Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

What's the true range of electric cars? This is a topic that we've touched on before and again recently. We think that Nissan might have been listening this time around because it almost immediately came forward with some extremely detailed range information that lays out exactly what type of mileage you should expect to get out of your Leaf. At a Leaf preview event in Japan, Nissan provided some of the most detailed range numbers we've ever seen and, dependent upon your driving habits, you may either be thrilled to hear the true range or disgusted enough to grudgingly take your $99 deposit back and look elsewhere.

Applying the EPA's LA4 test cycle, also less commonly referred to as the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS), Nissan came up with some real-world range numbers for the Leaf. Here's an overview of the range variations we can expect from the Leaf:
  • Cruising at 38 miles per hour with ambient temps of 68 degrees, you could squeeze 138 miles out of the Leaf.
  • Averaging 24 mph in city traffic drops range to 105 miles, assuming air conditioning (A/C) is not in use on a 77-degree day.
  • In heavy stop-and-go traffic, averaging just 6 mph with temps of 86 degrees and A/C on, range drops to 47 miles.
  • At 55 mph on the highway in 95 degree temps and A/C on, expect range to be 70 miles.
  • Winter temps of 14 degrees with the heater on, will drop range to 62 miles in stop-and-go traffic, assuming an average speed of 15 mph.
There are an infinite numbers of variables which will effect your actual range, but these numbers give you a good idea of what to expect based on your own personal driving habits. Nissan insists that accessories such as windshield wipers, heated seats and the car's stereo will all have only a negligible effect on range. While we're certainly thrilled to see 138 miles in ideal conditions, it's a bit discouraging to see just 47 miles at the low end. Avoid traffic jams, cruise at steady speeds and keep the HVAC set to off and you should easily eclipse that 100-mile mark. The sad truth is, though, that there aren't many places in the U.S. where driving like that is regularly possible, especially not in the Leaf's initial target markets.


Related GalleryQuick Spin: Nissan Leaf Test Mule

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[Source: Forbes]