I have owned several vehicles in my life that were the first year of a significant restyled or the first year they were launched. I have also been an early adopter of just about any gadget I can get my hands on for years. I can tell you from experience that things do not always go smoothly for early adopters. I can only imagine how bad it must feel to be an early adopter of the Nissan Leaf and discover that the mileage ratings Nissan and the EPA cited are not what you really get.
Some of the Leaf owners are finding that the Leaf offers them much less than the 100 miles and at times even less range than the EPA cited at 73 miles. To make matters worse some owners are saying that the EV will go from enough range for their trip to turtle mode to dead and stranded on the side of the road within only a few miles. Talk about epic suck.
Jalopnik reports that there are several owners on the Nissan Leaf owners forums that are saying their cars are leaving them stranded with little or no warning. One owner reports that the Leaf showed 8 miles left and after about half that range the car shut off completely with dead batteries.
Another owner notes that the Leaf showed a 17-mile range and then went to turtle mode and then to dead and stranded within about five miles. Part of the issue with shorter driving ranges than promised may be due the fact that when cold, batteries hold less juice than they do when they are warm. EVs and other cars like the Volt have heaters to keep the battery pack at optimal temperature. Nissan opted to not add heaters to the Leaf battery pack.
I guess the upside is that Leaf owners get free towing, the downside is the last thing anyone wants to do is to be stranded on the side of the road. Owners are reporting that the Leaf in the real world is good for 60-80 miles driving. Some owners are angry that Nissan isn't offering more realistic mileage and one even said if he had realistic figures he would have thought twice about buying the Leaf. I sense a bunch of angry $40,000 EV owners ready to make Nissan sorry for that inflated range. Nissan maintains that the lower than promised driving range are isolated events.