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January 21, 2012

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Great to hear that the LEAF is meeting your needs and is a practical replacement for the Prius. Just curious, why didn't you replace one of your other vehicles and keep the Prius as your range extended vehicle?

FYI fully charged the LEAF has 12 bars on the fuel gauge. There are two 'hidden bars' below the two red bars as a reserve. So technically the LEAF has 14 bars. By not considering the two red bars as 'available' to you you are cheating yourself of range. You could have charged to just 80% that day and had plenty of juice left. A full charge is more taxing on the battery than a 80% charge and will shorten its life. I only charge to 100% when I know I'll need the extra fuel.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying your experience with an all-electric vehicle, Brian. For those with the financial qualifications and a lifestyle into which the inherent limitations of an electric vehicle can fit comfortably, it might actually be practical.

JPWhite, thanks for the info. Sounds like we need to read our owner's manual more closely. (What we've done is read the parts that we feel we need to know about, and watched the Leaf DVD.)

I wasn't aware of the hidden bars. I had read that when the Leaf freaks out and says you're running out of juice, usually there is more charge left than indicated, as the Leaf warning system is conservative (as it should be, given the inconvenience of being stuck somewhere).

Initially we did charge to 80%. We changed for two reasons. One, we live six miles from the city limits, so just getting to the outskirts of town and back uses up 12 miles of range. My wife has more "range anxiety" than I do, and she mostly drives the Leaf, so we decided to juice it up to 100%.

Our salesman didn't have a problem with that, and no one really knows what the effect of 100% vs. 80% charging will be over time. He figured, and we agreed, that if we get more enjoyment out of the car that way, and it only reduces battery life by a small amount, it's worth charging to 100%.

Two, for some reason the Leaf won't charge immediately upon plug in up to 80%. It has to be on a timer. We've had some problems with our Blink charger, supposedly because of poor wi-fi service. We've had to go to a cellular connection with the Blink.

I much prefer getting out of the car upon arriving home, plugging in the cable, and seeing the charging lights illuminate. Again, a few times the Blink charger failed to complete a charge with a timer set for midnight, so we ended up in the morning with a depleted battery.

I would suspect the reason for not charging to 100% every time is because harm happens to the battery if the peak of the charge is not detected properly, and the battery over charges. By charging only to 80% you are leaving a good margin of error that you will never over charge the battery. Whereas, at 100%, your peak detection software has to be perfectly correct every time, no room for error.

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