Nissan Leaf: Estimating Range

I was driving myself crazy. I’d keep trying to guess how my car was doing. Did an experiment to put my brain to rest:

  • X-Axis is Battery% – that’s why its right-to-left.
  • Y-Axis is either Trip-Miles or Estimated Miles, same units
  • This is a 2015 Leaf, 11 Capacity Bars. I don’t have LeafSPY available at the moment (someone borrowed the dongle)
  • Eco Mode, temp 48 degrees (or so), dry.
  • Using Cruise Control at speed limit whenever possible.
  • The “Lap” was a 12.4 mile loop with TJ Unitarian at one end. Relatively flat; easy traffic; and fast (for me) charger to get me to 100% to start.
  • Laps 1 and 2 were without heater or lights; as was Lap 4.
  • Lap 3 – I turned on headlights, seat heater, and steering wheel heater. (but not the main heat)
  • Between Lap 3 and 4 – car sat for 2 hours as I attended the EvolveKY MeetUp.
  • Lap 4 done identical to laps 1 and 2 to verify pattery
  • Lap 5 – I turned on the heat (and headlights). It was 48 outside; inside set for 70, so only a 20 degree jump. Note that inside of car had been heated by sunlight already, not a cold morning start.
  • Lap 6 – I got the LBW just as I started it. Different route for the second part – I headed home.


  • The car is optimistic for the first couple of miles. (green)
    • It would have gotten 84 miles, maybe, if it had stayed like that.
  • Eyeballing battery use and odometer leads to a pretty solid line – better estimation than the Guess-O-Meter which jumps ALL over the place.
  • I expected the heater to shunt the line over, but i did NOT expect it to “recover” (pink).
  • Looks like when LBW kicks in, a different estimation starts to be used that is more pessimistic. (yellow)
  • Then it stops giving numbers.
  • I got home at 74.6 miles, but later without charger drove around the block a few times, up to about 76 miles. Never got to Turtle. I suspect (based on age + capacity bars) my battery is mis-calibrated, and there’s more than it thinks there is.
  • The first 3 laps all showed 4.5 miles per KWH. Using that number, puts me at 16 to 17 kWH of available battery for sure.
  • Using Seat Heaters and Steering Wheel Heaters .. could NOT tell the difference in the range. Yay!

I had been hoping that it would be colder.. my “range calculation” in my head (looking at odometer for 90%, 80%, 70%, etc) was giving me a 50 mile range or so. However, it was a nicer day.. Or the car knew it needed to perform.

If anybody wants to watch the boring data videos, they are and (assuming that the upload succeeds). Captured with a Hero6 in Timelapse Video mode.

My first Electric Bill!

Got my first electric bill since we got the EV.  


Uh….  I guess that’s $30 bucks more than the same month last year?

Graphing it out vs temperature, its still hard to say.  We also had a bad furnace fan that shifted some numbers around:


Doing the math, I’ve driven about 1000 miles since I got the car.

  • IMG_04101000 miles at 4.5 miles per kwh is about 222 kwh.   Bill shows 1324kwh
  • 222 kwh at 9 cents per kwh is 2000 cents.
  • Which is $20.

That ends up at $0.02 per mile.

Yay.   Reality fits.

Regrets buying my Nissan LEAF EV

I wish I could have bought a Tesla.

I’m still super-glad that I switched from an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car to an EV.   I do get a little twinge when I see a Prius Prime plug-in-hybrid, however, I have to go back to the big deciding factor:


Yep.  That was the number.   I couldn’t do it with my initial reservation .. maybe I could have done it with the 2019 base Model 3, however, I love technology, and … that would not have been honest with myself.   At least the technology package and AP2, which brings that up to $43k.

However, before I get too far in to my pity party, I need to review:

ICE Car Used Leaf in my Price Range My future Tesla
No Gas!
Super quiet + Jet engine sounds
Nice acceleration
Even better acceleration by the numbers
Remote start A/C and Heater
including a timed heater start in the garage because no emissions.               
All-Around-View Camera
Could happen
Inexpensive maintenance
– no oil changes, etc.  Service every 18k miles.
ditto, except about $600/y with prepay options.
Prius got to 15 cents per mile. Inexpensive per-mile costs
– 3 cents per mile
Many inexpensive ICE cars available. Reasonable Car Cost
– 28 cents per mile (assuming 60k miles payoff)
Not there yet.  Best I could do was around $1/mi at the moment.
Can fit many things Awkward, can’t really fit all the stuff that I could fit in a Prius. I hear its better.
Easy around-town range as long as you visit your gas station 85mi is almost enough. Almost.  There are chargers that make things better. Much better ranges
Long Distance Travel. Not in the Midwest. I can perhaps get to Cincinnati, if I go at 60mph. Superior infrastructure and range.

To be fair, the newer Nissan Leaf had a better range, which solves some of the problems, and if I had done a lease, I could have gotten as low as $300/mo.   However, there’s another angle – I wanted to experience the frustration of a short range EV. So that I have a realistic sense of what was possible/what is not, so I can point people at stuff that’s even better than what I have.

How close till my future Tesla?

If I back track the $ trail – lets say $400/mo (car payment, I’m not adding the $90 in gas that I don’t pay anymore) – at 3.5% APY that gets me to around $21k.   How long till a used Tesla gets down to $21k?

If you go to and play with the dates, I can currently find this chart:


See that little rise at the end?    Annoying.   And, It seems to take about 3 years to drop .. about 40%.  Also note they have no info on price trends for model 3’s and model X’s.

Another tracker:  Used car listings on showed the cheapest model three at $51k.

Another tracker:  Used car listings on Carmax … only show Model S’s, and they are way more expensive than the used cars at

Another track would be a much larger car payment, but .. that’s not something I’m willing to bet 5 years of cash flow on right now.

Its safe to say .. not soon.

So here I am.  I DO love that I’m driving an EV;  Yes, its a bit hard and clunky in some ways; but give it a few years or so (time goes by faster as I get older) and lets see.

Life stuff leads to Leaf EV

Life has been in flux since the end of March.  I thought I’d take April off and recharge, but life had other plans.  In very short order:

  • Death of a human family member in my extended family
  • Death of our canine family member in my immediate family
  • Death of a Prius via large Pothole and frame damage

Not going to dwell there.  However, the last one is launching me in the following directions:

  • Purchase of an EV to replace the Prius

This LEAFS me in a bind.  the EV thing is huge.  Do I blog about it? Do I tweet about it?  Does anybody care?  Do I just tell my friends?    Should I vlog?  ???

I’ve started a thread on Facebook – on a photo – where I’m taking questions.  .. if you have any questions, please feel free to ask there, leaf a comment comment here, or  tweet at me @sunjeevgulati.

I’ve got a spreadsheet going where I’m keeping track of charge-times and distances travelled.  I’m sure there will be a blog post on that later.

Overall, the map of what I’ve learned so far, thanks to  Green = specific to me.  If you’re buying a LEAF, you will learn what these things are.

LEAF information

Gah, found a bug.  “S” Trimlevel also has a 3.3 Kwh charger.  And note, these are all pre-2018 LEAF’s.. they seriously upgraded in 2018.  Used price on those isn’t low enough yet, I needed a car payment under $300, which is also why no Tesla Model 3 Smile 

Enough for now.