Print 85 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Jul 26 at 8:47 PM

The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery

The Nissan Leaf is a top player in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, but one major issue that sometimes plagues these vehicles is the battery -- and the Leaf's battey seems to be taking a lot of heat.

Leaf owners in Arizona have recently complained that their EVs are losing significant capacity in the desert's hot heat. In fact, Arizona Leaf drivers Scott Yarosh and Mason Convey have both testified to this claim.

"When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip," said Yarosh. "[Now] I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge."

Both owners said they've lost about 30 percent of their battery capacity since purchasing their vehicles. Even when their batteries are fully charged, two to three of the 12 lights on their battery capacity gauge are out.

Both owners are very meticulous about how they care for their Leafs. There is absolutely no sign of abuse, as both were able to produce dealership service records with high marks.

"We want to learn more about what's going on, but it's something we've just been made aware of, and we don't have any conclusions yet," said Perry.

The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even predicted that Nissan's cooling system would fail the Leaf at some point back in August of 2010.

Musk said that Nissan's Leaf employed a cheaper air cooling system that would make its battery temperatures jump "all over the place," where cold temperatures would degrade the battery while hot temperatures would shut it down. Tesla, on the other hand, uses a high-end liquid heating/cooling thermal management solution.

But for those who are still avid Leaf fans, there's great news if you live in California or Washington. Dealerships in these two states are cutting about $5,000 off the price tag for a new 2012 Nissan Leaf. The MSRP is usually $37,250, but with the $7,500 federal tax credit, the $2,500 California clean-vehicle purchase rebate, and now the additional $5,000 off, the price for a brand-new 2012 Leaf is only about $23,000.

Sources: CBS 5, Green Car Reports

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

What a deal!
By Motoman on 7/19/2012 11:51:07 AM , Rating: 4
Only $23k for a car that can go up to 44 miles on a charge! And when it comes time to replace the battery, that's only like $6k!


RE: What a deal!
By FITCamaro on 7/19/2012 11:57:06 AM , Rating: 5
Silly person right here. Wants to drive places in his car. Pfft.

RE: What a deal!
By chripuck on 7/19/2012 12:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
Silly person right here. Wants to drive places in his car. Pfft.

Agreed, until electric can go 100+ miles on a charge AND be quick to recharge it will never catch on.

RE: What a deal!
By Guspaz on 7/19/2012 12:52:27 PM , Rating: 3
The base Tesla Model S can do up to 160 miles on a charge (the high end model can do 300 miles on a charge, although EPA testing showed only 265 miles).

In terms of charging, the fast charge mode on the high-end model gets you about 150 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. So, presuming a charging station is available where you're going, you can drive for three hours (at 60 MPH), stop for lunch, charge while eating, drive another three hours (at 60 MPH), and end your trip with theoretically 90 miles left in the "tank", having travelled 360 miles.

RE: What a deal!
By rdhood on 7/19/2012 1:32:45 PM , Rating: 1
So, presuming a charging station is available where you're going, you can drive for three hours (at 60 MPH), stop for lunch, charge while eating,

LOL. Your example is nothing more than fantasy.

RE: What a deal!
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 2:43:59 PM , Rating: 1
What's funny is that your average Tesla owners driving habits are totally opposite Mr. Fantasy World's.

RE: What a deal!
By mcnabney on 7/20/2012 9:48:10 AM , Rating: 5
You'r right.

Real world driving is even more in-line with EVs.

Drive 25 miles to work, charge if you have a cheap EV with mileage under 40.
Drive 25 miles home. Charge overnight.

Your typical 2 car household could easily replace one commuter car with an EV and keep the gas-powered minivan for trips.

RE: What a deal!
By EricMartello on 7/20/2012 7:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
Nice, but consider this:

Standard 40 mile range under IDEAL conditions. Oh look, it's winter. The temps are now below zero.

Full-Charge Cold Weather EV Range: ~25 MPH

Why? Because the batteries discharge faster under their rated loads when below the low side of their operating range. Net result = reduced range and possibly reduce battery life due to "deep cycling".

Winter is over, now it's summer. Man it's 100 degrees today, better top of my EV and head to the beach.'s so hot that the battery's effective capacity has been slashed by 40% or more. I can barely make it to the Wawa around the corner and back.

My point is that BATTERY TECH is preventing EV from becoming a practical commuter vehicle when compared to vehicles powered by chemical fuels. There is no comparison to anyone with a rational and logical mind.

Standard gasoline and diesel cars:

- Cost less.
- Less complex, easier to maintain.
- Far more reliable and predictable in a variety of conditions.
- Still economical if you go for something like the Chevy Cruze Eco or any of the VW/Audi TDI models.

