Nissan Leaf vs VW e-Golf (and other EV's)

Discussion in 'BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle' started by NeilBlanchard, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    We own both an e-Golf and a Leaf, and I have a little experience with the i3, as well, as my brother owns one.

    In a nutshell: the e-Golf is a better car than the Leaf in most respects, and the coasting and regen steps are the best. But the Leaf has better EV aspects; like the location of the charging port, and CHAdeMO is available, while CCS is not (where I am in Massachusetts, anyway).

    My family of four is tall, and we are much more comfortable in the e-Golf. The downside is it sits lower and the getting in and out is a bit more effort. The rear legroom in the e-Golf in particular is better, because the foot wells are deeper than the Leaf, which has some battery cells below the rear floor.

    The two features that the e-Golf have that is better than any EV on the market are the free wheel coasting, and the 4 levels of regen available by "shifting" - and the direct heating windshield defroster. The former is what every EV should have, in my opinion. The latter is a great concept, but as implemented in the e-Golf is a bit anemic for ice and freezing rain, and is only good for moisture in a cold rain. The idea is that direct heating is MUCH more efficient, but the e-Golf's version needs more oomph.

    The Leaf has the best location for the charging port, and it has a light on the inside to see it in the dark. It has an optional lock to keep anyone from disconnecting you until it is charged. The e-Golf stays locked all the time, and only when you unlock the car, can you release it - so it is NOT easy to use on public EVSE's unless you stay with it. The Leaf also has the three blue lights in the center of the dash at the base of the windshield so that the state of charging can be seen from a distance.

    Being able to use the CHAdeMO quick charging is great - we have not used it a lot, yet, but we can use it. The total lack of CCS stations is a major lack, for both the e-Golf and the i3.

    Driving the e-Golf is far better than the Leaf - handling and steering is great. The e-Golf chassis is more solid feeling and the fit and finish is better. The Leaf has stronger acceleration, even though the motor is slightly less powerful - it must have lower gearing. The Leaf brakes are strong, but the body rolls a bit more, and occasionally the stability control kicks in by dragging a rear wheel brake - this is a bit too heavy handed, in my opinion.

    The Leaf S we have came with 16" Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 and these are excellent low rolling resistance tires, and so far I have been able to get lower energy consumption in the Leaf. My best average for a charge is just under 205Wh/mile (measuring the charge at the wall and using a corrected odometer reading). I "shift" into neutral and the Leaf simply flies along on the gentlest down slopes.

    The e-Golf has a better claimed Cd, and I tend to concur, but this advantage is undone by the unremarkable stock Continental tires. My best consumption in the e-Golf is 212Wh/mile. I hope to be able to try some low rolling resistance tires at some point, to see what the e-Golf is capable of.

    I have driven the e-Golf five times above 100 miles on one charge (best at 110 miles), and I have driven the Leaf three times farther than 100 miles (best 111 miles). My 90 day average (not every charge) on the e-Golf is 138.8MPGe, and for the Leaf it is 139.8MPGe.

    The stereo in the e-Golf is much better, though that is top-of-the-line vs base model. On the other hand, the Leaf has a USB input that works with any MP3 player, and the e-Golf requires a proprietary cable. (In theory it comes with two style iPod cables, but ours only came with the older 30 pin version.) The e-Golf has an SD slot so you can put your MP3's on a big SD card, and use that; but it requires 400x400 JPG's for the cover art.

    A couple of niggles with the e-Golf: the HVAC always resets to 72F; no matter where you left it. Grrrr ... This is annoying. It only has the two front seats heated. When you unlock the car to release the charging cord, it resets the charger's display that showed the kWh for the previous charge. Having to unlock the car to be able to pull the connector is quite annoying, and makes proper etiquette at public stations very difficult.

    The Leaf has all five seats heated, and the steering wheel is heated - my spouse is a HUGE fan of the heated steering wheel. Our Leaf S has a resistance heater, which sucks some serious wattage in the winter. Our worst total range was ~60 miles last winter; which was cold and very snowy.

