GM Volt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Vehicle Car Transport Minivan Hatchback

Following the Bob Lutz talk at the Woodward Dream Cruise / Chevrolet Centennial Celebration, my wife and I got into our Volt and drove to Dearborn, deep in Ford country, where Nissan had scheduled a drive event for the Leaf. We had our 11:30 appointment set, and Nissan was probably clueless about the Woodward Cruise going on when they scheduled the event.

When we arrived, the event was sparsely attended, with more Leafs (about 6-8) than people (3) lined up to drive them. We first got the sales pitch. More things are within a 100 mile round trip (assuming you get 100 miles range) than you realize. If you go on longer trips, you should rent a car. (Some very smart people I know do this with any car, to save the wear and mileage on their own car). We were told that running the climate control reduces the range by 10%, although I've seen photos online of the Nissan display showing " minus 20 miles" range if the A/C is turned on.

We got into the Leaf with 84 miles showing on the range display. After driving a short distance on Village Drive to the Greenfield Village entrance, we turned around and went back to the Automotive Hall of Fame lot where Nissan had the display. From Mapquest, I would estimate it at 8,500 feet (about 1.5 miles). The range display had dropped to 81 - I had turned the A/C on, both for my comfort and would see what it would do to the range.

After we turned from Village Drive with it's 25 MPH speed limit onto Oakman, the tour guide told me to floor it and get up to 45 MPH (in a 40 zone). It was quiet and got up to 45 in the short distance, but was no different than the Volt, and not as responsive as sport mode.

The shifter was not intuitive. The tour guide told me to "pull it toward you, then back". I did that and nothing happened. What she should have said was to pull it toward me, then rearward. After we were done driving and I had unbuckled my seat belt, I also noticed a red telltale with an exclamation point inside a triangle that was illuminated. I remember reading the Leaf Owners manual from a link at GM-Volt (http://www.nissanusa.com/content/dam/nissan/pdf/techpubs/leaf/2011/2011-leaf-owner-manual.pdf) , and I thought it was the EV system warning light (pg. 2-16), but I had confused it with the red master warning light (2-17). This red light comes on to tell you that another red warning light (the seat belt light in this case) is on - to me, it seems redundant and unnecessary. It is also confusing, particularly in light of pg 2-13, which talks about the EV system warning light and master warning light together, and it tells you to "immediately stop the vehicle in a safe place". (They also warn you that if you somehow swallow the tire sealant - goop - used in place of a spare tire, to drink a lot of water and immediately seek medical attention)

I asked the person answering questions what the red light with the triangle and "!" meant. He immediately wrote it off as low tire pressure. When I mentioned that the ISO standard symbol shows a tire, he immediately (and arrogantly) said that the Leaf sets a standard of its own, and the standard symbols do not apply to it.

My wife was less than impressed with the quality of the seats and instrument panel materials compared to our Volt, and noticed the storage area in the back is not flat.

Maybe I am biased toward loving my Volt (I admit I am), but my wife and I left the Nissan Leaf event less than impressed - particularly in comparison to how Chevy handled to Woodward Cruise event.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,501 Posts
When I really think about it, the Leaf hitting the showrooms around the same time as the Volt is probably one of the worst things that could have ever happened for the Volt.

Why?

Because the average Joe thinks they are the same category of car. In my informal surveys, the said Joe thinks the Volt is a cooler looking with less utility (4 seats only) 40 mile-only version of the Leaf.

Even car guys and techies don't realize that it can keep driving past 40 miles of charge.

And selling a BEV is a hard sale to average Joe.

Too bad the Leaf didn't come out a year or 2 later to avoid the confusion and all the senseless negativitiy of people saying, "what good is a car that can only go 40 miles!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,641 Posts
I drove a Leaf and was impressed. I thought Nissan had done a fine job in engineering a very nice electric vehicle. I didn't consider it because I wanted an EV that I could use for a variety of driving, including long trips. My only other vehicle is a full sized 4x4 that's great for camping and hauling stuff, but lousy for normal driving needs. Having said that, I think there is a place for both the Leaf and extended range EVs like the Volt. I hope they both are successful.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
I drive a Leaf many days a month. The range is nominally double the Volt's, but you want to keep a couple bars in reserve on the Leaf whereas you can run the Volt into CS Mode. Taking this into account, I'd say if the Volt's range is 40 miles the Leaf's range is about 60 miles. However, Nissan recommends that you only charge to 80%. If you do that then the Leaf's range is maybe 50 miles. Not that much greater than the Volt's. This isn't the case for me. I'm leasing so I just charge to 100% and don't worry too much about having the battery degrade faster.

