Maximize Range With The Nissan LEAF (& Gas Is So Passé)

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Very soon, I have some out-of-town trips to make in the LEAF. I am tuning in on tricks to maximize range with the 84-mile fully electric Nissan LEAF. The lingering joy I have with the LEAF continues as a direct relief from my previous lifestyle driving a gasmobile. This past month (becoming more pedestrian once again and driving only electric) I experienced an immeasurable feeling of liberation from gas; my lifeforce jumped up a few tall notches. The soft green spots on the dash below shows regeneration as I brake in ECO mode. I am feeling regeneration of my own.

Green spots show regeneration through braking copy

Air pollution is no joke. We are all affected by the harmful and even carcinogenic factors of bad air. I want to breathe clean air. I want pure fresh air even more passionately than ever for my sweet young growing grandchildren.

And face it, EVs are mechanically simpler. Theoretically, the cars are more reliable. There is less maintenance with an EV. There are No stops at smelly oily gas stations. Gas is so passé, or should be, could be, will be. As one commentator on puts it, “Gas is so 20th century.” It is so last century — along with coal. Wind. Solar. Electric Cars. They are the smart considerations of the 21st century.

Back to driving range: Some ideas for extending range are to use the ECO button (takes just a second.) As you can see above, the soft green lights as I slow and brake start to come on. As the braking continues, the lights light up to the left even more — indicating regeneration, I believe. And this is stronger with the ECO button pressed.

Things that also apply to extending gas mileage, and to transportation in general, via James Balog, and his “Insanely, Ridiculously, Beautiful Chasing Ice Stories (yes, there is common sense linked to those daredevil adventurers — in fact the most utilitarian advice):

  • Drive sensibly.
  • Maintain tire pressure. (“The US Department of Energy says that for each 1-pound per square inch (PSI) drop in pressure, gas mileage drops 0.4%.”)
  • Stick to the speed limit.
  • Accelerate with traffic.
  • Combine trips to drive less. (“Think ahead about where you need to go and plan one trip with multiple stops to lower your driving.”)

Smart Tire Care Extends Range

I used to check my tires religiously on the old Toyota. Now, this friendly Nissan LEAF lets me know when I need to. Proper tire pressure extends the range of the LEAF, and it is smart to help me keep the tires at an ideal state of inflation. Take note of the following video, which quickly explains the 2014–2015 Nissan LEAF tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) with “Easy-Fill Tire Alert.” (Editor’s Note: This is very cool, and I didn’t know about it before.)


Other suggestions, some from Andrea Kissack for Quest:

  •  Count bars, not miles.
    “Don’t look at the DTZ (Distance to Zero) which counts backwards from your mileage starting point. Leaf drivers call it the “guess o’meter.” Look at the bars.
  • Andrea Kissack points out what one starts to know driving electric. The mileage swings a battery-powered car has with the use of climate control (10 miles more without air-conditioning per charge on the 2015 LEAF I drive). The distance (range) also swings with acceleration, speed, and elevation.
  • The LEAF has twelve bars stacked (one on top of the other). Kissack continues about her 2013 LEAF, “Daily, I work with ten bars since I charge to 80%. If I average my road and highway driving during a moderate winter in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am getting almost 7 miles per bar.” Energy bars to right below:
    Dash of LEAF
  • Bundle up in the north or dress lightly in breathable, subtropical clothes in Florida. For best range, you need to have a conservative cadence to extend range — don’t use the heat or air more than you need to. Extremes in weather are a concern for range. According to Kissack’s info, the heat can cut the energy by 30%. It is more efficient to use the seat warmers. (I even like those seat warmers in the South.)
  • Another suggestion is to heat up or cool down the LEAF while charging. Try one of those cool apps (a phone app) to turn it on from the cool or warm environment inside your home or workplace.
  • What I called soft green dots Kissack calls bubbles and recommends keeping a watch on them. I do this constantly — as one automatically does to familiarize oneself with the LEAF’s ECO drive. The meter displays the motor power and the regenerative brake power. The white dot (or bubble) on the screen moves to the right as one accelerates. When slowing down, it moves the soft green dot/lights to indicate how much power, generally, is being generated through braking.
  • Every time I see the soft green dots, I am more tuned into how to drive to produce energy through braking. I practice this on the “hills” in several local parking garages.

Road trips in a Nissan LEAF will offer more experience on the range I do have in the LEAF. Testing out how to regenerate range over West Central Florida’s only hill — the Skyway Bridge — on the way down will be another adventure in the LEAF.

I love this take on what holds back mainstream EVs (east of California, that is), from an inspiring road-trip story on EV Obsession (by Zach): “As I’ve written more times than I can count, I think the biggest current barriers to electric vehicle adoption are a lack of awareness and sociopsychological inertia. People don’t even know which electric cars are on the market.” Wow. People don’t know what they don’t know.

Thanks to EV Obsession and CleanTechnica, I gain up-to-date education, how to utilize PlugShare maps, tips on the intricacies of EVs, and notes regarding the wonders of EVs.

Be sure to read some of the commentaries on CT and EVO — our knowledgeable readers inform us along the way as well. Now that I have test driven a slew of subtly beautiful and technologically savvy EVs, I say — get out there and try some yourself.

Check in again soon for the next part of our long-term 2015 Nissan LEAF SL review. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Related Stories:

2016 Nissan LEAF With 107 Miles of Range

Voting With The Wallet, & Quiet In An Election Year With A Nissan LEAF

Top Ten Toxic Ingredients Used In The Fossil Fuel Industries

50% Driving Ban For Paris Due To Air Pollution

Exclusive Leak 2017-2018 Nissan LEAFs To Have 130 Miles In 2017 LEAF, 150 Miles In 2018 LEAF

Image Credits: Cynthia Shahan,, (all rights reserved)

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor. Pronouns: She/Her

Cynthia Shahan has 947 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan