Nissan to Buy Back Some Range-Depleted LEAFs

By · September 27, 2012

Nissan LEAF

Nissan will buy back at least some range-depleted LEAFs from the Phoenix area. has learned that several LEAF owners whose cars Nissan recently tested at its Casa Grande facilities will be offered the chance to sell them back to the company. The offer could represent a monumental step toward re-instilling confidence in the LEAF among warm-weather drivers, mostly because so many owners had reported difficulties finding reasonable trade-in offers in the Phoenix area.

Chelsea Sexton, a respected EV advocate, was recently selected to head an independent advisory board. "I've seen confirmation from two owners so far that Nissan is buying back their cars," said Sexton. "There may be more. I know Nissan met individually with the seven core affected drivers on Monday. Both seem to be under the terms of the Arizona lemon law, so I don't know that it's necessarily an admission by Nissan that the vehicles are flawed."

“The ship is slowly beginning to turn away from rough waters,” said LEAF owner and advocate Tony Williams to me in a phone interview last night.

Williams has come to be one of the key organizers of a push by concerned LEAF drivers to get Nissan to address a heat-related range loss phenomenon that has grown to include dozens of reported cases, mostly in the Phoenix area. Earlier this month, drivers organized a range test of 12 of those vehicles in an effort to prove that the issue was more than just “normal” battery degradation, as has long been suggested by Nissan.

This weekend, the carmaker began taking steps to make things right with owners. On Saturday, senior vice president Carla Bailo sent out an open letter to the LEAF community, admitting:

“A small number of Nissan LEAF owners in Arizona are experiencing a greater than average battery capacity loss due to their unique usage cycle, which includes operating mileages that are higher than average in a high-temperature environment over a short period of time.”

In the letter, Bailo also promised that Nissan would “stand by our customers,” announcing the appointment of Sexton to head an independent advisory board to help make the company “more open and approachable in our communication and to advise us on our strategy.”

On the MyNissanLEAF forums, Sexton clarified that the board hadn’t been created with the intent of acting as a go-between on the range-loss issue, but rather to provide an ongoing engagement between Nissan and its LEAF customers. Furthermore, she expressed her hope that issue would be largely resolved by the time the panel first convened.

Several LEAF Owners Will Be Offered a Buyback

All of the details of the buyback are not yet clear, but suggest some commitment on the part of Nissan management to correct the problem.

In calculating its expected rate of range loss for the Phoenix market, Nissan has leaned heavily upon one misleading statistic: the roughly 7,500-mile average annual driving distance in the Arizona LEAF market. But as Tony Williams pointed out to me, this number fails to paint a complete picture of how the LEAF was likely to be used in the area. “It’s like if you were to calculate the average temperature here in Phoenix,” he told me. “At the higher end, things can be pretty extreme, but you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell that from simply looking at the average.”

Both Mark Perry, Nissan’s North American director of product planning, and Carla Bialo made statements over the weekend indicating that higher-than-average mileage was likely a contributing factor in the range loss. When it was learned that Nissan had predicted just 7,500 miles per year from its Phoenix customers rather than the national average of 12,500 miles per year, that claim began to make increasingly more sense.

It should be noted that Arizona LEAF owners were never made aware of Nissan's internal range estimates before they purchased their vehicles.

A Lesson in the Importance of Communication Between Carmakers and the EV Community

Above all else, the Arizona LEAF owners I’ve spoken to over the past few weeks shared one common disappointment: they felt as though their complaints were falling on deaf ears. That was likely never Nissan’s intention, as it could have led to widespread mistrust of the brand had it continued indefinitely.

Importantly, the benefits of having a solid channel of communication between carmaker and early EV adopter aren’t unique to Nissan or warm-weather LEAF owners. In rolling out their cars, plug-in vehicle manufacturers have the benefit of selling to one of the most active and passionate consumer bases out there, whose feedback and experiences could prove instrumental in future marketing and product development.

“I think every automaker needs something like this,” Sexton told me in an email earlier this week. “Drivers are one of the most underutilized resources in EV deployment.” Perhaps after this early breakdown in owner-manufacturer communications, that could soon change.

UPDATE: We have been informed that CBS 5 Arizona reported in their local newscast last night that the LEAF buybacks will take place under Arizona's Lemon Law. Click here to watch their full report.