EVs do not "reduce carbon" so if you were going to say "But, they don't spew out toxic gases" guess again. Electricity production is still mainly fueled by coal. If most people were driving EVs and charging them daily, the load on the grid would increase proportionately and so would the emissions. Quite frankly, the tailpipe emissions from a modern car are much cleaner than what comes out of a coal-fired power plant. Add to this that electricity would also become more expensive across the board due to increased demand.

By the way, you can real world examples of this on a small scale at any electric R/C car track. Ask the owners how much they spend on electricity to run multiple charging stations to charge little 3300 mAH battery's not as cheap as you think it would be. Battery charging is one of the most INEFFICIENT uses of electricity we have - far worse than incandescent light bulbs.

Ask the people racing their R/C cars how an overheated battery pack can't hold a charge or can actually go "dead" if they attempt to charge it while it's hot. These are both NiMH and Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery packs - most EVs are using NiMH, with LiPo being lighter and having a higher power well as a tendency to explode if not kept within tight we're not seeing EVs with LiPo batteries any time soon.

RE: What a deal!
By JKflipflop98 on 7/20/2012 9:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're mostly correct, however electric cars are less complex and easier to maintain than an internal combustion engine.

RE: What a deal!
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 7/21/2012 10:56:38 AM , Rating: 2
- Less complex, easier to maintain.
- Far more reliable and predictable in a variety of conditions.

Wrong. Electric motors are much simpler and lighter than otto or diesel cycle engines. Also, electronic components are typically far more reliable than mechanical components. How predictable is a bad tank of gas that clogs the fuel filter, or a bad batch of diesel requiring a fuel rail purge, or a snapped serpentine belt that causes the alternator to stop spinning, or a snapped timing belt or chain that causes your valve heads to crash against the cylinders?

RE: What a deal!
By EricMartello on 7/21/2012 6:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
Electric motors are simpler conceptually. The EV powertrain is not simpler than the typical mechanical powertrain in a standard gas or diesel vehicle in terms of real world troubleshooting and maintenance. The motor itself is controlled by electronics and electronics can and do fail.

If you purchase your fuel from a busy gas station the chances of a "bad batch" are virtually non-existent. In fact I've NEVER had this happen to me and I log thousands of cross-country miles per year for my rally racing events.

Even if you did get a batch of fuel that is so bad that it managed to clog the fuel filter...diagnosing the problem and replacing the fuel filter is something just about any mechanic anywhere in the country can do in half an hour.

A snapped belt is just as easy to fix, and a timing belt/chain is a bit more involved but still a relatively easy fix. None of these would leave you stranded waiting for a part from the manufacturer, or require you to go to an "authorized dealer" for repair.

The examples you cited have nothing to do with the engine's implemented complexity. They are routine maintenance and potential failure issues that a small portion of people may experience. I've never had any of the above happen to me, but then again I take good care of my vehicles by myself.

If an EV motor stops working it could be any number of potential issues, most of them will be electronic in nature which require specific and proprietary tools to diagnose and repair. The car will likely require specially ordered parts to repair and the availability of said parts is going to be limited...i.e. not at your local Napa shop.

Electric motors are not lighter than their gas/diesel fuel-powered counterparts of similar power ratings. Most hybrid and EV motors are in the 40-60 HP range - the 40-60 HP range can be serviced by a gas engine with 600cc displacement weighing in around 150 lbs. A small block V8 can weigh below 500 LBS and produce in excess of 500 HP. When it comes to power to weight ratios, electric motors cannot compete. Oh, and don't forget to add the weight of the battery pack in when totaling up the weights. Figure 100-200 lbs for batteries depending on the vehicle.

On last thing to note is that people often talk about electric motors having full torque at 0 RPM - true...but if you look at a dyno of the specific electric motors used in hybrids (PMSM) the torque curve plummets as the engine speed (RPM) increases. That's the tradeoff, otherwise it would be high torque with peak RPM under 2,000 and prohibitively high weights. Pretty much fail in terms of performance when compared to a decent V6 or V8 that maintains its full torque across its power band and can spin up to 7,000 RPM or more.

RE: What a deal!
By Richard875yh5 on 7/24/2012 12:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
I can tell you as an EE that electric motors can run 24/7 for decades and I have seen many go that far. You can not tell me an ICE can do that!

RE: What a deal!
By EricMartello on 7/24/2012 6:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's a very ambiguous statement, and even if it were more specific it would be irrelevant because cars are not driven 24/7. They are driven periodically.

