The Nissan Leaf uses one port for quick charging called CHAdeMO, and another Type 2 port for regular slow AC charging. With such a complex charging system, there are a few interesting tips that you should know when charging up your Leaf.
Here are 7 Nissan Leaf charging recommendations you should know:
- Never charge your Nissan Leaf battery to 100%.
- Turn on battery long-life mode to limit the charge to 80%.
- Always use the quick charger if available.
- Use the battery temperature gauge for quick charging time.
- The LED indicator lights on the dashboard mean something.
- Don’t let your battery charge drop too low.
- Avoid charging in extremely hot or cold weather.
This article will explain a few vital things you should know if you’re a Nissan Leaf owner. Hopefully, you’ll learn how to keep your car’s battery healthy and make it last longer along the way.
- 1. Never Charge Your Nissan Leaf Battery to 100%
- 2. Turn On Battery Long-Life Mode To Limit the Charge to 80%
- 3. Always Use the Quick Charger if Available
- 4. Use the Battery Temperature Gauge for Quick Charging Time
- 5. The LED Indicator Lights on the Dashboard Mean Something
- 6. Don’t Let Your Battery Charge Drop Too Low
- 7. Avoid Charging in Extremely Hot or Cold Weather
1. Never Charge Your Nissan Leaf Battery to 100%
One of the most common tips you’ll hear with an electric vehicle is to never charge it over 100%. In fact, this applies to any device with a Li-ion battery.
This is because keeping your battery at 100% makes the cells in the battery degrade significantly faster compared to lower levels. Instead, try to charge your Nissan Leaf to 80-90% whenever possible.
Only charge the car to 100% if you want to squeeze every single mile out of your battery. This means it’s only worth doing on long trips.
Preserving your Nissan Leaf’s battery life is vital. If you’re wondering why, take a look at this table presenting how much the battery degrades in daily-driven Nissans:
|Nissan Leaf Model||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7|
|Nissan Leaf 2013||3%||6%||9%||12%||15%||18%||20%|
|Nissan Leaf 2014||3%||8%||12%||17%||20%||23%|
|Nissan Leaf 2015||6%||10%||12%||14%||18%|
|Nissan Leaf 2016||2%||5%||7%||8%|
|Nissan Leaf 2017||2%||4%||5%|
|Nissan Leaf 2018||3%||5%|
|Nissan Leaf 2019||1%|
2. Turn On Battery Long-Life Mode To Limit the Charge to 80%
Since Nissan knows that overcharging your battery is bad for its longevity, they’ve incorporated a battery long-life mode into the infotainment system. This mode never lets you go above 80%, increasing the lifespan of your car’s battery.
You can find the long-life mode (80% charge) by opening Settings in your car’s menu. I strongly recommend that you keep the mode on for your daily commute.
3. Always Use the Quick Charger if Available
There’s a common belief among non-tech-savvy people that slower charging is better for the battery. Subsequently, they avoid quick charging their Nissan Leaf, like the plague.
Although their belief is somewhat justified, quick charging doesn’t affect the battery life that much long term. The CHAdeMO quick charger in your Nissan Leaf uses an optimized charging curve.
It uses a ton of power in the start to get your battery to 40-50%. After that, the charging speed gradually falls off.
By the way, I compared the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf in this somewhat related article. Check it out when you’re done reading.
Since there’s little point in waiting 10-20 hours to charge your car, you should use the quick charger whenever you can. It’ll reduce downtime significantly, allowing you to enjoy your Nissan Leaf. You won’t sacrifice anything in doing so anyway.
You can learn how the quick charger in your Nissan Leaf works and how to use it from this YouTube video:
4. Use the Battery Temperature Gauge for Quick Charging Time
You’re probably familiar with the battery temperature gauge in your Leaf’s dashboard. It’s always on the left side, and the bars next to it represent the battery’s temperature.
It’s a useful gauge because you want to stop charging or driving if the battery gets too hot. But did you know that you can also use it to estimate quick charging progress?
The battery gets hotter as it’s being charged with the CHAdeMO charger. You’ll see the gauge go up, and this is completely normal.
But when the battery temperature starts dropping, it means charging speeds are falling off. If you’re rushing to a meeting, you should unplug the quick charger and get back on the road when you see the temp decrease.
It’s not worth the wait. Just use the next available quick charger instead. Rinse and repeat until you get to the destination.
5. The LED Indicator Lights on the Dashboard Mean Something
If you haven’t read the user manual that came with your car, you’re probably confused by the 3 LED lights on the dashboard. They seem to turn on or off in random sequences, but the various patterns actually mean something.
The simplest information they convey is the charge level. When only the left LED is on, it means the car is charging. When the second one turns on, the battery is about halfway there. And when all three are on or off, charging is complete.
Also, the LED indicators can be seen from the outside of the car. If you left your car to charge, you wouldn’t have to open the app on your phone or enter the vehicle to check the level.
If only the middle LED is on, it indicates that the car is in charging mode but not charging. If the right LED is flashing, it indicates several things, which you can see in this video:
6. Don’t Let Your Battery Charge Drop Too Low
Just like you never want to overcharge your battery, you don’t want it to get too low either. Li-ion batteries don’t like to drop below 20%. Charge your car whenever it’s at or below 30% to extend its battery life.
It’s especially damaging to leave the car sitting below 10% for an extended period. If you only use the Nissan Leaf to get around town during summer, ensure the battery levels are between 40-80% throughout winter.
7. Avoid Charging in Extremely Hot or Cold Weather
It seems that very cold or burning hot outside temperatures affect EV batteries the most. Extreme weather conditions can literally halve your mile range.
Although you’ll inevitably have to charge your Nissan Leaf in snowy weather or in the middle of a heatwave, try to avoid it as much as possible. If you have a garage, charge your car in it instead.
Charging the car in very hot weather can cause the battery to overheat and degrade rapidly. And cold weather destroys the cells in Li-ion batteries, causing premature failure.
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