· · 5 years ago

Well we all knew this would happen, I think Nissan had little choice. The next step is they are going to have to set some kind of criteria for what constitutes a buyback, they cannot just arbitrarily decide who qualifies and who doesn't. If they were smart they would develop a simple test that would be pass/fail based on the mileage of the car. Don't over-complicate this. We're not talking about tens of thousands of cars here that will qualify, do the right thing, err on the side of caution and keep customers happy and loyal to the brand.

· Doug (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'm curious why they're doing a "Buyback" (Perhaps they are required under the Lemon Law?) rather than a battery replacement. Would it not be cheaper for them, plus it would demonstrate that they are standing behind their car?

And if they have found they need to do some warm weather fixes (cooling system?) or upgrade the batteries to the new battery technology (which is supposedly more heat resistant among its other features) then that would help push the LEAF even further.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

they are also considering pulling Leaf's from Arizona market and other potentially hot climate areas until they can resolve this battery heat issue.

· · 5 years ago

GM offered to buy back everybody's car over the fire issue. I hope that Nissan would do the same. If I "only" lost 2 bars then I would be very keen to get rid of the car because I would not know for sure if Nissan would still offer to buy back the car when I lost my third or fourth bar.

If Nissan is now saying that this is not heat related but that it is considered normal for a car that has done 15000 miles can expect to have only 42 miles of range left?

Even with a brand new Leaf I was getting only 55 miles of range when the temperature dropped below 15 degrees. How much range would I have had left after I had driven the car for 15000 miles?

Selling my Leaf was the best decision I ever made.

· · 5 years ago

Is Nissan now saying that this is not heat related but that it is considered normal for a car that has done 15000 miles to have only 42 miles of range left?

· · 5 years ago


How cold did it get while you had your Leaf? What was your worst case range? I'm curious what will happen to me this winter, when temperatures get down to -10s. Fortunately, my round-trip commute is <5 miles, but I obviously drive more than that running errands.

· · 5 years ago

As usual, mine might be the sole voice in the (desert) wilderness, but I draw a different conclusion from the test data that those few AZ owners worked so hard to gather --a view that Nissan's own findings appear to reinforce:

In that regard, I opine that Nissan truly is bending over backwards to (as Carla Bailo wrote in her letter): "work with individual owners to ensure their satisfaction."

· · 5 years ago

I haven't had time to read through it yet ,Doug, but here is a link to that document . . .

I do remember Nissan touting the 2013 battery pack to have greater energy density (purportedly from Hitachi sourced cells ) but they've been rather quiet about enhanced warm weather durability. At this point, they probably should elaborate on that and (it is hoped) introduce a re-engineered battery cooling system.

Most of the early Nissan promotion for 2013 upgrades seemed to center around cold weather range improvements, a more efficient cabin heater (complimenting that range asset) and the 6.6kWh charger.

The next few weeks should be interesting to watch. Tony Williams' quote “The ship is slowly beginning to turn away from rough waters." is encouraging.

· Tony Williams (not verified) · 5 years ago

The 2013 will have almost the same battery as 2011-12. That infomation is from engineers at Smyrna, Tennessee. The quotes of chairman Ghosn about a new pack with 25% efficiency are misinterpreted.

I believe the recently announced independent panel headed by Chelsea Sexton will be a key conduit to head off these kinds of huge blow ups in the future, and provide input to improve future versions of the LEAF. I have spoke with her recently and left encouraged to the possibilities.

I'm encouraged at the buy backs and early lease returns (one was declined so far). However, we all must recognize that none of this was possible without the persistence and strength of folks like Andrea, Mason, Scott Y, and a whole lot more. The folks who attacked and ridiculed those suffering from compromised LEAFs not only did nothing to help, some actually worked to interfere with these positive outcomes... let's just say that each of you know who you are, and so do we.

I hope that some day very soon, this issue will be wrapped to all our mutual satisfactions, and the sooner the better. Obviously, the folks at Nissan would like to launch the new 2013 USA manufactured LEAF with minimal scrapes and bruises from this first round of LEAF production.

Information is oozing out of Nissan as to how they could claim that the batteries are normal, when only the most obtuse would otherwise agree. Whether this information release was intentional or by accident, it's a positive step. Future owners should be alerted to exactly how a LEAF should react to Phoenix, Texas, Nevada or desert California heat based on data that Nissan had in its possession since day 1. And the same is true in cold climates. This data shouldn't be buried in pages of legal documents, but plainly presented on the car to help with a purchase decision. Certainly, the 100 miles range, and other references to fantastic capabilities should be eliminated in favor of simple, honest EPA range, just as Volt is advertised.