RE: What a deal!
By Richard875yh5 on 7/25/2012 6:43:18 PM , Rating: 2

Your reasoning does not make sense. You can put a spin on my remark by saying it is ambiguous. There is nothing ambiguous about reliability.

RE: What a deal!
By EricMartello on 7/26/2012 8:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
Stating that an electric motor can run 24/7 without specifying the type of motor, it's environmental conditions and its purpose makes it ambiguous - especially since we are talking about cars here.

As far as cars go there are plenty of them which do hundreds of thousands of miles and still keep going - taxis, police cars.

To be more general, industrial diesel engines can run non-stop reliably for decades in construction, farm and marine equipment - all harsh environments. Many of these are with minimal maintenance due to tight operating budgets.

RE: What a deal!
By lexluthermiester on 7/23/2012 11:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
EricMartello's points cover most of what I was thinking except two.

1. The timing belt issue. Almost all cars made in the passed 15 years have zero interference valves. IE, they never come or can come in direct contact with the cylinder heads. A broken timing belt requires only that the engine be reset and re-timed, in addition to a new belt.

2. Bad fuel. Because of regulation requirements now in effect nearly the world over, bad "batches" of fuels are nearly non-existent. The fuels would have to sit unused and neglected for years before becoming so fowled that they would cause any serious damage to an engine/fuel system. But then, if you were to put those kinds of fuels in your vehicle, you deserve the results.

RE: What a deal!
By AnnihilatorX on 7/25/2012 5:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
Did you even read the article, the 40 mile range is the non-ideal one under desert heat. The ideal range is 100 miles

RE: What a deal!
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 7/21/2012 10:52:14 AM , Rating: 2
Fast charges degrade the battery and require rather a large electric circuit, and at this point outside of a few subsidized public locations or corporate lots the only ChaDeMo chargers I'm aware of are at Nissan dealers.

Me, I'd rather see production solid oxide fuel cells that can run on gasoline, diesel, LNG, et al. incorporated into cars with electric powertrains. A SOFC that has 50+% conversion efficiency coupled with an 80+% electric powertrain could squeeze double or more the range out of a gallon of gas, and have the electric powertrain benefits (simplicity, robustness, reliability, weight savings) along with the benefits of hydrocarbon fuel (energy density, mature/robust infrastructure, consumer acceptance).

RE: What a deal!
By lexluthermiester on 7/23/2012 11:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
SOFC's are very expensive, and for a full size sedan can cost in the area of $9000. However, your point is very valid in that the SOFC is much better the full EV's battery system.

RE: What a deal!
By invidious on 7/19/2012 3:10:01 PM , Rating: 4
Chemical batteries just don't recharge as fast as auto consumers expect them to when used as a car's main propulsion, and thats unlikely to change anytime soon. For fast charging you are talking about capacitors which dont have anywhere near the energy density to sustain long trips.

Also the really of the situation is that a chemical battery powered car is not an electric car at all, it's a fuel cell car. Sure a chemical energy can be refilled with electricity, but a true electric car would not use chemical conversions. If you are using chemicals anyway I think a removable fuel cell is a better than a rechargable fuel cell. This way when you need to recharge you just swap one out for a full one (at a gas station lets say) and your done, it would probably even be faster than pumping gas.

The only practical electric car would one that is powered by a connection to the grid from the road that it is driving on. Just like the electric trains that have been in use for decades. The car could still have a battery/capacitors for driving off the grid for short durations, but the vast majority of driving is on roads anyway. The decreased weight of not having huge battery arrays would make the car much more efficient. And the small batteries that the car would have would not be the primary means of propulsion so they wouldn't degrade as fast.

This is all very theoretical and there are lots of technical challenges to overcome. But I just don't see the point of modern EVs and I don't see the point in using tax dollars to subsidize a market for bad technology. I am an electrical engineer and I would love to see kick ass electric cars, but what we have right now does not kick ass. Tesla's offerings are very cool, but they cost 3 to 4 times as much as a gas powered sports car, making them nothing more than a rich man's novelty.

RE: What a deal!
By Dr of crap on 7/19/2012 3:21:18 PM , Rating: 3
Bravo - I agree totally.

BUT to electrify the roads would cost MORE than a Tesla.

Although the fuel savings could be made up in a few years as everyone swithced to the new EV cars and the really reduced NEED for gas!!

Also you could do like the New Deal from Roosevelts age and put people to work building the new infrastructure.
HA, could you see that!!!! Never happen now days!!!

