Thursday, April 14, 2011

CU burned by Leaf

Consumer Reports bought a Leaf.

Thinking that a range estimate of 30 miles meant close to 30 miles, Jon Linkov left home with a kid to drop off at daycare and a commute to the office.

17 miles later, he was in turtle mode.

About 17 miles from startup, the potential range indicator had become three blinking dashes. I realized I was not going to make it to work, and decided to get off the highway. As I exited the Leaf entered "Turtle" mode, complete with a small, green turtle indicator light. I proceeded to limp the next 1.3 miles into town. The final humiliation came when a highway department mower passed me.

I can hear the true believers yelling at me already, since I didn't charge the car overnight. The thing is, we're charging all the plug-in cars at our facility, on 220-volt chargers that can log exactly how much just our cars are using. Planning a 46-mile round trip when the car suggested I had 60 miles available didn't seem too much to ask.

Range anxiety isn't a bugbear invented by the oil lobby.  It's real.  And Nissan really needs to refine their range estimation algorithm, because this is the sort of thing that fuels consumer backlash.

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