2013 Nissan Leaf: 75-Mile Range 'Anticipated' In New Test By EPA

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2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

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It's the last piece of information on the new and updated 2013 Nissan Leaf electric car that everyone's been waiting for: its range.

The projected number, Nissan says, is 75 miles--but that shouldn't be compared to the 73-mile range of the 2011 and 2012 Leaf models.

That's because the EPA changed the test procedures it uses to calculates range for electric cars for the 2013 model year.

Before this year, the range estimate assumed a battery pack that was charged to 100 percent of its capacity.

Many electric cars--the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S among them--offer owners the ability to limit charge to 80 percent of capacity.

While this reduces range, it also prolongs battery life and takes disproportionately less time, since the final 20 percent of a battery pack tops off at a slower rate.

The EPA's new testing procedure averages the ranges achieved from an 80-percent charge (known as Long-Life Mode charging) and a 100-percent charge (called Long-Distance Mode charging).

For the 2013 Nissan Leaf, the maker estimates those ranges to be 66 miles and 84 miles respectively.

So comparing last year's apples to this year's gives a range improvement of 15 percent, from 73 to 84 miles--even though that's not what will appear on the window sticker.

The improvement in apples-to-apples range is largely due, Nissan says, to improvements in the Leaf's regenerative braking, reduced aerodynamic drag, and a slightly lower vehicle weight.

So, the range of the 2013 Nissan Leaf is either 66 miles or 84 miles, or a number somewhere in between--depending on how you charge the car.

The default charging on new 2013 Nissan Leaf electric cars is set to Long-Distance Mode, though owners can easily reset that default to Long-Life Mode.

Nissan notes that regardless of charging mode, its battery capacity warranty--added in December after a few high-mileage Leafs in very hot Phoenix lost notable battery capacity--guarantees that at least 70 percent of battery capacity will remain after five years or 60,000 miles.

To give the battery its best shot at longest life, however, owners may elect to charge only to 80 percent when they don't expect to travel more than 60 miles in a day--especially in the temperate climates where there's no winter weather to reduce range below projections.

The official EPA range ratings should be released by early March, Nissan says.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

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Meanwhile, it's permitted to put the projected range rating(s) on the window stickers of the 2013 Leafs now being built in Tennessee and shipped out to dealerships all over the U.S.

Prices for the 2013 Nissan Leaf start at $28,800 for the base Leaf S model, rising to $34,840 for the SL model, plus a mandatory $850 destination fee on all models.

The Nissan Leaf qualifies for a $7,500 Federal income-tax credit for the purchase of a plug-in car, as well as various other types of state, regional, local, and corporate incentives.

Nissan hopes the lower prices and improved range, performance, and equipment level will boost Leaf sales in 2013 from their previous levels between 9,000 and 10,000 a year in 2011 and 2012.

We've long said, "Your mileage may vary"--will we now begin saying, "Your range may vary"?

Most likely.

How do you feel about the 2013 Leaf's projected range of 84 miles (at 100 percent charging)? Was it the increase you expected?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (28)
  1. I am very confused here. If this is true therefore other EV without changes for 13 model should have less range but apparently range is the same
    2012 FFE 76 miles 2013 FFE 76 miles
    2012 iMiEV 63 miles 2013 iMiEV 62 miles

    Is Nissan Leaf discriminated here?

  2. I believe neither FFE or iMiEV have 80% long life mode, so no change in EPA rating.
    Yes, IMHO the LEAF is being discriminated against. The range is 84 miles.

  3. Mr. Burton, no need to be confused. This is to present to the consumer what the manufacturer recommends as to options to extend battery life. That way, when I go to buy a Leaf with an expected 100 mile range I get to know more details. Oh, you forgot to place a period at the end of your last sentence. You must text a lot.

  4. If I wanted to know the EPA range of the 2013 LEAF, I’d expect to be told 84 miles. How will EVs without a “Long-Life’ charge mode be rated, at the 100% number only? This rating change makes no sense.

  5. It may not be a huge boost in range but it is progress, that's the most important thing. It's improvement through evolution which the electric car has not had the benefit of unlike the internal combustion engine.

  6. Thanks for the clarification.

    One the one hand, kudos to Nissan for getting an 11 mile range improvement. I've had situations where that extra 11 miles would have made a big difference, so for that and the 6.6 kW charger, I'm looking forward to upgrading when my lease is up in 2014.

    On the other hand, EPA needs to re-think its method. Averaging two different charge states is meaningless to the user. They should report the 100% charged range and let users take 80% of that if they want to know the long-life range.

  7. it's time to get real world mpg numbers for every automaker. hyundai, nissan, toyota,... even tesla are wrong about their mileage estimates. this is such a nigerian scam in the auto industries.

  8. Telsa has always stated clearly that their range estimates were at 55mph for the Model S. That's a good, legal, highway speed 20 years ago but now(since the dumb Republicans in '95 let states decide speed limits) 55 gets u honked at on most freeways...even if u r in the slow lane!

    Hyundai just flubbed the tests I think...

    Toyota? Why Toyota?

  9. Would you know if they used the 5-cycle test or the 2-cycle test with an adjustment factor like in previous years? I always thought that the (full-charge) EPA range would be around 82 miles. Someone on MNL took the old 2-cycle ranges, which adjusted for the new MPGe figures, yielded exactly 84 miles. While that's exactly on the money, there are several additional factors to consider, and I would like to learn more details before speculating any further. There are several aspects that don't seem to add up. http://bit.ly/Xmcrpg

  10. What a crazy idea by the EPA... it only adds to confusion!! if they wanted to be helpful they would have broken it down to 66 miles for an 80% charge and 84 miles for a 100% charge. Nissan must be going nuts over this internally!!

  11. 80% charge rate and 100% charge rate?

    Why stop there? Why don't we list the range by temperature (F)? 104 degree, 77 degree, 50 degree, 23 degree, -4 degree? Those would be "real world" numbers...

  12. It seems that it would be less confusing if the EPA number was the range when the car is charged in it's default setting and if it has an "extra range mode" also list the range in that mode.

    I imagine that the average consumer doesn't necessarily worry themselves with "long-life mode".

    But anyway - why does the RAV4-EV use the "average" range while the Model S uses the "range-mode" range? Shouldn't the EPA be consistent here?

  13. I always use the long life mode to recharge my 2012 Leaf unless I am going further than the 80% will take me. My numbers are just about the same as the EPA's depending on AC use and interstate traveling.

  14. Must be disheartening for Nissan to see its efforts to improve the Leaf's range partly negated by the EPA's decision to sort of punish EV makers that build in a Long-Life Mode charging option.

    It's understandable that EPA wants consumers to have a more accurate picture of the range but that's influenced by many factors besides SOC like temperature, speed and battery wear. So maybe every EV makers should be obliged to publish tables of range estimates covering a wide range of parameters to give consumers proper insight in what to expect. In fact with so many parameters involved it should probably be a computer app.

  15. Yes, there absolutely must be more transparency when it comes to range figures. I bought into the 100-mile talk, and so did many other early adopters. It would have been better if we had relied on the EPA rating instead, as this would have resulted in more realistic expectations. I think the EPA is now being extra conservative, and while it can be disappointing, we will see fewer dissatisfied customers. If you factor in battery aging and the effect of cold weather, it's probably a good think to play it safe. I don't want to play an apologist for the EPA. On the contrary, and I really hope that they approach EVs and PHEVs more thoughtfully in the future. They need to find a better way, hopefully it won't be long.

  16. The EPA numbers are just what I get with my 2012 Leaf. Around 65 to 70 miles for most of my usage in the long life mode and 80 to 85 with 100% charge depending on AC use and interstate speeds. About 90% of my charging is in the long life mode. I generally average around 50 miles a day.

  17. 80-85 MPH range with the full charge at interstate speeds??? Are you sure Nissan didn't put a few extra battery modules inside your LEAF by mistake?

  18. A range of 84 vs 73 is a 15% improvement. That's an amazing improvement for any vehicle with a mid cycle refresh.

    I expect and hope for an additional 30% range improvement when the Leaf is redesigned in 2015/16. That would put the second gen Leaf at about 110 mile range. Maybe even a range of 150+ miles will happen.....

  19. I believe 75, 66 & 84 mile ranges have nothing to do with "how you charge" but solely based on MPGe and a 21.75 kWh 'usable capacity'. Long-Life Mode (80%) & Long-Distance Mode (100%) are Nissan terminology for State of Charge (SoC) levels. To my knowledge EPA hasn't made statements on Charge Modes for test purposes.

    2013 LEAF
    City Range: 84 miles = 21.75 kWh / 25.9 kWh/100 miles * 100 (for 130 MPGe)
    Highway Range: 66 miles = 21.75 kWh / 33.0 kWh/100 miles * 100 (for 102 MPGe)
    Combined Range: 75 miles = 21.75 kWh / 29.0 kWh/100 miles * 100 (for 116 MPGe)

    EPA Rating: 116, 130, 102 MPGe Combined/City/Highway
    Consumption**: 29.0, 25.9, 33.0 kWh/100 mile

    Consumption**: kWh/100 miles = 33.7kWh/gal / __ MPGe
    EPA Gallon = 33.7 kWh/gal

  20. 2012 LEAF: for comparison based on same 21.75 kWh & 2012 MPGe values.
    City Range: 68 miles (31.8 kWh/100 miles for 106 MPGe)
    Highway Range: 59 miles (36.6 kWh/100 miles for 92 MPGe)
    Combined Range: 64 miles (34.0 kWh/100 miles for 99 MPGe)

    Consumption**: kWh/100 miles = 33.7kWh/gal / __ MPGe
    Range: miles = 21.75 kWh / __ kWh/100 miles * 100 (80% would be 17.4 kWh)
    EPA gallon of gas is stated as: 33.7 kWh/gal for MPGe

  21. @Brian,

    Thanks for the breadown. It is "shocking" to see the huge improvement in city numbers between 130 and 106. I guess the "better regen" really made that much difference... I kind of "doubt" that regen can make that much difference.

    The HWY difference is probably due to the better aerodynamic.

  22. The heat pump in 2013 LEAF uses ~1/3 energy in moderate climate conditions, but probably closer to 2012 edition in more cold weather.

    In addition to electric updates to charger (both 3.6 & 6.6 kWH), other components like the inverter had minor updates. Somewhat speculation on my part as changes to packaging are obvious, but have not seen schematics, nor component details inside of units.

    Looking at city vs. highway test graphs provides insight into speeds & amount of stop/go for each EPA test cycle.

  23. Brian, great info, thank you. Is that from the EPA filing? I'd be curious how to get hold of that. Someone did that for the 2011 LEAF, and the document contained valuable info: http://www.smidgeindustriesltd.com/leaf/EPA/

  24. Yes, MPGe values are from EPA site:
    2013 data is from: http://NissanUSA.com/LEAF

    EPA data all EV data:
    2012: see page 27 of http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/pdfs/guides/FEG2012.pdf

    2013: see page 26 of

    Graphs for EPA's Detailed Test procedures; showing speeds & drive cycles:

  25. This is frustrating to the informed buyer, the automaker, and in-turn the uninformed buyer.

    This 'method' of rating the battery is actually discouraging auto makers from including an 80% charge mode. Include the 80% charge mode and your 100% and 80% range will be averaged. Don't include the mode and your 100% range is used?

    This is worse the EPA test not factoring in the engine shut-off technology. Beneficial to consumers, beneficial to real world results, looks bad on paper.

  26. I didn't have any expectations that the 2013 LEAF would have significantly improved range. A better display, though.

    It looks to me like the real-world range of the 2013 will be very close to the same as the 2011-2012.

    "… improvements in the Leaf's regenerative braking, reduced aerodynamic drag, and a slightly lower vehicle weight." Not enough to make much difference in ordinary driving.


  27. This is indeed what a recent autonomy demonstration by Tony Williams and couple of volunteers has shown: http://bit.ly/XzjHPk

    Observations: The 2013 car did substantially the same range as the 2013 car tested on Feb 22, 2013. The 2012 car performed very similarly to the 2012 car used as an comparison example in the Feb 22, 2013 test.

    Conclusion: Two separate 2013 LEAF's have failed to exceed the range of either 2012 LEAF tested, and may actually have less range in these parameters.

  28. I know I've whined about this a long time, so I'll keep it short. Don't repeat my mistake and buy/lease a Leaf if you live in the Arizona Desert. Have a nice day. :)

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