RE: What a deal!
By Ringold on 7/19/2012 10:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
The amount of metals, some rarer then others, needed to electrify the roads of the whole nation.. I got to wonder if that doesn't start to get in to the range of being economically feasible to extract from the Earth's crust in any sort of useful time frame, without also starving the rest of the worlds industry.

RE: What a deal!
By FITCamaro on 7/20/2012 7:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Unless we can make concrete conduct electricity, that just isn't going to happen.

RE: What a deal!
By esteinbr on 7/19/2012 4:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
Fast charging isn't just a matter of having batteries or super capacitors that can handle the charging rate and have the proper energy density. It is also difficult to just provide that much power to the vehicle safely. You end up talking about current and voltage levels that would only be worked with by highly trained electricians in any other setting.

RE: What a deal!
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 7/21/2012 10:47:59 AM , Rating: 2
Next he'll want to be able to use his iPhone to make phone calls!

(I seem to remember a bunch of potshots from the peanut gallery who said the Volt's active temperature management system was overengineered and overpriced, I wonder who's making those comments now?)

RE: What a deal!
By kattanna on 7/19/2012 11:58:00 AM , Rating: 5
Only $23k for a car

with an additional $14k being provided by you, me, and other tax payers

so.. we have been signed up for it whether you wanted to or not


RE: What a deal!
By cladari on 7/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: What a deal!
By FITCamaro on 7/20/2012 7:11:13 AM , Rating: 1
He didn't say it was the same. He said the rest of us who don't want these vehicles are paying for them regardless of whether we want to or not.

RE: What a deal!
By bebimbap on 7/19/2012 12:17:16 PM , Rating: 1
$23k is so misleading it's almost just a bold faced lie.
$7,500 federal tax credit, doesn't mean you will get $7,500 rebate check from the IRS. It means IF you owe the IRS more than $7500, they'll knock that off.

In simple terms the car is still $30.5k for everyone that earns less than $60k /year because of all the deductions you would get otherwise.

Just be very careful when talking about "rebates" or "credits" as they are two completely different things to the government.

RE: What a deal!
By chripuck on 7/19/2012 12:24:29 PM , Rating: 3
Wrong, tax credit is a line item on a tax return. If the IRS would normally owe you 2k and you get the 7.5k tax credit then you will get 9.5k back.

RE: What a deal!
By MadMan007 on 7/19/2012 12:54:54 PM , Rating: 2
Almost. It depends on whether it's a refundable tax credit or just a tax credit. The former is in fact 'refunded' and can itself result in a refund of the credit amount as in the example you stated, the former can only reduce tax liability to $0. I didn't look up which type this one is.

RE: What a deal!
By borismkv on 7/19/2012 12:57:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's a refundable credit.

RE: What a deal!
By Church of Dirac on 7/19/2012 12:57:23 PM , Rating: 3
No, you are incorrect, bebimbap had it right.

Be very careful with this as you may not get the full $7500 depending on your circumstance. The tax credit is non-refundable and does not carry over. Meaning you must claim it in one tax year, and you can’t carry over any benefit into future years. IN General – if you have $7500 in tax liabilities after all your deductions, you can claim the full credit. Someone making about $56,000 a year with only a standard deduction (no kids, mortgage etc) will generally be able to claim the full credit. However, if you have significant deductions from kids / house, etc – you might run into trouble. On way of doing a quick check is to see how much you owed the IRS in taxes last year (assuming this year your tax circumstances didn’t change materially). This is not the amount you paid or got refunded, but the total tax owed. (This is on Line 44 last year of your 1040)

RE: What a deal!
By borismkv on 7/19/2012 12:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
There are two types of tax credits. Refundable and non-refundable. Non-refundable tax credits work as you say, but refundable tax credits are paid in full regardless of what is owed. The electric vehicle tax credit is a refundable tax credit.

RE: What a deal!
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 2:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
The electric vehicle tax credit is a refundable tax credit.
No, it's not. See the link above.

RE: What a deal!
By KentState on 7/19/2012 12:21:58 PM , Rating: 3
I can get a Versa for $14k and have $9k to spend on gas. At an average of 31mpg combine, I can go nearly 80k miles. Seems like a lot of compromise to have a limited range tiny electric car.

RE: What a deal!
By toffty on 7/19/2012 12:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Been driving my Leaf for 6 months now and still loving it (I'm in Colorado).

I have driving 100 miles in a day and still had energy left and at 2 cent / mile it only cost me $2.

Actually it was free since I have solar panels on my house's roof which makes enough electricity to offset and make money powering both my house and car.