It's fraud by omission to suggest that the LEAF would get exactly the same 80% in 5 years battery capacity when in fact they knew that wasn't true for EVERY single LEAF sold in Arizona. The omission is that they decided that you only drive 7500 miles. They didn't tell you that until the last few days. So, every driver who drives a quite normal 12,000 - 15,000 miles (according to easy to find government records, and the reason WHY they offer those to mileages for leases) is indeed driving at double their flawed, and not disclosed 7500 miles.

I call those 7500 miles the "Nissan-LEAF-Years(TM)". For Scott Y. who traveled almost 30,000 miles in his car in about 18 months, had NO IDEA that he actually traveled about 4 NLYs, and with their recently re-indexed degradation from 80% to 76% in 5 of the NLYs, they can easily call even Scott's car as "normal" with 30% range reduction in 4 NLYs. Heck, it's only a few percent below the "norm".

Several lawsuits are in the works, and while I can't guess at the outcome, I can absolutely guarantee it will cost Nissan money, just as this whole endeavor has cost a little shine off the LEAF brand. In the future, there is much work to do, but the Nissan LEAF is critical to EV acceptance in the short term.

I believe that Nissan now somewhat understands the gravity of this situation, and the ship is indeed turning away from the rocks.

· · 5 years ago

Tony Williams,, are to be commended for organizing and carrying out a carefully controlled range test of 12 of the AZ Leafs two weekends ago. The following Tuesday he posted a detailed report with their results in the MyNissanLeaf forum, and readers can find it here:

Nonetheless, because Tony and I dispute what those data show, I guess that I am one of "the most obtuse" who would agree with Nissan's findings from their analyses of 7 of the Leafs in question at their Casa Grande facilities. As indicated above, I have posted my reading of the test data here:

There are always multiple perspectives on any issue. I would simply invite readers to look over the differing points-of-view and draw their own conclusions. If they determine that I am flat out wrong about this issue... it would not be the first time it has happened in life, believe me!

· George B (not verified) · 5 years ago

Mark, we realize that you mean well, and that this entire issue is not good for the EV movement. Having said that, it's important to separate fact from fiction, and work through the teething issues to ensure that consumers across the nation can purchase an electrified vehicle and be confident in both its performance, and the implied and explicit warranty of its drivetrain.

There are significant gaps in understanding and parsing manufacturer specs, not to mention missing regulation when it comes to range, battery lifecycle and the role climatic conditions can play in all this.

That said, you don't have to believe or accept the test results Tony has published. I would assume however that you might be inclined to believe Nissan. As I have pointed out to you, and mentioned several times on and elsewhere, the results determined by the range test for vehicles which underwent investigation at Casa Grande earlier this year were within a percentage point or two of the battery state of health reported by Nissan. Perhaps you overlooked this information, since you failed to acknowledge and respond to it?

Additionally, Luke jotted down the lifecycle projection presented to him by a Nissan engineer (see below).

This graph confirms 85% state of health of his battery, and it shows how the battery (and therefore range) will likely decline over time. Presumably, this is based on 7,500 annual miles and vehicles with higher mileage will see additional degradation. That said, this chart clearly shows the relationship between battery state of health, ambient temperature and the local climate.

This should not come as a surprise, and it's something that several of us have been discussion for a while. I would expect that your own report either acknowledged this fact or that you at least allowed comments, so that readers could get a more balanced point of view.

As I have stated in a private message to you, the data from Phoenix, and elsewhere, has been scrutinized and it underwent statistical analysis. While we always observed strong correlation to average ambient temps and range loss, we did not always see such correlation to vehicle mileage. With one exception: SOH dependency on mileage is a bit stronger in Phoenix than elsewhere.

Although I alerted you to this prior discussion and the learnings we took from it, you failed to acknowledge that. Instead, you took the graph we presented in that discussion, modified it and used it in your report to further support your point.

This type of behavior and discussion does not make any sense to me. It's a waste of everyone's time, and it's potentially misleading to your readers.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

Well, ahem, it looks like Nissan wisely took my advice and did the buybacks/ battery swapouts.

Seriously though, time will tell how good a deal this is for Tucson Leaf Owners. They really had no other choice.... Even from a cold business decision it was obvious that Public Opinion was turning against Nissan.

