2011-10-12 03:42:01 UTC
thoroughbred race horse to a farm ox.
I didn't have an EV1, but I did have a Honda EVPlus for six years. It
is much more reasonable to compare the Leaf to the EVPlus and I think
my experience qualifies me to do so.
In the six years I had my EVPlus, I never had to opportunity charge
once. I used my Infiniti G20/EVPlus as a gas electric hybrid
combination. When I needed to drive beyond the range of the EVPlus I
took the G20. The G20 got used for about 2000 miles a year while the
EVPlus went about 10,000. During the final two years of the EVPlus,
my commute was 70 to 90 miles (depending on errands) round trip a few
times a week. This commute went from downtown San Jose, CA up a
couple thousand feet over a hill and back down to Soquel, CA. Two
miles of that trip were on city streets with lights, the rest was
highway (65mph limit on the flats, 50mph limit on the hill). Based on
my experience so far with the Leaf, I would never attempt this
commute. For range, the way I drive, the Leaf can't hold a candle to
the EVPlus. Its interesting that Honda advertised 60 to 80 mile
range. Nissan implies 100, but the documents they made me sign when
buying the car were much more realistic.
For instrumentation, the EVPlus was much simpler and far less
distracting. The Leaf has all sorts of fancy charts, graphs, and
icons, but in my opinion all but the speed and state of charge are too
distracting to be useful while driving. The distance to empty gauge
is inaccurate at best (I suppose it is accurate when it reads 0, but
it simply shuts off before it gets there). I drive nine miles of
level highway each morning with the cruise control set at 66mph. When
I get on the highway the distance to empty gauge reads 94 miles. Each
mile I drive, the gauge drops between three and six miles to between
55 and 58 when I get off. I can understand it taking a mile or so to
figure out I'm driving at 66 with cruise control on and adjust the
gauge accordingly. Why it is still unable to figure it out nine miles
later is beyond me.
The distance to empty gauge in the EVPlus was both simpler and more
intuitive. It was a horizontal bar chart labeled from 0 to 120
miles. There was a green bar that indicated how far the car could be
driven in its most efficient mode. Superimposed on this was a yellow
bar that indicated how far the car could be driven in its current
mode. The green bar was almost monotonically decreasing (it
fluctuated a bit with regen). The yellow bar fluctuated quite a bit,
but I always had a good idea of how far I could go. I got this
information with a very quick glance at the gauge.
I can't stand Nissan's infatuation with beeping noises. At least the
incessant beeping pedestrian alert signal can be turned off as can the
beeps each time the doors are locked or unlocked. I simply don't
understand the need people seem to have to hear a noise associated
with each action.
For the driving experience, I prefer the Leaf (although a little
stronger regen would be nice for single pedal driving on grid-locked
freeways). I prefer four doors to two and the seating for 5 works
well for my lunch group. I absolutely hate having to decline to send
my information to Nissan each time I turn on the power. It should
remember my selection and provide another interface to change it. I
like the remote key and the backup camera. Visibility is great (about
the same as the EVPlus) and far better than my G20.
In the 11 weeks (minus two days) that I have had the car, I have
driven 2548 miles (about 34 miles per day) and I am averaging 4.0
miles/KWHr according to the display (actually, the one on the center
console says 4.1. I wonder if either is correct). I set the climate
control to 69 degrees and it keeps me quite comfortable. I do all my
forward driving in ECO mode, because I like the regen.
I am using my old MCS100 EVSE to charge the car. I replaced the old
AVCon plug with a J1772 that I got from Rush at www.tusconEV.com. It
comes on each night at about 12:15am and charges the Leaf to 80%
before shutting back off. If anybody has a spare one of these
MCS100's they want to get rid of, let me know. I'd like to install
one at a friend's house who lives at the edge of the Leaf's range.
If I could choose between the Leaf and the EVPlus, I think I would
choose the EVPlus. It didn't have all the frills, but also didn't
have any of the annoyances. Its range was enough better to make me
just that much more comfortable.