Hi, I'm a new member just signed up. I'm writing because I just got off the phone with a very helpful guy at www.kapiticars.co.nz (probably a good place form Wellingtonians to buy an EV).
He told me lots. For instance did you know that there is an OBD-II (bluetooth) adaptor just under the dash of a Nissan Leaf, and if you download the app: 'Leaf Spy' on your smart phone, you can then interrogate the car to find out the condition of the battery and other things?
Regarding the battery, it's best at 12 bars, but battery life in cars can vary widely. For instance while a 2014 Leaf may have 20,000kms on the clock, the battery could be a great 11 or 12 bars, while a 5,000km 2015 model may have only 10 or 11 bars. He also said it's all about the battery not the mileage! Thus the importance of checking out the battery (via the app) when buying. This app will give you the exact battery life percentage eg. 92%.
He would buy a higher milage car with a better battery condition any day. He also mentioned that if a car has been sitting around for a while, the battery reading can be low by 1 or 2%, but this can come back-up with running (constant recharging on 'fast charge’ can cause a battery to prematurely age). He also mentioned that the old idea of charging to 80% has now gone. It's now best to charge to 100% so that the top 20% gets used and isn't lost by the battery's memory, so to speak (the 2016 Leafs no longer have the 80% charge option).
Finally he had a word or two about charging plugs. He didn't see a lot of advantage a 6.6kwh charge unit (as apposed to a 3.3kwh) as it is by-passed on ‘quick charge’ units anyway, and when charging on a house plug the current is restricted to 5.8 amps, and 15 amps on a caravan plug. So the higher spec charger's full potential isn't realised. However it will still make a home charge faster (twice as fast?). An installed charge unit has a thermistor which limits the power drawn so that it doesn't over heat. The Leaf battery technology changed for the 2016 model. They now have 30kwh batteries and 6.6kw charges as standard (as apposed to the previous 24kwh & 3.3kwh).
Anyway I found all this very helpful and hopefully you will too. Now to actually buy a car!
Thanks for your input. It is great to see that the sales people know their product.
The one thing I am not sure I agree with is the 100% charge. Lithium batteries don't have a memory so charging to 80% wont make them forget to use the top 20%. But they do not like being kept at 100% or near zero for any period of time.
So it is still good practice to only charge to 100% before going on a trip.