF received all kinds of complaints from people who said their steering wheel heater got too hot. I personally loved it. Yeah, it was very warm and I liked it. Really made a difference on those sub freezing mornings. Sadly, Nissan listened and my 2018 (my S 30 didn't have it) they turned the heat waaaaay too far down. It barely got over lukewarm. Well, ok it probably wasn't that bad but it was a HUGE difference.  

But the E Plus got it right. Its warmer than the 40 kwh but cooler than the 2013. Its still on a timer but unlike the previous versions, this one seems to stay at the same temperature all the time. A very nice surprise! 

Android Auto

Ok, I admit I didn't have it so didn't know much about it so I watched the ipad video and it was pretty cool.  I am now able to connect the phone and it does the rest...literally.  I remember back in the day how difficult it was to setup your bluetooth with the car. Android Auto does it automatically.  Now why it does, I don't know because your phone has to be plugged into the USB port to run Android Auto. No setup involved. Plug it in and a few seconds later, its ready to go.  (It is apparently a standard app installed on my phone because I didn't even know I had it.) 

 And you paid how much for the maps update?? 😁

Decent list of features. I like the Amazon Music link. Its a pain to launch from 
phone while on the move. 


No, I don't have the tech package. Yes, I have the cheapest LEAF Plus you can get. The only option is the climate package but now WiFi is available on the Plus.  It took all of 20 seconds to connect the car to the home WiFi so no more going to the dealerships for software updates. You can now do it from the car! 

 Eventually, the novelty will wear off and I will stop checking daily 😎




I could write a book on the things Electrify America is not getting right.  The "side saddle" layouts,  the lack of parking queues, unfair billing,  Chademo slights, etc.  Well, lets add another to the list; Inconsistency. Armed with 100 KW charging, the first thing I did was seek out the station with the rep of being "The fastest Gun in the West!"  Western WA that is.

This means I p...p...p..p..p.p.ppppppaid for a charge! 😲

But that is not always a bad thing.  I do wish it was a "farther away from home" thing but I was able to pull 200 amps with the knee at 45% SOC.  The charge rate did not drop below 125 amps until 68.8% SOC.  FYI; that just exceeds the capacity of a new 40 kwh pack. (533 GIDs)


Less than one minute (charge timer in upper right corner at 47 seconds) into the charge, LEAF Spy is reporting 36% SOC. Car was reporting 25% SOC.  Looks like the hidden reserve will be setting all time records here. I haven't been down that far to investigate (it's a looooong way to get there) but trust in the fact that if you want over 200 miles of range, you will either drive blind or get LEAF Spy.

Notice I plugged in right about when new 24 kwh
LEAFs would be unplugging? 😏

The charge session lasted 22 minutes, 31 seconds (yes billing is prorated)  and I received 23.3 kwh based on EA's receipt.  a $4 monthly subscription would allow me to charge at 18 cents per min.  With an average charge rate of 62.1 KW, this would save me a LOT of money over my 40 kwh average charge rate that had a rather large mostly  downward range but was normally around 40 KW.


The car is heavier by 300 lbs and you can feel it. I did drive it around 5 days with tires at "dealer" settings but they are now back to 43 PSI. (I added air and simply reduced 2 of the 4 to the lowest figure. I am so lazy...)

The short time that I have had the car (just over 300 miles)  hasn't really given me a lot of opportunity to evaluate performance. The weather has changed a bit to boot but I am getting a sense of maybe a .2 mile per kwh hit. I know part of it is simply having "too much range to burn" along with new car interior windows which fog up much faster.  I will know more after the gassing of the interior materials has subsided and the Fog X treatments have been applied.

I do feel like the car is more stable at higher speeds. I did a cruise down the freeway to Centralia to check the charging knee at 124 amps. More on that later.  Even at 80 mph (For all you LE people reading this, I am lying) the car felt rock solid.

Public Charging

My NCTC runs out Feb 15, 2020 so I plan to take advantage of the perks as much as I can.  During that time I will be investigating methods to reduce my fees as much as possible while maintaining usability of the car.

Preliminary results have been very encouraging.  I checked the knee at Centralia (it charges at 124 amps, one of the fastest Webastos in the region) and was happy to see the knee at 66.37% SOC.  This was in spite of a cold pack where starting battery temperatures were in the low 50's.  If you followed the link above, you know I blogged about the relationship between starting battery temperatures and the charging knee on my 40 kwh.  The colder the pack, the lower the knee. Observed knee range varied from 47 to roughly 63% which best results happening when pack started at the mid 80's. 

Now it would seem obvious that the larger pack would accept more charge and heat up less. That didn't quite work during the jump from 30 kwh to 40 kwh but the 62 kwh pack has been quite icy the entire time I have had it.  Only charging over 73 KW brought the pack into the 90's. 

I received 22.07 kwh in a 30 min session on EVGO @ 120 amps (for 26 mins) and batt temps went from 53ΒΊ to 68ΒΊ.  That was SHOCKING in a very good way!

Needs, Wants and Desires

Sorry I don't have more details but I have only had the car 5 days. There will be much more to follow.  Even after reading this blog, some of you will still be wondering why I took on so much additional financial responsibility for what many perceive as the same car with the same basic issues. I get that but no matter whether I bought the 40 at the end of the lease for an estimated (starting from today) $15,300 (based on $300 in fees) or this car for an estimated $29,400, I would still be in the market for a car 5 to 7 years from now.

The real question now becomes how do I get my additional $15,000 of value from the E Plus?  Is that even possible?  I think not.  Cars are a depreciating asset so unless you have a Ferrari 625 (only two were ever built and the location of both is known so no 2 million dollar payday for you) you will lose money on your auto investment EVERY day.  Now, you might not lose it at the rate of $10,000 a year like early Model S owners but it will still be a loss.

So the real question now becomes what is an acceptable loss?  Early LEAFs dived in value quite quickly and anyone who did not fully expect that doesn't understand how emerging technology works. By far, my cheapest (and most reliable) LEAF was my S 30. Charged at full speed past 80% SOC, shrugged off high battery temps like Bezos faced with a +2 Billion NFL franchise price tag.  $245 a month lease payments, $9100 residual, that was under $18,000! But the odds of buying it was zero. It didn't have "buyable" range when I got it and despite it having all its range when it was killed 29,413 miles later, it simply wouldn't work for me long term.

But the E Plus range promises to be quite viable 7 years from now and beyond. I am guessing I will see a similar degradation pattern so expect my one year review to be a deep dive into the mechanic of my first year 5% capacity loss (yep, bigger battery so slightly less loss πŸ˜‰)

So the next time you see me cruising around town in my shorts and t-shirt navigating my E Plus thru the snow on the ground, wave.  Seeing me at a charger might not be nearly as easy to do.  A picture is worth 10,000 words so instead of explaining this paragraph, I present my drive home from Campbell Nissan. I think it says it all 😊

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

November 2019 Drive Report; Another Early Lease Termination. Farewell 40; Part One

Betting this headline has your head full of questions!

Question; What happened? Another accident? 

Answer; Not all unexpected early lease terminations are a bad thing.  Yes, my 2016 lease terminated in month 14 of 36 was a bad thing. Simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But this time, it's all about being in the right place and knowing the right person! 

Question; How can we have a monthly drive report when the month is not over? 

Answer; Well the Month of November is over for my 40 kwh LEAF. It is now on its way to a very deserving family! 

The Battery

Now that the "adjustment" for October is more than a month overdue, I have to think it is just not going to happen.  Maybe my diligence in keeping SOC below 75% most of the time has paid off? I have only been over 85% 4 times in the past 4 months. Each time it was when plugged into the free Voltas at Capital Mall while watching a movie.  In fact, twice I charged to 99%.  But other than that; I have keep it between 20 to 70% and it would seem my pack likes it. If you recall, on my last negative adjustment in April, I was on track to be about 56% SOH at 100,000 miles, a shocking rate of degradation for a pack of this size. 

