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Vol.02 Oct.28,2009 LEAF Technology Hidetoshi Kadota Chief Vehicle Engineer

03 Cruising Range Anxiety

LEAF Technology Hidetoshi Kadota Chief Vehicle Engineer
LEAF's cruising range is shorter than that of a gasoline-powered car, isn't it?
LEAF has a cruising range of over 160 kilometers (US LA4 city mode), so it is shorter than a gasoline-powered car. Using the air conditioner will reduce that range even further. I'm aware that some people are saying three hundred kilometers is necessary, but I believe that our current cruising distance will be enough.
Lifestyles vary, of course, and we realize that people do go on long trips, but in almost all cases people first travel by train or airplane and then rent a car at their destination. Long road trips have their pleasures, but that lifestyle is changing little by little, and aren't the ways people enjoy their cars changing as well? Isn't the need to drive 300 or 500 kilometers limited to just one or two long road trips per year?
I believe LEAF's cruising range presents absolutely no problems for everyday life. In fact, in an electric car like LEAF, users will be able to turn on the air conditioner and cool down the interior before getting in. Since the car harnesses IT, it also keeps the driver informed of the nearest charging station , even when the battery runs down. I believe people who drive a LEAF will not feel inconvenienced at all.
LEAF Technology Hidetoshi Kadota Chief Vehicle Engineer
Over 160 kilometers is based on the US LA4 mode. Based on the 10-15 mode used in catalogues in Japan, wouldn't that mean the cruising range is longer?
That's right. However, as I'm sure you know, in practical terms fuel economy in many cases is less than the 10-15 mode consumption rating the catalogues use. We want to give customers something closer to the actual figure, so we said 160 kilometers. We want to avoid claims that we were trying to tweak the performance figures even slightly. When the air conditioning is being used, by the way, the cruising range is shortened in comparison to gasoline-powered cars, and we wanted to note this as well.
LEAF Technology Hidetoshi Kadota Chief Vehicle Engineer
While they say LEAF has a sufficient cruising range, you still have to charge the battery frequently, right?
That's true. Depending on how far you drive, you might even need to charge the battery every day. But that's something you get used to, and I don't think you'll feel inconvenienced in the slightest. If you plug it into the charger when you get home in the evening, it will be completely charged the next morning, just like a mobile telephone. I used an Avenir EV in 1994 to commute. That car had a much shorter cruising distance than LEAF, and I had to charge it every night, but I quickly got used to doing that and never felt bothered. Instead, I felt it was convenient because I didn't have to go to the gas station anymore. What's more, it's surprising how riding in an EV boosts your awareness of the environment. Back in 1994, the idea of "eco" had not permeated the world to the degree it has now, and even I wasn't that sensitive to the issue. An EV has a powerful effect of nurturing a sensibility toward ecology. Just as LEAF draws its name from the leaves of plants that absorb CO2 through photosynthesis, this car will give people the sensation that they are helping cut emissions by driving a vehicle that produces no CO2.
Vol.01 Oct.21,2009 LEAF Design Masato Inoue Product Chief Designer