By Cars.com EditorsAugust 29, 2011
About the video
Cars.com Joe Wiesenfelder depletes a 2011 Nissan Leaf's battery to see how the car behaves and to test the warranty’s promise of free towing.
<v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with cars.com. We've brought you a lot of information about our 2011 Nissan Leaf, which we bought in February to give you the real ownership experience.
We have not had many instances where we've thought we were gonna run out of juice, you know, range anxiety. So we don't know what it's like to run out. We figured we'd take this beautiful summer day and find out. All right, to begin this little experiment, we have 18 miles of range on the Leaf though, we're gonna turn the air conditioning on. So we are comfortable. That brings it down to 16. We'll see how it goes. <v Leaf Voice>Low battery charge. Okay, when we hit a range of eight miles, we've got our first warnings. First of all, the range mark right here, the eight, is flashing. That's something it doesn't usually do. We got the little icon of a gas pump with a power plug coming out of it. That's new. Right in the center display, battery level is low. And then even here in the center display, you've got low battery showing up on top of the map, says show, and it tells you, turn off climate control to add zero mile. Well, that's helpful. And you can push the button to find a nearby charging station. Okay, we just got another warning. We had about four miles to go, three to four miles, and the voice came on and said very low battery. It says right here, very low battery. Would you like to search for a nearby charging station? And also, it isn't even giving us a range anymore. We have achieved turtle. All right. Here's what it says. There are a couple of displays. They say motor power is limited. Now I'm gonna get a feel for how much the power is limited. Yeah, it's got very little energy. I'm standing on it right now. We're very slowly adding miles per hour, 23, 24, 25, barely drivable. If you were to drive this in traffic, you would be a problem. You'd be a hyper miler, actually. I think we're dead. It says battery level is low. The transmission went into neutral. I'm gonna try putting it back in gear. Nope. We are officially dead. 21.6 miles after we started. I have to say, the circumstances, the climate are perfect for this car. The temperatures below 80, the air conditioning was on, but it's running very efficiently. It was, it was hardly using any energy at all. And we weren't on the highway for most of this. Lower speeds tend to be more efficient. So I guess it's onto the next step. Finally, an answer to the question who killed the electric car? Cars.com did. Now the roadside assistance package that comes with the Leaf promises 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Out of charge is eligible for roadside assistance. So, I'm gonna call the number here. <v Michelle>Thank you for calling Nissan Roadside Assistance. My name's Michelle. May I please ask you a few questions to help you with service today. Certainly. At four o'clock I received a confirmation call, an automated one, it was about 15 minutes after I dialed initially, that said that our rescue was about an hour away. So now we wait. Well, the flatbed showed up in 40 minutes instead of 60, as they had predicted. The driver did not want to be on camera. That's their right as a private company. Now, normally they would want to bring you to a dealership to get charged. This car is two miles away from home and that's probably what'll happen to people if they misjudge their range. So we asked why don't you just bring it home and we can charge it there. All told, from the time we ran out, it's been less than two hours to get us back here. It cost nothing, because of the roadside assistance. If you're worried about range anxiety, we're still alive, we're still breathing. It's not the end of the world. We made it. <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.