Very Impressed--Test Drive Yesterday

Discussion in 'Nissan/Infiniti Hybrids and EVs' started by snijd, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. snijd

    snijd DIY or die

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    My 18 y.o. son and I went to the Seattle Leaf test drive event yesterday, and were both very impressed by the vehicle.

    He drove first, while I sat in the back. I found the back seat more comfortable than either the Gen II or Gen III Prius, with adequate headroom for my 39.5" sitting height. Adequate leg room as well--I'm 6'2" tall. The front seats seemed better than the Prius seats, too. Better padding, which is better-distributed, and suited my tall frame well.

    He drove rather conservatively, and had no difficulty getting used to the controls. It's not so very different from our 2010 Prius. The car is very quiet--almost no road noise, and of course no engine noise.

    I drove next, and did my best to make it break traction on entering the roadway, applying full throttle while still in the turn. Based on this brief experiment, it seemed less squirrely in this situation than either of our Priuses. Acceleration was brisk, especially up to 30 mph, and probably better than either Prius.

    After the drive, I noticed the disable button on the dash for stability control, but didn't have a chance to drive it with ESC turned off. Wish it had been raining yesterday--that would have been more interesting.

    We played with the electronics in another car after our drive, messing a bit with the GPS and stereo. Nice sound, but I'm not sure I especially like the interface--seemed kind of klunky to navigate to different stations. We never did figure out how to get it to take a new destination, but that probably reflects my lack of training.

    Noticed solar cells on the roof of this high-end model, which they said trickle charges the 12v battery, if I heard correctly. Our Prius could use that for extended parking! Was surprised to learn that the option for rapid charging is priced at $700! It's not standard equipment. In any event, rapid charging will only be available at commercial recharge stations, not in one's own garage. The car is internet-savvy, allowing status reporting and some control via iphone/ipod or other computer. GPS updates are to be done wirelessly.

    Not sure if this reflects any new information, but thought I'd share some of our observations.
     
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  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Thanks for the test drive report!

    Can't wait to see one in person (no test drive events in Canada yet)
     
  3. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I am excited about the vehicle, for some reason. Rapid charging if it's only at a charging station will not be used by most users anyway.
     
  4. UsedToLoveCars

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    I test drove one Saturday. What a fun little car. Handles nicely, has adequate pickup, pretty nice interior.

    the real awesome thing: being able to set schedules to turn on your heater/ac. Like "M-F 7am"
     
  5. snijd

    snijd DIY or die

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    Having seen some negative reports about the range limitations, I wanted to mention that they said a major cause of loss of range is heavy use of the heater. There's just no cheap way of heating up the car, once you're on the road. It can use a lot of juice on a cold day. Apparently the A/C doesn't have quite the same impact.
     
  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    If AC is standard, and nearly every car on a dealer lot has the option, why not just use heat pump? Are they just not available in car size?
     
  7. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    EVs have long used heat pumps for heating. It still takes a lot of power on a cold day.

    Tom
     
  8. GSW

    GSW PRIUS POWER

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    You would think nothing generates heat in an EV. How about a liquid coolant running through a heat sink type of exchanger. I know the battery must generate some heat and need cooling? I'm no EV engineer so I'm sure if there is an efficent way they will find it.
     
  9. ualdriver

    ualdriver Member

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    How about a heater that uses gasoline? Aren't heaters that burn fossil fuels extremely efficient (90%+)? Just put a small gasoline tank in the car (maybe a gallon or two) and use that to heat the car in the winter. Would that work?
     
  10. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    Works fine, it's called the Volt :p
     
  11. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Nissan opted to go with air cooling for the battery to reduce cost and weight.
    Ford will use liquid cooling in the upcoming Focus. No reason for it not to use a traditional heater core. It will also have active heating to keep the battery at the right temperature for charging. That, and making use of waste heat, should give it a higher minimum range than the Leaf, or least a less variable one.
     
  12. LeafTalk UK

    LeafTalk UK New Member

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    In the UK there is only one trim Level and the 'fast charge' capability comes built in as standard. Strange decision by Nissan for the USA version.
     
  13. Corwyn

    Corwyn Energy Curmudgeon

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    [Yes, I know this was meant as humor.]

    Efficiency isn't the problem. While a gas heater sized for a car might get 80% efficiency, electric resistance heat will get near 100%, and a heat pump up around 300% (yes). The problem is energy density. A single gallon of gasoline has the energy equivalent of 33 kWh. That is 18 hours of charging from a standard US house current (15 amps @ 120 volts) charger.

    p.s. PLEASE don't even think of heating with gasoline! Very dangerous.
     
  14. Flaninacupboard

    Flaninacupboard Senior Member

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    I think pEEf's EV van he sold a couple months back had a kerosene heater on board. makes perfect sense in real cold weather areas.
     
  15. ualdriver

    ualdriver Member

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    No it wasn't meant as humor but I did not mean to literally put a gasoline heater in the car. What I meant was that engineers could design an electric car with a small gasoline tank (or propane or whatever) and use that fuel as a source of energy for heating the car. Then the battery could be preserved for range since winter range is still a problem in cold weather climates.
     
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