I just filled out a survey from them, and stated under 'other', that I would not consider a Nissan product due to "THE WAY TUCSON LEAF OWNERS WERE TREATED".

They would wisely want to nip this in the bud as soon as possible while their costs are still low.

Step #2: Quickly come out with a larger/improved/more robust battery system, even if they have to take a profit hit.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Tony Williams

Please elaborate as to why a "25 % improvement" is misinterpretted. Sounds very significant to these neophyte eyes. So where am I misinterpreting?

· SteveCh (not verified) · 5 years ago

Dear Nissan, At one time I thought I wanted to buy one of your Leaf cars. Now I have no interest in your electric car. You have blown your chance to make a name for yourself as a leader in electric cars. Now I think of you as someone who is trying to screw over the public with an inferior product that you will not stand behind. I'm picking up on a tons something like "Well it's your fault for buying it".Goodbye Nissan. I'll never consider you again.

· · 5 years ago

Unfortunately, it seems that the big problem here is that:
a) Consumers don't know what to expect from electric vehicles.
Worse yet,
b) Car companies aren't used to having to explain the details on what their testing yields, especially when it reveals deficiencies.
Here are a few things that I've gleaned that you can expect to affect Lithium battery life:
1) number of charge/discharge cycles
2) calendar age
3) time spent at full charge
4) time spent at low charge
5) time spent at higher temperatures

None of these things is a solid "do this once and the battery goes bad". They are all flexible situations. For example: deeply discharging you car once down to say (for illustrative purposes only as the actual numbers will vary with battery chemistry and other factors) 5% State of Charge (SoC) and leaving it there for a day may take a fraction of a percent (let's say 0.01%) off of it's max SoC. You won't even notice this in the long term. However, if you let it sit down at 5% SoC every day, after a year or so, you'll have 365 * .01% = 3.7% degradation in your battery capacity which will be noticeable, especially after a couple of years. If you only let it sit at 20% SoC, the damage might only be 0.001% so the impact after a year would only be 0.37% - not really even measurable with real world driving. The same situation applies for leaving it completely full for long periods of time.
Manufacturers can then adjust where they will force the battery SoC to remain to reduce the chances or time that the battery can sit at these extreme SoC levels but that, of course, will impact the range per charge.

Likewise, supposing the battery has an optimal temperature of 70 F (21 C). If left at 100 F (38 C) for 12 hours, it might lose 0.1% of its SoC. During a quick drive across Tokyo, a battery without cooling might get to this level for a half hour so after a year doing this 300 times, the damage would only be 1.25%. In AZ, however, if the ambient temperature is 38 C for 12 hours each day for 60 days in the summer, this would yield a 6% loss. Even worse, if driving that car hard at 75 mph caused its temperature to increase to 130 F (54 C) for a half hour and 12 hours at 54 C causes 0.3% damage, that would add an extra 3.5% degradation for a total of almost 10% degradation per year.

Charge cycles are similar. A battery may tolerate 500 full cycles if it always goes from 0% SoC to 100% SoC but tolerate 2,000 cycles from 20% SoC to 80% SoC and then maybe even 3,000 from 30% to 70%. If 10% of the time it does 20% to 80% but 90% of the time its only from 30% to 70%, perhaps it can handle 2,900 cycles so nobody will notice. If, however, the user always does 0% to 80%, it looks pretty bad.

As you see, it is hard to predict the impact of your actions but it is also clear to see how it would be easy to shorten the life a battery pack if you do a lot of things regularly that each take a little extra off of the "nominal" life that would be a "NLY" using Tony Williams' terminology. It is even easier in a hot place like AZ where ambient temperatures naturally will take a much greater toll than is even possible in cool places such as Tokyo or most of the rest of the world.

So what's the solution: Do carmakers not sell battery cars in AZ? Do they put in active cooling and mandate that AZ owners much be plugged in 90% of the time to enable the cooling to keep the packs cool?

Do they base the battery warranty on some formula that takes into account all of the user-influenceable factors that can affect battery life?

Do they reduce the allowed range to ensure that the battery never goes above 80% SoC or lower than 20%?

I wouldn't expect the smug Volt owners to start seeing problems in AZ for a while because they do have active cooling to handle driving heat and they don't actually know what their battery is doing until there is less than the advertised ~38 miles) left. The Volt's true SoC is kept hidden (as is the Prius's) to prevent the Tony Williams' of the world from doing what they did with the Leaf with the Volt. This is, of course, necessary to enable the Volt to appear to handle the many deep charge cycles that a PHEV must go through to go the same distance as a BEV.