So, sure, I can't drive to the next state with the Leaf; but I didn't when I had a gas car so no big deal. Honestly if I did have to, i'd just rent a car for the day which still saves me money overall since I won't have to pay for either the millage (from service or depreciation of vehicle value) or the rest of the year's gas - I'm still saving 4x the money compared to my Prius on gas (Prius was 8 cents / mile fyi)

RE: What a deal!
By Breathless on 7/19/2012 12:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
But how much did your solar roof cost you?

RE: What a deal!
By toffty on 7/19/2012 2:13:00 PM , Rating: 1
20k after fed rebate -- thanks! -- but i had it installed prior to owning the car so the savings is only another benefit!

I wish they'd require all new houses to have at least 2 kw solar arrays. It'd only add about $8k to the price and the US would be much better off energy wise.

And yes I know if it's cloudy there won't be as much (it's actually suprising how much I still produce on cloudy days though) but as more energy is from individual points, power companies would become power storage companies instead of power making companies.

RE: What a deal!
By lexluthermiester on 7/23/2012 11:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
And solar cell technology is constantly evolving. The panels on your roof, if made with todays tech, would likely produce 2.4 kw for the same or less price. There are some that have higher conversion ratings, but are very expensive. Still, solar panels as standard equipment on homes is simply a grand idea. And best of all the source of energy is totally free and always on!

RE: What a deal!
By nolisi on 7/19/2012 1:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming a 10k miles/year average, your 2 cents a mile ends up costing you $200/year while it costs a car that averages 30 MPG $1166 assuming a $3.50/gal price (which I think is best case scenario for most of the country (~$1333/year @ $4).

I drive an Escape hybrid myself and don't feel like I've traded anything for the extra price I paid (I would've paid a few thousand less for a v6 Escape). I've had it for 3 years and as of right now I don't see anything in any class that I would want to take on a new car payment for. I am considering the BMW 3 series hybrid when it comes next year, or possibly waiting a year longer for the Tesla Model X (although right now, I'm more inclined to take the 3 series depending on the mileage figures). I'll probably wait to see what the X looks like at release, because I'm having a hard time letting go of the utility of my FEH, and I average 3-4 MPG better than EPA city estimates. In other words- I'm very happy with this car.

The honest truth is that I would like to buy an EV now, but the leaf would be too crippling for *my* driving pattern. I travel >150 mi round trip frequently enough that the hassle of renting would negate the savings. Forget long trips, I'm having a hard time seeing one as practical until I can do a full days driving and make it back home on a single charge (which is why I'm staring at the Model X).

I'm glad this works for you though.

RE: What a deal!
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 2:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
The owners I know get about 90 miles. And they're driving pretty slow to get that too. What's your average speed?

RE: What a deal!
By HrilL on 7/19/2012 6:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
That is not a bad choice for someone like myself. Santa Barbara doesn't get cold or hot so I'd likely get the 90 Miles while I'd only need 25 for a round trip to work and home. Got solar panels on the house...

Then again the whole smug factor of owning one of these is a put off and I don't typically care about saving the air since the manufacturing and recycling of the batteries is likely more harmful than what a typical car produces. I'll pass.

One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Arsynic on 7/19/2012 1:47:35 PM , Rating: 2
...and we'll all be the better for it. Now is not that time.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By toffty on 7/19/2012 2:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is the time actually; just not mature enough for very hot climates like Arizona.

It's heat that kills the battery. Here in Colorado the climate's perfect for battery cars and there's no fear of the engine not starting with an electric in really cold weather =D

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 2:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
It is the time actually; just not mature enough for very hot climates like Arizona.
LOL! You just contradicted yourself. If EV's can't handle hot climates like present gas cars can easily, then they're NOT ready.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By toffty on 7/19/2012 3:32:31 PM , Rating: 1
No contradiction at all.

How 'bout in Alaska. Gas cars don't start all the time in the winter when the oil in the engine freezes. Not the case with electric cars. So ICE vehicles are NOT ready following your logic.

By Pneumothorax on 7/19/2012 5:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
by toffty on July 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

No contradiction at all.

How 'bout in Alaska. Gas cars don't start all the time in the winter when the oil in the engine freezes. Not the case with electric cars . So ICE vehicles are NOT ready following your logic.

Battery total capacity goes to hell in the cold lol.

