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Leaf of faith: Is Nissan's new car stranding owners?

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:12 PM
Original message
Leaf of faith: Is Nissan's new car stranding owners?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42133379/ns/technology_and_... /

Leaf of faith: Is Nissan's new car stranding owners?

'Turtle' estimates of miles left on battery not even close, they complain

Now that electric-powered Nissan Leafs have been driven by the first owners for several weeks, Nissan's claimed 100-mile range is being tested in reality. The result? Reports of Leafs running out of juice and stranding drivers with little warning.

Although the details in the complaints on the MyNissanLeaf forum differ, the common thread in each is the Leaf suddenly paring back the estimates of its range in the middle of a trip, ending in a brief "turtle" mode marked by an orange turtle icon on the Leaf's dash followed by the car shutting down to prevent battery damage.

The Leaf's software is supposed to give drivers gradual warnings as they discharge the 24 kWh battery pack, with several visual and verbal notices including a "--" on the miles-to-empty indicator before the turtle icon switches on. But that wasn't the experience of a Leaf owner from San Diego last month, who was the first to report a shut-down:

"Went from 17 to -- to turtle to dead in about 5 miles. 2.3 miles from dealer. 4.2 miles from home. Part of me is amused that I may go down in history as the first dumbass to drive the car into submission. But I am slightly shaky and upset as I thought there should have been no problem getting home."

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. The "turtle" was designed by the same guy who designed the Windows Progress Bar. n/t
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DoBotherMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. LOL!
:rofl: Dana ; )
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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm sure lots of folks were stranded in the first Fords when they came out.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Often, by flat tires
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 03:29 PM by OKIsItJustMe
(There's a reason the spare tires were so readily accessible on early cars.)
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Not to mention planetary transmission bands.
People were always crawling under the damn things to replace the bands.
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Kennah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. If I were financially able to buy a new vehicle right now ...
... the Leaf remains at the top of my want list.

I've been contemplating whether I should wait for the Ford Focus EV to support American workers, but I'm inclined to believe Nissan has done more than Ford on the issue of low battery warnings.

It's all still academic musings for me.
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. The Leaf doesn't have a genuine batttery meter.
Instead of telling you how much charge is left, the car tells you how many miles are left based on your past driving history.

I can see how that sort of calculation could break down. I hope in future versions, they put in a battery meter that gives actual remaining charge.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Wonder if that is available from the car computer via the OBD-II.


If so then it wouldn't be difficult for some geek to market a third party meter that plus into the OBD-II and shows true power levels.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Even a voltage meter takes some getting used to
(as you know).

Gas gauges settle gently into "E" at a constant rate. Below 80% charge (Li-ion), voltage takes a dive off the deep end.

You had better be very close to home.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'd rather see a study on HOW these cars are being driven (and charged)...
before taking M$NBC's word on some guy's experience.

Just because they propose a 100 mile range doesn't mean you should try to achieve that every single day. Batteries last longer when not discharged to the lowest, safest limit.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. The 100 miles was intended as a daily duty cycle.
when the car shuts off the batteries have roughly 30% capacity left. This is done to prevent deep discharge which will reduce battery life and also in the later years to provide consistent capacity. As peak power drops the reserve also drops making the car seem to have the same capacity year after year.

IF the vehicle can't do 100 miles a day every single day for 7 years then Nissan needs to adjust the firmware and update the specs to a new real driving range (90 miles, 80 miles, 60 miles).

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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. As I said.
However, I'm sure those with little knowledge of the subject will appreciate the factual tutorial you have provided.

My point was that we have no idea how this guy (if he's real and not just another "some people say" fabrication) charged and drove his car. Even with a fully charged battery pack, aggressive driving is going to get you nowhere near a 100 mile range. If charging was neglected, well, then it's just obvious.

Please note, the article did say the guy was less than eight miles between home and the dealership. Was he also 92 miles from work?

Given that these vehicles were road-tested all over the world, I'm thinking these failures are a confluence of factors, all due to owner negligence.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Based on the story his car indicated he had 17 miles and then died 5 miles later.
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 04:51 PM by Statistical
That at a minimum should be investigated. If anything the mileage estimate should be conservative. 17 vs 5 is too much of a variance. The computer pack didn't couldn't narrow it down to less than a 400% variance? If it said 55 miles and it died after 50 miles that is one thing but 17 vs 5 is unacceptable. Might as well just put a ? on the dash.

BTW I am not bashing electric cars. 2015 or so I hope to buy a Tesla Model S. I am just saying things like this should be investigated and if necessary the govt should force companies like Nissan to be more conservative in their estimates.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. And I'm saying, if he was driving it like a freakin' race car...
he used up seventeen miles of battery power in five miles. That's just how it works with electric vehicles.

Thankfully, Nissan can plug a laptop directly into the car's computer and find out exactly what he did and who is at fault.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Nissan already knows
the Leaf's "Carwings" interface is connected to Nissan anytime it's within range of a cellular tower.

Probably a little of both. A good idea to stick close to home when the range starts getting low, until you get used to how the battery discharges.
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. And when it does discharge, you better have a damp towel handy.

:rofl:

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Marblehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
12. I don't care
what this guy says, I still want one.
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
14. The dealer should have delivered the car with a full charge so people can at least get home
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 04:54 PM by cui bono
from the lot with their new car! However, it would be nice to have gauges that are more accurate.

I have a Prius and it tells you how many miles you have until you "run out of gas" (according to tests done by someone at a Prius owner site you actually still have 50-100 miles after the car tells you 0). And on my first long trip with my mom in the car it went from 11 miles left to 0! I was worried but luckily there was finally a gas station at the next exit, so I drove it slowly to the station so as to keep it in electric mode. Mostly I was worried about looking like an idiot for having run out of gas in a Prius! lol.

At least I could drive slowly in electric mode to a gas station, but if electric's all you got and it's gone... oopsie. Better fix that gauge!
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Have you no sense of humor?
:D
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Yes, see above.
:D

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