The Nissan Leaf is in many respects a technological marvel. Aside from the EV aspects of the car itself it is, as far as I know, the most “connected” car on the market today. Whilst driving the car records the power usage statistics and if you agree, it uploads these stats to the Nissan servers on the Internet allowing us to access these stats online. It also allows us to compare our power stats with others locally (same country) or worldwide. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well it isn’t quite as good as it seems.
When I first heard about the Nissan Leaf and about CarWings I was almost overcome with excitement. This is exactly the kind of application I wanted to see the Internet used for. The problem is though is that it just doesn’t work! I found this out within days of taking delivery of my own Nissan Leaf. The power usage stats that were being recorded on CarWings simply didn’t make sense. The car has a maximum range of 100 miles and has a battery capacity of 24kWh the best I could expect to see on CarWings would be 0.24kWh/mile. When I started seeing a regular 0.19kWh/mile and on one day 0.14kWh/mile I started to smell a rat.
I can accept that over a short distance, say when going down a hill, these power consumption levels are clearly possible but it is inconceivable to imagine that this low level of power use was achievable over a full charge distance. In fact, if it were possible then people would be seeing much greater range being achieved than the 80-100 miles that people are seeing. For example, using 0.19kWh/mile, a fully charged 24kWh battery would typically see ranges in the region of 125 miles. I know that some, a few that is, are getting this range occasionally in the USA, but I have not seen this kind of range here in the UK and especially so with me. My best estimated full charge range is about 95 miles (based on actual distance travelled and a pro rata distance for the remaining 2 bars on the state of charge meter). So, that would be 0.25kWh/mile and this seems a much more likely figure for my use.
I have heard of some people seeing a power use figure of 0.10kWh/mile on CarWings giving them an estimated range of 240 miles! Obviously this is completely wrong.
So, given these significant discrepancies between actual performance and that reported on CarWings I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that this first version is completely unusable and simply cannot be trusted in any way.
What a pity. Here we have the most connected car on the planet and the figures online are all completely wrong! What a missed opportunity. Surely Nissan must have tested this system? Surely they must have realised that these errors would be noticed immediately? What were Nissan thinking? Were we all just going to take the CarWings figures at face value when they are so clearly incorrect?
I am assuming that Nissan know about this problem although I have not seen any suggestion that they do nor that they intend to do anything about it. So in the meantime, until the system becomes a realistic representation of real life, I am ignoring the history statistics on CarWings altogether and I recommend that you do the same. Whatever position in the UK or the World that CarWings gives you is probably wrong and possibly significantly wrong so why bother with it at all? Pity.
Is CarWings just a PR exercise? Clearly the stats are hugely over optimistic. Is that what Nissan intended with CarWings… to make the car always look good on range and power use? It is food for thought isn’t it…