I do have a few suggestions that I make to prospective EV buyers that really do want their batteries to last:
1) Don't buy an EV (PHEV or BEV) if your daily driving uses more than 50% of the battery range
2) Don't do a full charge every day. Always select the 80% option unless its a rare occasion (~once a week or less) when you actually need the full range.
3) Don't leave the battery completely full for an longer than you have to. Unfortunately the Leaf's pathetic user interface doesn't let you do this very well. This also means that, at night, you want to fill it up to 50% as soon as you can, then wait to fill it the rest of the way so that it is full right before you drive it. Again, the Leaf does not support this and its slow charge rate sort of biases you against it.

· · 5 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,

You make a lot of good points. The trouble is, if you want this car to be appealing to the mass-market, you have to dumb it down. A lot. There are a lot of things you could do to make the Leaf's battery last longer, few of which are easy "set-and-forget" type things (in fact, really only the 80% max charge qualifies). My suggestion to Nissan would be to allow the user to enable a "max battery life" mode that handles much of this behind the scenes. Then they should have a button to override it (much like the timer override) for when the owner needs more range / immediate recharge / etc. Then it's a conscious decision of the owner to expose the car to harsher conditions. For many people, myself included, I would rarely hit that button - once a week max, more like once a month. Of course, active cooling wouldn't hurt.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt,
Unfortunately, "dumb it down" is a lot easier with 100 years of "everybody knows". For example, you can destroy an ICE if you ride the clutch, don't replace the oil, ride the brakes going down hills, fill the antifreeze, etc but "everybody knows" you shouldn't do those things.
Unfortunately, with EVs ignorance is the reality today. Therefore, the car companies need to educate people and "dumb down" when they can. If they dumb down to protect their (ignorant) customers too much, they get a Volt that only gets 40 miles per charge though and have to add a range extender (that "everybody knows" about) because the range is terrible. If they don't educate, they'll be upsetting customers and paying out on warranty a lot.
My 3 suggestions could be improved on if:
1) Don't buy an EV (PHEV or BEV) if your daily driving uses more than 50% of the battery range - Customer education can help this. Nissan dealers should ask their customers how far they expect to drive each day. Most, however, do not even know that this is an issue.
2) Don't do a full charge every day. - Providing a better user interface and smarter defaults would help this.
3) Don't leave the battery completely full for any longer than you have to. - Providing a simple "when do you need to be fully charged" instead of "when do you want charging to start" option would help this. Faster battery charging is also helpful here.

· · 5 years ago

Hi, George:

Yes, I do mean well for the EV movement in general, and the Nissan LEAF in particular. Thank you for acknowledging that.

Ironically, the question of what might be "fact or fiction" is precisely where Tony and I do not see eye-to-eye. For the record, I most certainly do believe and accept the test results Tony has published. I think he and the other testers put together and carried out as reliable an experiment as anyone could expect. I simply do not concur with his interpretation of those data --for the reasons I specify in my post.

I am not necessarily "inclined" to believe Nissan, but I do find it intriguing that their conclusions, released after I posted my interpretation of the test data, seem to independently bolster my own. I only wish they would also release more details, such as the charging and/or driving patterns of each LEAF they analyzed, according to the CarWings database, as I think those are also important factors to consider, especially for the two LEAFs that achieved notably less range than my extrapolated table would predict. I can only speculate that Nissan prefers to keep those specifics for each owner "private" -- which I can understand and respect.

Also for the record, I did not take the graph you presented, modified it, and used it in my report. That graph merely piqued my curiosity to see how the estimates in my extrapolated table would plot, so I created my own similar graph from scratch, using the figures from my tables.

I ultimately gave up trying to respond to the refutations of my findings in the MyNissanLeaf forum simply because I am not inclined to continue to subject myself to Tony's rude, demeaning, personal insults. There is a difference between honest criticism of another's conclusions and attacking that person's knowledge, intelligence, education, and abilities. You, however, have been cordial to me, even though we also disagree, so I am happy to try and answer some of the questions you posed previously.

There were two important objections to my conclusions that you raised: (1) I used a linear degradation extrapolated from Nissan's warranty parameters, and (2) I used a proportional percentage for each capacity bar. I hope you might now recognize that what you consider my "errors" actually favor the owners --not Nissan.

