If you've ever left your phone in the car on a cold day only to find the battery drained a little later, you may have concerns about the ability of electric car batteries to hold a charge in chilly climates. As Nissan looks to expand the market for the Leaf, it put out a video of the car being driven in the snowy mountains of northern Japan, in just under 16 degree weather. The verdict is in: not only does the Leaf battery not drain power, the vehicle itself can handle snow and ice covered roads just fine.
Nissan does offer battery heating systems for especially cold places, but the Leafs tested in this video didn't have them, and the battery temperature never dropped below 41 degrees. On roads with poor traction, the Leaf's low center of gravity makes it easier to control.
Although Nissan hasn’t confirmed it, we would expect that each vehicle used in the Japanese winter test drive event lost around twenty percent of its normal range due to running the heater to keep the driver and passengers of each vehicle warm. As we’ve told you before, driving a Leaf in freezing conditions without heating is particularly unpleasant.
Exactly how heating systems affect the Leaf's battery and range remains to be seen, but this video is a good start for Nissan, which will have to convince potential customers that its EV can handle the cold, even if it loses some of its range.