    The e-Golf has adaptive creep. If you stop, and then release the brake - nothing happens. If you accelerate very lightly after coming to a stop, it continues forward after you release the accelerator pedal. I like this feature. The Leaf has "normal" creep, which is sometimes annoying. Both have a certain amount of hill hold, which is great - no drifting backward on hill starts.

    I have only driven my brother's i3 REx briefly, and it's strong regen on the accelerator is totally counter to how I have learned to ecodrive, over the last 7+ years. My brother is a bit over 6'-6" and he has a 38" inseam - and the i3 has more front legroom than any other vehicle he has ever driven. He has put a light-duty hitch on it, to carry a bicycle rack, and he carries lots of carpentry tools; though the largest (a portable wet saw) won't fit in through the hatch, and has to be angled in through the passenger side doors. He has driven it ~89.5 miles on a single charge, and then he got ~40MPG on the REx, on a ~140 mile trip.

    We have ~9,200 miles on our 2015 Leaf S, and we have had it since October '14. We have ~5,400 miles on our 2015 e-Golf and we have had it since February '15.
  2. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Thanks for the comparison, Neil.

    In town, I always use B mode on our Leaf as it allows virtually zero use of the brake pedal.

    On rare freeway segments, I'm more likely to use Drive, especially if I want to rest my foot on a downhill. Hills and freeway driving so rare for us, that I'm still in B most of the time.
  3. rdprice64

    rdprice64 Still Learning

    Thank for the great info!

    Couldn't agree more about the direct heating windshield defroster and the questionable handling in the Leaf.

    For the windshield defrosting in the Leaf, I use a solar charged battery and a small portable fan. I have mentioned the direct heated defroster to Nissan on every survey/questionaire that I have filled out for them. It would be so much better.

    For me, the Leaf handling is mostly an issue on left turns where I am trying my best to conserve momentum and then the right back brake engages. Very frustrating!

    It's interesting that the back seat of the eGolf is roomier. My basketball buddies find the back of the Leaf to be great and they are 6'2" and 6'4" Perhaps they are just being kind?

    My 90 day MPGe is 213.91 over 1488 miles, so I'm wondering if we are calculating that the same way? I got my calculation from Edmonds and it's: 34/((100/Miles Driven)*Actual KWh)*100 I am using the odo from the Leaf and the wall measurements of my Kill-a-Watt, so maybe that plays into it? I also rarely exceed 40 mph and employ all of the hypermiling techniques that I can. In the worst part of the last winter, my MPGe drop to 184.82, but I only ever use the heated seats and my solar powered fans, so I'm sure that makes a difference as well.
  4. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    The backseat of the Leaf is more of an issue for some people - the seat is low relative the the floor, and so your knees are elevated. If your knees / hips can deal with this, you're fine; but if you have issues with your knees or hips, then it is not as good.

    The e-Golf has deeper footwells and even though it looks smaller than the Leaf, it is more comfortable.

    The actual equivelency is 33.7kWh / gallon. I am using EcoModder's Garage, and I am adjusting the Leaf's odometer, and the charge reading from my JuiceBox.

    To get the number you mention, you would be driving 6.35 miles / kWh, which is possible and very impressive.
  5. rdprice64

    rdprice64 Still Learning

    It is amazing how the nice weather effects it. I hit 7.0 miles / kWh over 129.1 miles last week, the first week I have ever gotten it that high. Moderate temperatures and favorable traffic conditions really helped.
  6. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Is that your actual consumption, or the dash indicator? The highest I have seen on the dash (for any significant time) was 6.1 miles / kWh. My actual consumption best is just under 205 Wh/mile aka 4.88 miles / kWh.

    Do you have some aero mods on your EV?
  7. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Wife & I average 5.3mpk on the displays. Less in winter, more in summer. Maybe 5 in winter, 5.5 in summer.

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