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Study: Volt, Leaf Owners Travel Same Number Of Electric Miles Annually

(Credit: Nissan)

Fuel Efficiency

Study: Volt, Leaf Owners Travel Same Number Of Electric Miles Annually

2016 Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf (Credit: Nissan)

Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt owners are always battling it out over which car is better. A new study from Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is only going to fan the flames.

As originally reported by AutoBlog, INL conducted a study of how about 8,700 plug-in cars were used throughout a period of three years. The car owners were spread around several regions of the United States, helping to capture a better overall picture. Among the included vehicles were an unspecified quantity of Volts and Leafs.

The big controversy is that INL found little difference in how many all-electric miles Volt and Leaf owners traveled.

For some background, the Volt is called a range-extended vehicle, because it can only drive an estimated 38 miles using only the electric motor and battery. After that, the gasoline engine kicks on to help out, effectively extending the range. Volt owners argue that 38 miles is plenty of range for most trips, and that the option of using gasoline is nice for occasional longer journeys. The Leaf, on the other hand, can go over twice as far using only electricity.

Numerous studies of driving habits for people in the United States back up the claim that in everyday scenarios, 38 miles is plenty of range. Naturally, Leaf drivers think such studies are bunk.

Also interesting about the INL study is the conclusion that Volt drivers recharged on average about 1.5 times each day, versus once a day for Leaf drivers. Fans of the Nissan EV would argue this is an effect of the improved range, and it likely is. About 85 percent of charging for the two cars was done at the owner’s house.

People who charged their cars away from home did so regularly, with about 20 percent of owners making up 75 percent of public charger use. Those drivers averaged 72 percent more miles on the road each day, which could account for their willingness to charge while on the go. The majority of Volt and Leaf owners use Level 1 and Level 2 chargers

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