Most of the smart people up there have engine block heaters or heated garages so no cracked blocks or sludged oil. Advantage of ICE is just as long you don't take too long at your destination, your engine will stay warm for quite some time, or better yet you can keep it running WITH THE HEAT ON. Try driving a leaf at sub zero weather with the heater on and we'll see how many of the 100 miles you'll get.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 6:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, how bout in Alaska where EV's range to severely reduced to being almost non-functioning. Sure you can start them but they can't go anywhere. BTW, not just oil freezes and there's these things called block heaters that keep gas cars fluids warm. You do know that people in cold climates have been driving gas cars for decades, right? That problem has already been solved. Has anyone solved the reduction of capacity of batteries? Didn't think so. Not ready for prime time and, YES, you DID contradict yourself.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By mcnabney on 7/20/2012 9:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
Modern EV batteries have sophisticated temperature controls when NOT running, so cold isn't an issue.

By Dr of crap on 7/20/2012 10:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
So when it's -30°F the sophistcated system that keeps the battery warm is powered by ------??
Yep that's right it powered by itself, again reducing the range that it can get in extreme cold!

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Alexvrb on 7/20/2012 1:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
Engine oil doesn't freeze at Alaskan temps, but it does get thicker. They don't use parrafin wax in motor oils anymore, modern oils are really outstanding. Besides, if you live in a cold climate, you're going to be using something like fully synthetic 0w oil (such as 0w20, 0w30, 0w40 depending on desired viscosity once at operating temp). This makes for much easier starts in cold climates, combined with a strong battery and good starter motor.

Modern gasoline engines do just fine, really. Don't even usually need a block heater for a gas motor, unless you're impatient and don't want to let it idle for a bit. Diesels have a bit more of an issue, because the fuel itself can gel/crystalize. But properly blended winter diesel fuel is pretty good, and if it isn't sufficient there are additives/treatments, and there's always heaters.

But if you think that's bad... you have no idea how crappy the performance of the battery pack in the Leaf would be in really cold temperatures. Others have already pointed that out though. Even better EVs and Hybrids with superior battery cooling/heating systems would still have to waste some power regulating the battery temp (in this case, heating it and keeping it warm). So it's not all roses for EVs, either.

By Bad-Karma on 7/20/2012 3:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
Back in the early 90s' we took our EC-130Hs up to Eielson AFB to teach our crews and maintenance guys how to keep the birds flying under extreme cold weather conditions. At the time it was well below -30F with the windchill.

Always remember seeing a maintenance guy stationed there striking this black rod about 3" round and a couple off feet long on the pavement. Little chips would break off and he'd gather them up in an old coffee can. Then he places it over on the exhaust manifold of a Aircraft start cart. We asked him what he was doing and was floored when he replied; "Thawing out some axle grease!"

Later on they even demonstrated how a heavy piece of steel became brittle from the cold. Guy struck it with a mallet and the thing fractured almost like glass.

I know this isn't quite on the tread subject but just wanted to add to your post that there are a lot of other factors to keep machinery running in the extreme environments. But even down here in the lower 48 weather can get down below -50F in places like Yellowstone.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By kmmatney on 7/19/2012 3:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in Centennial CO, and it's been pretty damn hot the last few weeks... can't say I could ever buy a leaf, at least not as my only car. I need something that can take me to the mountains and back at the very least.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By toffty on 7/19/2012 3:38:14 PM , Rating: 1
I agree it has been hot but unlike Az, it's not 100 degrees for 8-10 hours, only for about an hour or 2. 100 degrees isn't even where the damage to the battery starts; it's at about 110-115.

Colorado's a perfect climate for air-cooled EVs.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Vidmo on 7/19/2012 3:07:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's heat that kills the battery. Here in Colorado the climate's perfect for battery cars and there's no fear of the engine not starting with an electric in really cold weather =D

When was the last time you could not get your car started in the cold and what was the root cause?

HINT: The battery.

Good luck with that Leaf in the 100+ temps CO has had this summer along with the raging cold it will see this winter. I predict your Leaf battery won't make it to see 2014.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By toffty on 7/19/2012 3:29:29 PM , Rating: 1
Yes it can get those extremes but not for extended periods of time. Also if the battery does 'die' in 2 years it's still under warrenty.

For your information as well: The battery is made up of 20 or so cells. It'll usually be a cell that goes bad (not the entire battery) so it's not as costly (~$500)

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Spuke on 7/19/2012 6:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
For your information as well: The battery is made up of 20 or so cells. It'll usually be a cell that goes bad (not the entire battery) so it's not as costly (~$500)
For your information, they don't replace the cells, they replace the entire pack and only when you experience a certain amount of capacity reduction.

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By toffty on 7/19/2012 3:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'll also address your comment about not starting in cold weather. I've seen plenty of ICE vehicles unable to start where I work due to frozen oil in the engine. No chance of that with an electric car. The battery, while it doesn't hold as much in cold weather, has no problem providing the energy needed ;)

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Vidmo on 7/19/2012 3:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Wow didn't know you worked in -30F temps. You must work in Gunnison.

