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He was right. 2 years ago. That's all I have to report for now. But this would affect PHEV fuel economy, so the engine is kept off and the heat pump and a complex system of control valves and the liquid-gas separator is used in EV mode. Above all else, I can continue to report that the driving experience has been quite delightful—linear acceleration, instant torque, no engine noise—all the things that EV nuts enthuse about I can whole heartedly confirm. Eventually for us, however, we decided that for us it was time to install a Level 2 charger. But given the relatively short range of a battery electric vehicle like the Leaf, and given the prominent and tangible way that it translates battery charge into an estimated range of miles, this fact is a lot harder to ignore in the Leaf. And lo and behold, despite a full charge, the range indicator was hovering around 64 miles when my better half got in—leading to a concerned phone call and much speculation about whether she could get where she needed to go. The obvious advantage to the heat pump is that it uses much less electricity to keep the car warm during the winter. If you ignore the snaking extension cord we had running across our lawn, this worked fine for us—never once getting to a point where we had to be somewhere and had no charge. I have noticed when I get in the car—even when the battery is fully charged—there can be a significant difference in estimated range, with the Leaf's "guessometer" (as it has been sarcastically dubbed by some drivers) giving the total as anywhere from 65 to 83 miles depending on who last drove it, and whether it was driven on the highway or in-town. Installation took a couple of guys (plus their grandsons doing the trenching) 3 to 4 hours. Installing a charging pointOne of the most common questions from friends and family about the car has been this: Where do you charge it and how long does it take? Nissan LEAF is the first mass-produced vehicle in the world to employ a heat-pump cabin heater. They even threw in a nice looking fence post to mount it on. This contrasts with the front-mounted outer condenser, which in A/C mode condenses refrigerant by giving up heat to the ambient air. However, the Prime unit was described as similarly compact to an automotive thermostatic expansion valve. Range depends on how you driveGiven the laws of physics, it should be fairly obvious that how you drive will impact how far you can travel. The Prime gasoline engine could be started and run to provide heat and dehumidification. Here's Everything You Need to Know to Get Started! The Prime PHEV incorporates a concept from some static-mount commercial heat pumps: a refrigerant liquid-gas separator and refrigerant gas injection circuit to provide heat pump efficiency down to -10° C/14° F. The large static-mount heat pump separators would be impractical to package underhood. In heating mode the hot, high-temperature refrigerant gas is discharged from the compressor into the internal condenser, where it provides some cabin heat, condensing partly in the process. In fact, I have come to really dislike driving our gas car now (a 2010 Mazda 5), which feels clunky and old fashioned by comparison. The other factor of the colder weather, which I had not necessarily expected given reports of a wimpy space heater and its impact on range, is that driving the Leaf in the cold is actually quite cozy—at least compared to my clunky old Toyota Corolla. 2017 Nissan LEAF Press Kit: Overview. And now we basically have a filling station in our backyard! Should I Buy an Electric Bicycle? But given that I have heard of install costs as high as $1,500 to $2,000, it felt like a reasonable price—especially given that the job included a none-too-easy trenching job through my no-dig garden (sorry soil microbes!) For many folks who don't travel long distances and/or do have a second car as back up, I suspect you could get away with trickle charging without too much inconvenience—especially if you have a driveway or garage where you can park near a convenient wall outlet. Life With a Used Nissan Leaf: Cold Weather Arrives. (Remember, this is our second car—we still have the regular gas burning car as backup.) Technology Functionality Gasoline vehicles re-use engine exhaust heat to provide the warm air for the functions of the heater. So I thought it was about time for an update. That's true of any vehicle. The liquid refrigerant condenses further as it goes through a throttle passage, and flows through to the outer condenser, where in heat mode it absorbs heat from the ambient air and flows to the internal condenser to contribute further to the passenger compartment warming. I'll be checking back in once the weather turns truly cold. All rights reserved. This gives this heat pump circuit extra performance in the heating mode. The Nissan LEAF continues to be the best-selling 100-percent electric vehicle in the U.S. and the world, with more than 100,000 units sold in the U.S. and more than 238,000 units worldwide (as of fall 2016). Liquid-gas separator shown in heating cycle at right, other modes at left. Cold weather does have an impactYesterday morning was cold, by North Carolina standards. Their automotive heat pumps are efficient, but typically operate down only to 0° C/32° F. The Prius Prime system uses 63% less energy than conventional heating and should extend driving range up to 21%, Toyota and Denso researchers reported in a presentation at the 2017 SAE World Congress (WCX17). These can take the battery from empty to full in about four hours (as opposed to overnight trickle charging from a regular outlet). Just Being Electric Doesn't Make a Giant Pickup or SUV a Good Thing, might want to wait for the next generation. I share this not to make any marital feuds public, but to remind folks that if they are considering an electric vehicle purchase, the current crop of (affordable) electric vehicles are much better suited to in-town driving by folks who do not have a lead foot. My wife and I have now both had a bit more time to rack up some miles, and have also gotten around to installing a dedicated charging point. Thanks so much for the detailed reply! If you're uncomfortable driving on the highway at 65 miles per hour, and/or regularly drive more than 60 miles in a day—especially in highway miles—you might want to wait for the next generation. Like other automotive heat pumps, the Prime's has an under-dashboard internal condenser (the discharge source for all cabin heat). The option of topping up in an hour or two gives me an awful lot of peace of mind. The 2013 Nissan Leaf was the first mass-produced vehicle in the world to offer a heat-pump-based cabin heater; that system has helped extend driving range during the winter months. The advanced heat pump system in the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in (PHEV), developed in conjunction with Denso, is designed to deliver improvements compared with conventional electric heating and the heat pumps in the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV. And for folks shelling out a bit more money, the more expensive versions of the Leaf come with remote connectivity anyway. Life With a Used Nissan Leaf: The First Month. We'll see if that conflict still arises when it gets chilly enough to need the space heater—but for now, except for the slight uptick in range anxiety, I've been pleasantly surprised at the cold weather experience. The compressor is a scroll-type Denso unit with a refrigerant gas injection port added. ©2020 SAE International. The partly-condensed gas from the internal condenser then flows through an electric expansion valve for further decompression,and into the ultra-compact liquid-gas separator that is a key part of the refrigerant gas injection system. And both dehumidification circuits are able to operate in conjunction with cabin heating. That's because (allegedly) I tend to drive like a grandma, whereas my wife "has places to be," or so she tells me. and across my driveway. The Leaf itself comes with a charge timer—so I can still plug it in and set it to charge later in the evening if I want to be conscientious to Duke Energy (utilities prefer you charge during off-peak hours, and some will even give you cheaper rates for doing so). That's what we did for the first month. The cabin has a humidity/temperature sensor mounted to the windshield (measuring glass and adjacent interior air temperature, plus cabin humidity). Considering that I would have needed to boost my wi-fi signal to even get it to reach the charge point, I decided to go with the simple, slightly cheaper and reportedly very robust Clipper Creek HCS-40 for a cost of $565. A few follow up questions for you if you don't mind. The advanced heat pump system in the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in (PHEV), developed in conjunction with Denso, is designed to deliver improvements compared with conventional electric heating and the heat pumps in the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV.
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