The route will be 90% freeway. I decided a Thursday would be best for minimal traffic. Heading down in mid morning, spending enough time in town and heading back mid afternoon, I would miss any rush hour traffic. Only real requirement. The destination has to be less than 3 miles off the freeway.
I used cruise control set to 65 mph and only needed to bump the speed in 1 mph increments up and down to account for traffic. Over half the trip the speed limit was 70 with 60 in Olympia, Tumwater, Centralia/Chehalis and Vancouver/Kelso.
SOC; GOM Verses LEAF Spy
It should be well known that the dash info is not a good tool to use for a range test. Recently someone did a range test in the Plus stopping at 1% SOC (maybe it was 2%) to charge figuring that they had really "risked it for science" by going that far. It took me several minutes to recover from my uncontrollable bout of laughter which is why when anyone asks the best method to extend the range of the LEAF, my answer is "Get LEAF Spy."
Now the reasons should be quite obvious. Despite both being labeled "SOC" they don't even run on the same scale. The GOM runs 100% to Zero (or "_ _ _" which does appear after 1%) LEAF Spy runs from about 98% to 1.5% and both LEAF Spy numbers are dependent on cell balance. The highest charge I have ever gotten was 99.3% but typical is the mid 97's to the low 98's. The lowest 1.4% so the range of LEAF Spy's SOC meter is essentially less than 97%. Now we know that LEAF Spy shows "real" SOC and if the GOM showed "usable" SOC, I would be OK with that, but it doesn't.
So what I did is record the LEAF Spy SOC every time the GOM SOC ticked downwards. I was able to capture each reading as the GOM updated except for 7 but at no time did I miss more than one reading (IOW, I caught 77%, missed 76% and caught 75%) I used the dictation program on my phone so it was simply a question of logging the data into a spreadsheet after I got home.
Now LEAF Spy only shows SOC in .1% increments but does not actually calculate it that way and there were a few times when LEAF Spy incremented a split second after the GOM so I took the lower reading in those cases. This means a .1% variance is possible.
Points to Ponder
** In ECO mode, I had an estimate of 251 miles but in D mode, the estimate was 235 or just a touch over EPA. LEAF Spy estimate was 252.2 miles at 4.5 miles/kwh and 1% SOC (my average over past 3 days before test was 4.4 miles/kwh)
** At 88.0% SOC, Both the GOM and LEAF Spy AGREE!!
** At 59% SOC GOM/ 63.0% LEAF Spy, the range estimate agrees (LEAF Spy set to 4.3 miles/kwh to match GOM)
**The largest gap happened at 22 and 21% when the gap was 10.7%. This a radical change from previous versions of the LEAF which includes the 40 kwh LEAF where the reserve continues to grow all the way to zero which means...
** The GOM seems to run in 3 distinct phases; The first incrementing .8 or .9% from 100% changing to .7 or .8% in the mid ranges and then starting at 20% SOC, over 1% until the final gasp where its a 1.8% increment from 1% to ZERO.
** The data
There are many scientific reasons why we should not charge beyond our needs. We all know full charges increase the rate of degradation but the ideology that 80% is a golden number is also wrong. You want to stay around 50% SOC as much as possible for longest life. But I recently came across a LEAF Spy screenshot that I was convinced was altered or "something"
Notice something here? Ok forget the ultra tight cell balance, the HUGE degradation, etc. Look at the lower left corner; 100% SOC??? WTF!!! This explains the degradation issues.
Has anyone ever seen anything like this? I was shocked when my 40 kwh pack charged to 99.3% It only did it once and 2nd highest was 98.54% The rest were in the 97% range. In an effort to see how high I could go I bumped my charge twice (unplug when charge is complete and plug in to restart) and got no more than 98.3% (poor top end balancing I guess? This was only the 2nd time at 100% per dash. The first time was when I picked it up from the dealer)
But this "playing with fire" should be enough to make anyone nervous. Just another reason why charging to full on a regular basis is a bad idea and should only be done when the need is that great and immediately after the charge is completed. The reality is BMS/LBC programming is apparently still work in progress!
On my Winter Range test of sorts, the end balancing of the pack too much longer than expected so I unplugged at 98% SOC. The car was only charging between 4 to 7 amps so wasn't missing a whole lot. Well, the same thing happened here. I get roughly 10% per hour of charge and the timer was set to start at 4 AM and add about 36% of charge. At 8:30, I checked it expecting to be finished and it was still charging this time around 8 amps. Ok, this was familiar.
98% implies that there is still nearly 1.5 kwh to add. My meter which only shows one kwh increments did not change but its maximum error could be 1.5 kwh so we will consider that if deciding to upgrade the meter some day. BUT....
Hitting The Road!
So after completing the charge AND bumping it twice, I am now at 100% SOC per the GOM and my range... has gone down. Yeah well, its the GOM, right!
So everything was set...except for the weather. It was raining. The weather stated 40% chance of rain so it was kind of a coin flip. Taking off, I decided to aim for downtown Vancouver instead which was a 15 mile shorter drive round trip. The wet roads lasted until around Castle Rock, then we flipped to partially cloudy skies and by the time I got to Vancouver, the A/C was on.