The extra range is very helpful. For my driving there is a difference, and I'd love having 50% more range on the Volt. I can get to/from work with a 40 mile range but go somewhere during the day and you're beyond the 40 mile range but still within the 60 mile range. T

The quality of the cars isn't that close. The Leaf is an exercise in cost cutting. The Volt really isn't. If you want to know what I'm talking about, when you get into the Leaf the next time look at the steering column where the key would go, if the Leaf had a key. What you'll find is a place for the key covered by a piece of plastic. Just lots of stuff like that on the Leaf. There are also a few software issues.

But overall it's performed flawlessly and the car seems rock solid. In fact I'd say that overall, if you look at the discussions in the forums for the Leaf and the Volt, admittedly not scientific at all, the Leaf has had more but more minor issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Taking this into account, I'd say if the Volt's range is 40 miles the Leaf's range is about 60 miles. However, Nissan recommends that you only charge to 80%. If you do that then the Leaf's range is maybe 50 miles. Not that much greater than the Volt's. This isn't the case for me. I'm leasing so I just charge to 100% and don't worry too much about having the battery degrade faster.
I won't feel too sorry for Nissan when the bills for the 8 year / 100k mile warranty come due. Pg. CH-20 of the Leaf manual says Nissan recommends the long life mode to help maximize Li-ion battery useful life. They don't make it easy; there's a 9-step procedure on pages CH-20 through CH-22 on how to set this mode.

As far as the Nissan Leaf, I think GM's been there / done that 10 years ago with the EV-1, at a loss of $1 billion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I won't feel too sorry for Nissan when the bills for the 8 year / 100k mile warranty come due.
Also, I forgot to mention that the Leaf battery is air-cooled (although they liquid cool their electronics); the Volt's battery is liquid-cooled. Air cooled is less costly, but is directionally incorrect for long battery life of any battery - with the Arrhenius reaction, chemical activity increases with temperature, which causes the degradation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
I won't feel too sorry for Nissan when the bills for the 8 year / 100k mile warranty come due.
There may not be many bills to pay. If you look at the warranty it's hard to understand what Nissan is saying. Basically it's warrantying the battery pack not to degrade faster than it should, whatever that means. Quite different from the Volt's warranty, which is clear and good.

Setting it to 80% may have nine steps but it's a piece of cake. Really very simple.

As for cooling, the fan doesn't really cool the pack, it just tries to evenly distribute the head over all cells evenly in order to try to avoid hot spots. People living in places like Arizona may end up disappointed if they bought rather than leased.

Again, this is IMO a cost issue, just like the 80% charging issue is a cost issue. Had they added a couple of kWh to the pack you wouldn't need worry about the 80% charging. But they wanted so save money AND advertise the mythical 100 mile range so they dug further into the pack than the technology perhaps warrants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
When I mentioned that the ISO standard symbol shows a tire, he immediately (and arrogantly) said that the Leaf sets a standard of its own, and the standard symbols do not apply to it.


Nuf said about the Leaf...............this says it all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
When I mentioned that the ISO standard symbol shows a tire, he immediately (and arrogantly) said that the Leaf sets a standard of its own, and the standard symbols do not apply to it.


Nuf said about the Leaf...............this says it all!
Unfortunately the people they hire for these events are locals off of Craigslist and probably have about 10 minutes more experience with the vehicle than the person driving it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
There may not be many bills to pay. If you look at the warranty it's hard to understand what Nissan is saying. Basically it's warrantying the battery pack not to degrade faster than it should, whatever that means. Quite different from the Volt's warranty, which is clear and good.

Setting it to 80% may have nine steps but it's a piece of cake. Really very simple.

As for cooling, the fan doesn't really cool the pack, it just tries to evenly distribute the head over all cells evenly in order to try to avoid hot spots. People living in places like Arizona may end up disappointed if they bought rather than leased.

Again, this is IMO a cost issue, just like the 80% charging issue is a cost issue. Had they added a couple of kWh to the pack you wouldn't need worry about the 80% charging. But they wanted so save money AND advertise the mythical 100 mile range so they dug further into the pack than the technology perhaps warrants.
Don, You're a pretty smart fella to have both a Leaf and a Volt. I also like that you have solar that offsets your usage on the grid. Very smart for leasing this vehicle, what are you paying monthly? $350? What terms did they offer? I think you and others have confirmed what I think is the problem with a very fine vehicle: the engineering isn't equal to what the Volt has gone through. It is obvious to me that Nissan rushed this vehicle to market and pushed the limits on several fronts. I am not satisfied with battery durability, software, interior, sound level engineering, suspension control and product roll out. That is not to say the Volt is perfect, just that I think they tried harder and are still dedicated to getting it right. To me, Nissan is doing the leaf for a market share grab, plain and simple. Nissan is financially motivated, GM seems a bit more desperate, and proud at the same time. They are fighting for life and good product is all that they can do to assure survival.
Don I disagree about timing. Nissan is a different product, I know you know that. However, they are proving that the tech is there by launching at the same time. Prior to this, we saw GM, Honda, Ford, & Nissan tiptoe into the market with half-assed product compared to the Prius! It amazes me that all these automakers have done virtually nothing over the last 10 years. BMW, Mercedes, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Hyundai/Kia, Land Rover/Jaguar, and others...
So many people want to call GM a "has been" but at least they have been dedicated to electric propulsion for the last 20 years. They squandered many opportunities, but just like Toyota have been tied to Lead-Acid which was pretty limiting. Toyota will struggle over the next 5 years to transition its hybrid line to better batteries... they are so invested in this technology... it is now and will cost them. I would call this their big mistake, where GM and Nissan can capitalize... low commitment in Lead-Acid and a quick transition to Lith-ion.
"You know it, I know and the American people know it!" .... the world is nearly ready for this tech... it's time to bring out 8 Voltec variants over the next 7 years and watch the GM market share rocket skyward. Here is what I want them to bring out beyond the new Cadi Coupe:
*Cadillac Cien Sedan with a 2.2l 4cyl and rear drive electric propulsion for effective AWD. 40mile AER and 30-35mpg ICE mode
*Chevy Orlando with 1.4l 4cyl FWD, 7 passenger. 40mile AER and 32-37mpg ICE mode
*Buick Electric Avenue with 1.4l 4cyl FWD/AWD, 7 passenger. 40mile AER and 30-35mpg ICE mode (larger battery, 1 rear elec motor)
*Chevy Spark EV with possible Buick variant?
*Chevy/GMC Sub-Urban Van 8 passenger Transport Vehicles 2.2l 4cyl FWD/AWD. 40mile AER and 30-35mpg ICE mode (this vehicle would be tall and wide on Cadi platform. Seat 3 across middle and rear. Would be ok with 3" hump running down middle of vehicle, terminating behind second row so 3rd row and cargo area low and flat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
765 Posts
I too drove the Leaf shortly after the Volt Homecoming on Woodward Ave. I was impressed by the Leaf. The drive is very similar to the Volt's. The interior was much better than I expected, but cargo capacity and layout is probably not as usefull as the Volt's. The exterior appearance was much better than I expected (but I still love my Volt, no contest). Of course the biggest difference is when the battery is low you are done. The next biggest thing is that the battery is going to be stressed and degraded with use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
977 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As opposed to a gas vehicle that keeps going when it is out of fuel? :D
Exactly! Why else have the message to the driver that the car is out of gas? How many other cars need such a message? Enough said.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
As opposed to a gas vehicle that keeps going when it is out of fuel? :D
The differences are: (1) you have a lot more range when you have a gas tank; and (2) you have a lot more alternatives if you're low on gas than if you're low on battery.

Here is an example why the Leaf does introduce more stress into my life. Yesterday I needed to go downtown after work before coming home. No problem. But while talking to a report who was buying a new house and then going on vacation I found out his last day was yesterday. I had planned on getting him a house warming gift but was going to do that this weekend. The time frame had moved up! OK. After digging I found that what I needed was a bottle of patron. I figured I could get this at a nearby store. No luck, Ended up going to a store I knew that was maybe 10 miles away. That was good but on the way back from downtown the bars were dropping at an alarming rate and I was thinking that I might not make it home before the battery went flat. It's really a helpless feeling because you can't just pull off and juice off like you can with an ICE.

It worked out fine. The alarming drop was was just because of hill climbing and at some point things settled down and I got home with more than a bar. But the whole experience did involve some stress. For some people this may not be a big deal. I know one guy who regularly runs his Leaf down to one bar and never seems to have a care. But I'm not that guy.