But then came July's adjustment and for the first (and only) time, my stats went up. Other than this event, I never saw even a .01% rise in the numbers in any of my daily checks.  

Deep Dive Degradation Data Details

Many Teslatonians also reported that their packs seemed to lose a chunk of capacity early then seeing the rate slow down considerably.  Could it be that the car simply learned the driver's habits and now provides a more accurate estimation of range?  That wouldn't surprise me since Tesla knows everywhere the car is going, terrain, weather, driver style, etc. But for a LEAF? Especially an S with no telematics so no active way of tracking the movements?  A Bit stretchy I think. 

The Adjustments

If you follow my blogs, you know I was seeing rather large adjustments every 90 days based on the build date. These adjustments covered over 90% of my capacity loss to date.  I lost chunks of capacity in April, July, October 2018,  January and April 2019.   But then July 2019 happened and the numbers went up.  How shocked was I?  We all know that the battery stats tended to bounce up and down based on our charging/driving habits. It seemed the more you drove, the higher the numbers would be. Fast charging seemed to bounce the numbers up as well.  Granted, all those increases were temporary and returned to their previous levels after a few days of "normal" driving. 

That all changed with my 40 kwh pack. I track my battery stats EVERY day recording miles driven, miles/kwh,  Ahr, SOH and Hx every morning before the first drive of the day.  Before and after that July 2019 adjustment, I had never seen ahr or SOH go up. Not even a tiny bit. Not even one time. 

Just like that I was almost back to the level before the April 2019 adjustment.  Why it happened, I haven't a clue. It did coincide with the start of warmer weather but we all know weather is one thing, baking the pack on a QC is another version of the same but more severe.  Since the RapidGate software fix didn't happen till August 1st, it wasn't that either. If anyone out there has theories, bring them on! Love to hear them. 

Degradation Trends

As mentioned above, I was tracking degradation rates every 1,000 miles projecting SOH @ 100,000 miles which was obviously picked as it would be the deadline for any warranty claim.  I was on pace to be at 56.25% in April. That has risen to 70.16% today  .  Coincidentally, that would be nearly identical to a new 30 kwh pack (ahr estimate 81.26)  But that assumes the average degradation rates for the next 75,000 miles.  Now anything could happen but recent trends indicate I would be much higher. 
From July 12 (the day after the July 2019 adjustment) to now, I traveled 4861.8 miles and lost .47 % SOH. That projects to losing another 7.23% @ 100,000 miles putting me at 85% SOH.  So is that a realistic projection?   I think it's not. 

Of course its anyone's guess as to what could happen between now and then but if I look back at just the last 2 months (which coincides with my deciding to charge only on DCFC or free public level 2) back to September 20th. I have driven 2064.9 miles losing .12%.  That projects to an additional 4.35% loss or  87.88% SOH @ 100,000 miles. 

Of course, its possible that the negative adjustments could come back at any time but I think the July jump signified the BMS overdid itself or something and gave it back.  I would like to think it was my world class battery management techniques that righted the ship! But.... I did the same process last year and it didn't do any good. I guess better late than never? 

One final note on the battery; The negative AND positive adjustments I saw were also seen by many other LEAF drivers. Truth be told, most people don't check their stats often enough to fully verify the every 90 days interval  but there were people out there that took measurements enough to verify they were seeing the same things as me. 

The Final Countdown

Notice the 200 L2's.  At least 100 was due to my "only charge in the morning" experiments. I was plugging in for roughly 90 mins every morning before heading out to work.  At any other time, I was mostly QCing.  I also "double dipped" a few dozen experimenting with my charge timer. When the timer is set you will get a "charge event" when the EVSE is plugged in and another charge event when the timer goes off. 


I was seriously thinking about buying this LEAF (first time LEAF buyer!) but still had caveats. Either the battery had to degrade quickly enough to reasonably guarantee I would get a warranty replacement or slow enough that it would last at least 6-7 years which meant 100,000 to 120,000 miles.   So I pretty much had a "no buy zone" of 70% to 80% SOH projection at 100,000 miles. Over 80% and I could manage with that. Under 70% and I would find a way to get the required degradation.  And yes, I will admit the $9655 residual was a very strong pro buy point that was hard to ignore.