By Dr of crap on 7/20/2012 8:23:58 AM , Rating: 3
OK, so the battery powered car is able to "start" for lack of a better term. And you can drive all of what 5, 10 miles at -30°F. Yea then your precious Leaf is standed.
AND here's the best. I've heard you can't tow these things. Anybode else heard that?

So now you have to pay to get it put on a trailer and huled to get it recharged so that you can WAIT FOR SPRING WEATHER to use it - HA!

RE: One Day They'll Get it Right...
By Arsynic on 7/19/2012 3:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the time because you shouldn't have to think about climate when purchasing a car. What if you move from NY to Arizona. Do you have to trade in your car?

*chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By jharper12 on 7/19/2012 12:39:27 PM , Rating: 4
So... where are all of the people who touted the Leaf's cooling system as being superior to the liquid heated and cooled system in the Volt?


Good, use this time to reflect on how you can shift from a Nissan Leaf fan to a Chevy Volt fan. Called this years ago with Elon, and it feels good.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By Jedi2155 on 7/19/2012 12:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
It was a huge reason why I did not go with a Leaf (not to mention the range). Volt with its HVAC controlled battery FTW.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By Keeir on 7/19/2012 2:44:02 PM , Rating: 3
But the liquid coolant system in the Volt, if in a major accident and the coolant and battery are not drained properly could lead to a fire after a few weeks!

I don't think anyone familiar with Lithium Ion batteries considered the lack of a proper thermal management system as a good idea.

Nissan has had to add a heater and insulation for cold temps, and now it appears something to fix the heat problem.

For clarity, Arizona may have the problem first (within 1 year!), but if you live anywhere the Temps get above 95 on a regular basis, you will experience faster battery degradation.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By jmarchel on 7/21/2012 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 2
In a major accident car is totaled anyway. Insurance will know to drain the battery since they own the wreck.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By toffty on 7/19/2012 2:54:39 PM , Rating: 3
I don't need that ICE though and would rather not pay for it.

I have a Leaf now and my mom, who's older now, is looking forward to buying it from me in a few years - she only drives around town. At that point it'll be interesting to see what BEV (battery electric vehicle (aka no ICE)) vehicles will be available:

BMW i3
Tesla S, X,, BluStar
Nissan Leaf
Infiniti LE
Ford Focus, C-Max Energi
Mitsubishi iMiev

In the above list only the Leaf and, i beleive, the iMiev are air-cooled battery. They rest are liquid cooled which would help in hotter climates. Here in Colorado, all are equally feasable.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By Keeir on 7/19/2012 8:54:13 PM , Rating: 2

While the Leaf's battery may hold up significantly better in less hot regions, it's important to remember the real problem reported here is that the Leaf's battery is losing more than -15%- of its rated capacity in under a year of use.

If the same trend continues for these regions, the Battery pack would have less than 50% of its capacity left after 5 years and only 27% at the end of 8 years.

The other regions (Outside Arizona, Texas, etc), while not having significant numbers of capacity loss report yet, might be experiencing capacity loss faster than expected. Since the Leaf doesn't indicate the capacity loss until it hits 15% you as an owner would not know for sure unless you carefully track daily mileage predictions versus energy expenditure.

Nissan predicted a linear adjusted loss rate of ~5% per year. You may be losing 8% per year and not be informed for 2+ years, but the difference between 5% per year and 8% per year is fairly significant. In the 5% per year senario it takes 8 years to pass a 50 mile range. At 8%, you pass the 50 mile range at 5 years.

All in all, I would be very concerned if I was a Leaf owner. 15%+ is a very significant loss and creates reasonable concern that any higher temperatures/low temperate situations will result in faster degradation than the 5% predicted by Nissan.

RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By Keeir on 7/19/2012 8:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
RE: *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*
By Dr of crap on 7/20/2012 8:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the Chevy Volt - those are just flying off the lots - EVERYONE wants one - NOT!

These things are in the early stages, and they do not "replace" the ICE car. There are some who can use them. And if you can afford the Volt go ahead and try it. These EV, hybrids, at the time, cannot replace the reliable ICE for a MOST drivers.

If they work for you - good, go ahead and get them - but PLEASE to do try and force them on us!!!!

And for those of you that sprew info on extreme cold not knowing what that cold is like, please stop!
I live whre it gets -30°F and crazy things can happen. Unless you have experienced that cold for yourself, do not try and tell me what can heppen. I can tell you cars do not start because of reduced capicity of the batteries power at that temp. I have had it happen to me. Now what do you think will happen with a car that ONLY moves by battery power??

