Fleets occasionally ask us questions about the batteries in all-electric vehicles — and how to get the most performance and longevity from them. Based on our research and the experience of our members we’ve put together some tips for getting the most out of Nissan LEAFs, and other plug-in vehicles.
Check your battery annually
Nissan LEAFs are warrantied against excessive battery degradation. To maintain the eligibility for the warranty, owners must have their batteries tested annually by a Nissan dealership. This allows Nissan to ensure nothing is going wrong with your battery, and provides the owner with some information about the health of the battery pack.
Avoid letting the car sit at a high state of charge for extended periods
Ever notice that when you buy a new electronic device the battery is always half charged? We’ve learned from speaking with experts and reading about individual driver’s experience that a big contributor to premature battery degradation can occur when a car sits for extended periods (1+ week) with a fully charged battery. A study published by the University of South Carolina’s Department of Chemical Engineering concluded that this high-charge degradation can be exacerbated by high ambient temperatures. Nissan’s battery testing report will score battery health on how frequently the vehicle has sat fully charged for an extended period. Bottom line: if you know a vehicle won’t be used for an extended period of time, unplug it. , and ideally don’t leave it fully charged up.
Monitor battery capacity
By monitoring the capacity of the vehicle’s batteries users will be able to track their health and take steps to address potential capacity loss. For example, a vehicle that looses battery capacity could be cycled into an assignment that requires less range. If the vehicle looses three capacity bars it may be eligible for a warranty
The capacity can be monitored by simply reviewing the “capacity bars” on the dashboard, and more sophisticated “GID meters” or LEAF Spy applications can be used to retrieve additional data on the health of the batteries.
Review this handy chart
Leaf Owner Tony Williams put together this handy chart which describes how LEAF range varies with speed. The chart also provides valuable information about the impact of different environmental variables. Knowing the condition of the batteries and how the car will be driven can go a long way (pun intended) in predicting its useful range.
Do you have other tips for EVs or hybrids you’d like to share? Please send them our way!
-Western Washington Clean Cities Team