I’ve ben planning to write this article up for a couple of days, since I saw a UK headline about the “155-mile” 2016 Nissan LEAF. Interestingly, John Voelcker seems to have beat me to the punch and has just written what looks like a similar piece. I’m going to wait until after writing my piece to read John’s (I’ve just seen his title so far), since I wanted to make this an original and want to see how similar they end up, but I’m sure his article is worth a read.
The basic story that this broader story is based on is that the new 2016 Nissan LEAF SV and SL have an electric range of 107 miles according to the US EPA, but a whopping 155 miles according to the New European Driving Cycle. Being an electric car reporter, it is very inconvenient and even irritating dealing with the vast differences in rated range and efficiency between the different continents. And the blame is basically on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
Achieving the EPA-rated range of an electric car is difficult enough. The absurdly optimistic ranges provided under the NEDC are nearly useless. In fact, to the unaware, they are worse than useless — they are misleading.
The issue extends beyond electric driving range. It’s a similar story when it comes to emissions and fuel economy/efficiency.
Aside from auto company employees eager to game the system, I don’t understand how anyone could consider the unrealistic NEDC ratings acceptable. Something needs to change. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Back to my role as an electric car reporter, it is a constant challenge reporting on cars in Europe that aren’t yet in the US or never will be. Is it a good idea to report the NEDC ratings? Or does that just result in too much confusion and misinformation? It doesn’t help that there’s no standard formula for determining what would be the EPA range, efficiency, etc, from the NEDC rating. The NEDC range could be 20% higher, or it could be 40% higher. Who knows?
For now, my plan is to continue reporting the NEDC ratings when I have nothing else to go on, while indicating how unrealistic they are. In cases where there’s an NEDC rating and an EPA rating, I will use the EPA rating and translate into kilometers, as I have been doing for a while.
Image via JP White