(1) If the degradation is curvilinear instead of linear (dropping faster at first, then slowing down over time), then all the Leafs tested might very well plot above that curve. Only if the trend were opposite (slower at first, then accelerating over time) would they show a loss that was below the "norm." With my linear extrapolation, two vehicles did indeed fall notably below the line, but --again-- exceptions shouldn't establish the general rule, in which ten of those Leafs seemed well within a margin of error.

(2) If we use 15% (instead of my proportional 8.34%) for the top capacity bar, then the differences between predicted range and actual range achieved in the tests would be even greater, thus bolstering Andy Palmer's statement that the gauges are faulty.

As for the 7,500 miles issue that has surfaced with Bailo's letter, I believe that owners are misinterpreting what she was saying. I thought (?) she was merely stating the average number of miles per year the 400+ Leafs in Arizona have driven to date. I did not take that to mean that Nissan is using that average to alter its projections to 80% after 5 years or "37,500 miles." I believe that their 5 years or 62,500 miles projection still stands. What I suspect owners are forgetting is that the estimates are based on the overall warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles whichever comes first. In other words, Nissan expects mileage to affect battery capacity, but also age. Whether one drives 10,000 or 60,000 miles in 5 years, they still expect the capacity to drop to 80% by that time. And whether one drives for 1 year or 5 years, they likewise expect the capacity to drop to 80% after 62,500 miles.

At any rate, George, I still stand by my interpretation of the test data, as I think it is reasonable, given what few parameters we have. Nonetheless, for argument's sake, let's say that I am totally mistaken, and that all the Leafs tested by both Nissan and Tony's crew now have capacities lower than "normal." If that really is the case, I could not in good conscience fault Nissan. Why? Because before I could take delivery, I had to sign a disclosure form that included this explicit paragraph:

Gradual loss of battery capacity. Like all lithium ion batteries, the 2012 LEAF battery will experience a reduction in the amount of electricity or charge it can hold over time, resulting in a reduction in the vehicle's range. This is normal and expected. The rate of reduction cannot be assured, however, the battery is expected to maintain approximately 80% of its initial capacity after 5 years of normal operation and recommended care,but this is not guaranteed. This number may be higher or lower depending upon usage and care. Factors that will affect and may hasten the rate of capacity loss include, but are not limited to: exposure to very high ambient temperatures for extended periods of time, driving habits, vehicle usage, and charging habits (Quick Charging the vehicle more than once per day) [my boldface].

The warning seems absolutely clear to me, and appears to cover what those owners are claiming is the case for their LEAFs. Of course, maybe the 2011 disclaimer that they signed did not include this stipulation...? If it did, and they signed it, I think it laudable that Nissan is not holding them to their agreement, but rather trying to "work with individual owners to ensure their satisfaction" even to the point of buying back their vehicles.

What saddens me most of all was to hear their comments in KPHO's latest news segment of the issue, which I commented on in a second addendum to my original post:

· Tony Williams (not verified) · 5 years ago

>>>> I am not inclined to continue to subject myself to Tony's rude, demeaning, personal insults. There is a difference between honest criticism of another's conclusions and attacking that person's knowledge, intelligence, education, and abilities. <<<<<

I stand by the fact that your internet diatribe started with attacks, and for the tiny amount of folks who use your method of attack, I believe they absolutely deserve the same in return.

In addition, it's clear that your facts about the LEAF are not complete. I fully understand your questioning, just not your method. If you have fault with that, I suggest a quick look in the mirror.

In the interest of addressing the specific issues, and setting your first foray into this issue as a bit of a blunder, let me say for the record again that you 76 miles, vice the the 84 miles that I used as a baseline for a new car are different. You have stated your reasons, and so have I.

Hopefully, in the future, you will be just a tad less indicting and a bit more open to learn about the issues before throwing spears that you don't like getting returned.


· Tony Williams (not verified) · 5 years ago

>>> @Tony Williams

Please elaborate as to why a "25 % improvement" is misinterpretted. Sounds very significant to these neophyte eyes. So where am I misinterpreting? <<<<


The problem is that there is not going to be a significant change to the 2013 LEAF battery in chemistry, or design. The 25% improvement offered by chairman Ghosn is in cost to the manufacturer, due to assembly in North America, as opposed to Japan. Shipping costs and the Yen to Dollar exchange rate are key issues for Nissan.

The 2013 LEAF will go about 84 miles in our test when new, the same as a 2011-12. There will be improvements for a cold weather environment, whereby the battery will have the same temporary loss of capacity from being cold, but the more efficient heat pump will warm the cabin with less power used.

So, a new 2013 LEAF will go 84 miles in our test conditions, and if the only change is 30F (-1C) weather, then the battery will have about 10% less capacity, hence range. In addition, there will be an additional drain on the battery from the battery that will FURTHER reduce range, and that can be significant. That's why 2012 LEAFs have electric seat and steering wheel heating that you can use in place of the power hog heater.

Hope this helps,


· · 5 years ago

First, I very much appreciate observation contributed by Tony, Mark, various other Arizona Leafers who have commented and Plug In Car's own ex-EV1 on all of this.

Thinking outside the box - and coming from an Arizona resident who hopes to be an EV owner one day - the below news release regarding research into battery cooling seems to be something that could solve a lot of the problems discussed above . . .

Certainly better than air (or no air) cooling, lighter weight and less complex (and less expensive) than conventional liquids with radiator and, unlike the latter, no need to have the car plugged in to activate.

Of course, I think everyone is hoping that A123's EXT cells aren't in the vaporware/unobtanium category . . .

Although it might be too late for the 2013 model year Leaf - but hopefully not too late for the concept of a viable commercial EV - one hopes that something like the above arrives to make today's problems diminish quickly enough. We put people on the surface of the Moon 43 years ago. Can we design a reliable/affordable EV battery packs for Arizonans?

· Richard Kelly (not verified) · 5 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver,

One of your three suggestions is already in place in the LEAF:

>"Providing a simple "when do you need to be fully charged" instead of
>"when do you want charging to start" option would help this. Faster battery
>charging is also helpful here."

When setting a charge timer, just leave the start time blank and enter your desired end time. The LEAF will estimate when to start charging. In practice, I've found it to be a little conservative (starts about an hour too early), but it's close enough to accomplish what you're looking for.

· · 5 years ago

Is there any word about what terms Nissan is offering lessees for breaking their lease?

Also, for tax reasons I am considering actually purchasing a Volt as opposed to leasing again. Considering the state of battery technology, even with the Volt's active thermal management system and other conservative engineering practices, does this make sense for warm climates?

· · 5 years ago

@Richard Kelly,
Thanks, I guess that works for the current timer function. Its too bad they don't have a single-use setting that I can use that does not require a daily timer setting. When I plug in at work, I'd like to be able to quickly tell it to give me an 80% charge, ready by 5:00 pm.

· · 5 years ago

@Tony Williams - I would like to know at least the general terms of the early lease returns. Thanks to George's posting in another thread of the disclosure agreement (which I presumably at least had a chance to read in the lease agreement for my 2011 - I will do another post if I can't find it), I learned Nissan considers “driving at a steep incline for extended periods of time, and (4) electrical use, especially heater or air conditioner use.” “severe conditions”. With Mt. Lemmon’s 6500 ft ascent, it is not possible for an ‘extended period of time’ to exceed an hour by very much. Pretty much year around use of air conditioners is a given in Arizona.

Before leasing my LEAF I told the dealer multiple times it HAD to be able to make the 6500 foot climb up Mt. Lemmon. My first attempt was a failure. I was carrying a passenger who became nervous when the range guesstimator began to indicate we might not make it back. The next trip I discovered that I could indeed make the trip – but only by charging the battery to 100% and then discharging it to basically two bars, even when the LEAF was new. I have made the trip perhaps 20 – 25 times now and on a recent trip briefly had NO charge showing on the gauge while climbing Bigelow summit prior to the Mt. Lemmon decent.

14 months into my lease, my 2011 LEAF does not look like a keeper. I leased mainly out of concern there might be problems with the battery because it lacked an active thermal management system. It appears those concerns were well-founded. I certainly intended to keep the LEAF if they had not been, just recently completing a home-remodeling project with the principle purpose of adding more roof space to accommodate the LEAF’s power demands. As it is, 14 months of hoped for accumulated equity are gone – a much smaller loss than those who took the plunge and bought their LEAFs.

This is the story I am going to tell my dealer when I apply for early lease termination. I don’t know how much relief it may entitle me to from the charges spelled out in my lease contract. And quite frankly I suspect neither does the dealer. If, however, I learn that other lease holders were granted more generous release terms, it will no doubt raise questions about how much the dealer was willing to go to bat for me. To date I have only lost one battery capacity bar and after a recent 7500 mile checkup was informed my battery condition was “very good”.

However, after understanding what Nissan considers “severe” operating conditions and a better understanding of what it takes to obtain the maximum longevity of the LEAF’s battery, I want out – no more good money after bad. I don’t think it wise for Nissan to leave decisions to dealers about what is ‘fair’. It certainly risks creating ill-will towards them – and towards Nissan if it ever gets the battery ‘right’ in future generations of LEAFs.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Tony Williams

Thanks for dispelling some of the confusion. This is on a related blog, but the video of Perry stating the Leaf would drive 100 miles under real world driving conditions did nothing but confuse everyone outside of Nissan, including me.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I love my Leaf.

· Anonymous1 (not verified) · 5 years ago

The folks who attacked and ridiculed those suffering from compromised LEAFs not only did nothing to help, some actually worked to interfere with these positive outcomes. - Tony Williams

well said, and the same holds true for all of us who feel threatened when someone knocks our Tesla, Volt, et al. Stop taking criticism personally unless you actually built the car !

· Tony Williams (not verified) · 5 years ago

@world2steven, I would not go through the dealer for an early lease return. Call Nissan Financial and tell them you want a quote for an early lease return. They won't do it unless you have 12 paid months, which you do. Once you get the quote, decide whether it works for you. Note that this has nothing to do with whether your car is broken or not.

Good luck!

· Smiling when sailing (not verified) · 5 years ago

I live in Northern Norway and bought our Leaf last March I think it was. We have only been driving about 13000 km since then. Back then nobody reported about range degradation or heat issues but I was aware of the fact that high temperatures affect battery life in the long run and low temperatures vehicle range immediately. High temperatures are not a problem here and range at low temperatures doesn't seem to be either, at least with our driving habits.
We used the Leaf this summer for vacation in Southern Finland and drove 3300 km during the vacation. However, we put the car on the car/night train to travel the 900/1100 km from Northern to Southern Finland, therefor only needing to drive 450 km one way and 650 km back, which we did by staying overnight one additional time to the train ride. With our conventional fuel car we also use the train but don't stay one more night on the way. In the end I am very happy with this experiment and everything worked better than expected. The car has never seen a quick charger, since there are non where I have been traveling, though it would have saved us some time. On the other hand, we always found something to do during the charging times and fortunately the weather was fine.
I would never try this in the winter season since temperatures can drop to -40 and the distance between fuel stations/villages is between 80 and 110 km throughout the trip with no official charging opportunities. However, I actually didn't plan on using the Leaf on vacation and it was a fun experience, but due to family size we will most probably use a bigger fuel guzzler next time.
Time will tell how much capacity loss we will experience, but apart from vacation trips which were not planned in advance of purchase I could live with 50% range (50-70 km) and could still feel comfortable with about 70% range (70-95 km) as I seem to have a range between 100-150 km for the time being with temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees C.
Summing up we are very happy with our Leaf, BUT I never expected to have a 160 km range in real life (and I don't belief in other advertisement either). If my battery during the coming year will degrade in the same way as some of the Arizona owners experience, I will of course not be satisfied, but this is in the climate I live in with absolute peak temperatures of -18 and +30 degrees C (and usually between -10 and +18 degrees) .
I would certainly hope for Nissan to take their customers seriously, not because they legally have to, but because they claimed to have this great idea of becoming a leading EV producer. If they really want to advance the EV movement they should put some more effort into communication with both satisfied and non-satisfied customers and of course take some of the blame by overpromising the range. With only a few 10000 Leafs worldwide that should be an easy task. And of course advertising vehicles as up to 120 km in real life would also help to keep future customers satisfied, as they would be able to exceed this range easily and it would keep people from buying who are way out of range in their expectations and therefor unlikely to be satisfied anyway.
One day I will try to drive the 160 km, the problem is only that I don't like driving cars in vain and it is sort of difficult to predict if the car is going to be close to a charging spot once you reach the range limit in everyday life, especially since I am going somewhere where I need to be at a certain time, obviously. That's why I usually charge even if I have still 1 or 2 battery bars left after 120-130 km and that's why I think the advertised range should be adjusted to a more reasonable up to 120 km (even if you could drive much farther). If I had money to spare, I probably would try to get hold of one of the range degraded Leafs as a second commuter and buy an old fuel guzzler for vacation only. I would think these degraded Leafs could be really attractive for people who really need a car only for less then 40 km each day and there should be plenty of those people...

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