No down payment. I made 21 payments of $382.94 totaling $8041.74.

With my balance, I could have bought the car for $23,294.60  all in.  This is a slight rise (due to rent charge) from the $22,8ish I could have paid had I bought the car before the first payment was due. 

But I didn't make it that far so if looking at lease/cost basis its 31.9 cents per mile.  Not too bad but of course, there are other expenses like maintenance... oh, wait. Wasn't any of that. I did buy wiper inserts and had planned to swap them in but since I now have new wipers, that expense will transfer.


Now, I suffered tremendously thru 2 leases (the only ones I actually completed) without NCTC so starting with the 30 kwh, I kinda sorta went hog wild on the freebie thing. I did plug in occasionally mostly last Winter so did rack up a bill (about a 3rd of which was public charging fees) of  $134.19 but that barely changes the TCO calculation... :) 


I only have a few months left and will be taking advantage for sure but my 40 kwh sucked in 4632.8 kwh courtesy of Nissan perks. I also collected another 268 kwh from free level 2 charging mostly from Volta at Capital Mall. 


All in all, a great car.  The range is sufficient to cover even extreme commutes. The worst efficiency I saw was about 105 miles on a charge but that was driving in monsoon conditions on the way to Portland. Typical WA winter drives saw 120 on the lower end.   Despite the capacity loss, I still did several 150 mile drives this past Summer on a charge without issues.  I know there is a lot of talk about TMS and why Nissan doesn't have it but its becoming clear to me the issue is less the heat and more the SOC.  This led me to the conclusion that more capacity is what I needed but not for road tripping. More capacity allows me to live in the middle of the SOC range much easier.

IOW; the deadly combination you want to avoid is high heat and high SOC. High heat alone won't do it. When I noticed my degradation rate dropping off (easy to notice when I just "dash it" when the numbers don't change and I am looking at whole pages of dashes where the  numbers might change 4-5 times) I decided to not charge at home for road trips.  Twice I started 400 mile trips with an SOC UNDER 20%. Needless to say, it didn't take long for my pack to get hot and stay that way.

This created a lot of firsts for me.

First time ever seeing power restricted due to heat (happens when  you get over about 132ΒΊ)
FYI; I only lost about 6 of the 16 power segments. In my day to day driving, I could lose 8 of them and never know it. I simply don't drive like that.  (unless I am showing off)

First time at 12 temperature bars.  Not really a big thing, except I did it about 5 times including 3 times on one trip.  Interesting note; Before the RapidGate update, I couldn't even hit 11 temperature segments simply because the QC rate drops to nearly nothing when the pack gets hot.  Last year at North Bend,  I charged at 14 KW and the temperature DROPPED from 124ΒΊ to 122ΒΊ!

Despite all that, the degradation rate stayed low. So if you want to preserve your pack simply don't overcharge.  Charge to what you need and no more and yeah, some days it will be a full charge but most of the time its not.  So if you can make it work at 80% do it. 70% is even better.  Without custom charge settings, its a challenge to manage but after testing, I found it takes only a few days to figure it out. If you are like most of us, your driving needs fall into a range that is no more than 20-30 miles wide. 

Moving On

By now you have all guessed my next blog will be introducing the newest member of the family.  Some of you might be wondering what it is while others of you might have already guessed since I have dropped several hints on Facebook, MNL, etc.  I haven't settled on a title for the next entry but a few proposed and rejected;

"One For The Thumb"  Sounded good at first until I realized it was the Pittsburgh Steelers War Cry the year they Beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Definitely don't need reminders of that!

"Some People Never Learn"  Kind of a joke but implies that mistakes were made which is far far far from true.  Any purchase decision requires weighing and balancing several factors. I think I scored on this one and I will tell you why!.... Soon.

"If You Are A Deserving Family, Go See Ray!"  I think that one speaks for itself.  😎