In fairness I have some stress with the Volt. The battery indicator will be dropping and I'll be thinking "will I make it home before the engine kicks on". But it's more of a game like stress since the consequences aren't so terrible -- the engine kicks on and you use a tenth or two of a gallon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Toyota will struggle over the next 5 years to transition its hybrid line to better batteries... they are so invested in this technology... it is now and will cost them. I would call this their big mistake, where GM and Nissan can capitalize... low commitment in Lead-Acid and a quick transition to Lith-ion.
I don't see how Toyota's hybrid technology choices can in any way be called a mistake. Despite all the jokes, the Prius is a success and is making money for Toyota. Li-Ion wasn't ready and cost-effective when the Prius was first introduced, and I'll wager most Prius owners don't even know what kind of batteries are in their cars. Toyota can switch over when they're good and ready, and when there are benefits to the consumer. Toyota is leveraging Tesla technology, so they may play battery technology catch-up real fast - if you think that matters (I don't). What's more important is that the Rav4 EV will come out with a proven BEV drivetrain next year, and if I were Nissan I'd be working on something better than the Leaf to compete with it.

As it stands now, Toyota is doing a great job playing to the mass market obsession with MPG ratings. They don't talk about EV modes, driving modes, regen modes - they just put out high MPGs and let people line up to buy 'em. It's simple, smart marketing and it has turned the Prius into a mass market vehicle. You'll see when the PI Prius marketing gets into full swing, they'll just talk about the MPGs - it won't be about EV for X miles, it'll just be super high MPGs and better for the planet.

What Toyota hasn't been able to do is to get real adoption of hybrid drivetrains in anything but the Prius. It's not like it's all been a failure, but outside of easing the guilt of some Californians wanting to buy a Lexus SUV, they've had a hard time finding the market. That's a warning for any company looking to move their EV drivetrains onto anything except a 4 door hatchback type vehicle. Only the Tesla Roadster has broken that form factor and been successful (and some will debate even that). Will Cadillac buyers really take to the Voltec drivetrain? That's a big question. It might take $5/gal gas to make that happen. I think GM would have better off going after the BMW "i" models - that is, putting the Voltec into sporty vehicles where the EV acceleration becomes a differentiating factor. But, owning a Roadster, I'm probably biased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
The differences are: (1) you have a lot more range when you have a gas tank; and (2) you have a lot more alternatives if you're low on gas than if you're low on battery.
1) True, but not relevant to my statement.
2) You have the exact same alternatives, get more fuel (gas or electricity) or use a different method of transportation.

JohnK stated that when the battery is low "you're done." I would argue that when you're out of gas, you're done too, at least until you get more fuel.

BTW, you really need to move to Portland. With the opening of a second DC Quick Charge station I can now just pull up and juice up, just like an ICE. ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
BTW, you really need to move to Portland. With the opening of a second DC Quick Charge station I can now just pull up and juice up, just like an ICE. ;)
Been there (Portland thing). Done that. Didn't get the T-shirt because it was too cold! LOL

In any event, not trying to argue your point, just pointing out that the gas/battery analogy isn't that great. As for quick chargers, if I had even 120V charging at work I wouldn't need a quick charger. Plus I could charge to the recommended 80%. Given that you can probably install 1000 120V chargers for the cost of one quick charger I'm not a fan.

OT Note: Appreciate your participation here BTW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,641 Posts
1) True, but not relevant to my statement.
2) You have the exact same alternatives, get more fuel (gas or electricity) or use a different method of transportation.

JohnK stated that when the battery is low "you're done." I would argue that when you're out of gas, you're done too, at least until you get more fuel.

BTW, you really need to move to Portland. With the opening of a second DC Quick Charge station I can now just pull up and juice up, just like an ICE. ;)
I think you are saying Battery EVs are no different from Extended Range EVs. I'm sorry, I'd like to respectively disagree.

One difference is the lack of charging infrastructure. Gas stations are a lot easier to find.

Quick chargers are fast, but they still take 30 minutes for an 80% charge. You could fill-up a Volt in 5 minutes and go 300 miles.

I don't know of any place where there is more than one quick charger. So if someone is already using it, you have to wait. If there are several cars in line, your wait could stretch out into hours.

BEVs are the perfect solution for travel in a limited area, but I just don't see that they will ever become viable as a replacement for your ordinary family car. Even if you had the perfect battery that can take a 300 mile charge in 5 minutes and never degrade, you still have the problem with moving a lot of electrons in a very limited amount of time. For example, if all ordinary ICE cars were to be suddenly replaced with BEVs with this ideal battery, I still could not envision an electrical support infrastrure that could support them. That would mean gas stations would have to be replaced with a charging stations with chargers instead of pumps, and each charger capable of delivering power at more than 1 Megawatt. Each charging station with, say, 20 chargers would need a 20 MW connection to the grid. I just don't see this happening.

BEVs are good, EREVs are also good. We shouldn't confuse them, they are different tools for different jobs. There is a place in this world for both.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top