Stupid question
By bug77 on 7/19/2012 12:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
There's already a radiator that cools the ICE engine. Why not make it cool the battery as well, instead of adding yet another system?

RE: Stupid question
By Brandon Hill on 7/19/2012 1:06:10 PM , Rating: 3
Think about what you just said for moment... I'm sure it'll come to you...


RE: Stupid question
By bug77 on 7/19/2012 3:51:35 PM , Rating: 3
Can I -6 myself?

RE: Stupid question
By Kurz on 7/19/2012 1:32:41 PM , Rating: 2
Besides the fact there is no ICE in the Leaf...
The typical temperature of the coolant coming out of a ICE engine is typically 180-200 Degrees F. Much hotter than the Air in Arizona.

Look around
By Elchuso on 7/20/2012 3:46:33 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see the point to spend millions on a technology that needs subsidies just to survive.
If you are not able - as Company - to survive on "open air", just forget it.
Prices of electric cars in Europe, are a lot higher, and business does not ramp-up.
As a matter of fact, Renault had to stop one of his production plant shifts due to lack of demand for the brand new (microcar?) TWIZZY.
In my country, people prefer to spend 12K Euro on a good 1.4 or 1.6 liter compact diesel than on a still complicated and expensive hybrid or EV.
You can get a really good mileage out of those cars and - of course - a unlimited range to travel.
They are reasonable clean and easier to maintain.
Just a question .... Why petrol cars instead of Diesel ?

RE: Look around
By bobsmith1492 on 7/20/2012 1:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Diesel cars are more expensive, smelly, and not as responsive.

RE: Look around
By Elchuso on 7/20/2012 1:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever seenod driven a new EUROPEAN diesel car ?? It seems not.
They have more torque at low RPM, so far more responsive.
Smells and fumes are a thing of the past. With new particle filters and catalizators they are "almost" as clean as a petrol counterpart.
Have you ever stand at the back of an accelerating petrol car ?? They emmit a "rotten eggs" smell worse than any new diesel.
Regarding more expensive. Perhaps against a petrol yes; but far more responsive and less cunsumption.
I was comparing diesel price against Hybrid/EV prices. They are far far cheaper, and almost same mileage as a hybrid, providing you have a careful drive.

By stlrenegade on 7/19/2012 4:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
"We want to learn more about what's going on, but it's something we've just been made aware of, and we don't have any conclusions yet," said Perry.

Who's Perry?

RE: ??
By Rankor on 7/19/2012 11:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering the same thing.

shouldn't even sell them there.
By zephyrprime on 7/19/2012 3:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
They shouldn't even sell electric cars in hot climates or cold climates (because too much power is needed to heat the car in winter). Honestly, the only places that should have the car are temperate climates. The makers aren't too keen on limiting their market though.

Designed to fail
By Shadowmaster625 on 7/20/2012 9:09:35 AM , Rating: 2
Take an internal combustion engine with its liquid cooling system, and replace it with an electric motor and a battery that requires its own liquid cooling system? That is just so boneheaded... Only someone blinded by greenie propaganda could ever believe such a design could succeed at anything other than wasting resources.

power budget
By Gunbuster on 7/20/2012 9:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
I find it pretty funny that in a 100% electric the car will be devoting its HVAC power budget to the battery instead of you.

I test drove a Volt in the winter and found the heating pathetic and it was a relatively mild day. I cant imagine what a freezer or sauna the leaf must be in extreme conditions.

23k is low enough to
By overlandpark4me on 7/22/2012 1:16:20 AM , Rating: 2
make up for the savings in gas, but with the cost of battery replacement, it's not worth the risk. What made them think air cooling would suffice? That car would cook in my area too. Kansas has been running in the hundreds for weeks

By Richard875yh5 on 7/24/2012 12:19:48 PM , Rating: 2
I had a feeling that when the Leaf came to market with it's uncontrolled battery temperature, it would be a failure. Nissan rushed the Leaf to market so they could have bragging rights, but it's now backfiring.

Leaf short battery life
By Richard875yh5 on 7/25/2012 7:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
I remember about three years ago at a major car show when the Volt first came out, a Japanese was promoting the Leaf at the show and was telling the audience that the Leaf was good for 135 miles on a charge. Nissan was also advertising it online.

GM at the time was saying 40 miles on a charge with the Volt which turned out quite accurate. If GM had exaggerated that much, the media would have have a field day. It's to show how much bias there is with the media.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki