Nissan VP Andy Palmer Answers Questions About LEAF Battery Concerns
Nissan has released video of a 16-minute interview between global executive vice president Andy Palmer and noted electric vehicle advocate Chelsea Sexton. The video comes as the carmaker attempts to repair its relationship with some in the EV community who have been dissatisfied with its response to reported battery degradation in hotter climates like Phoenix.
Much of the interview is centered around those claims, and in it, Palmer attempts to once again give Nissan’s side of the story, attributing the issue to a combination of factors including driving distance, charging habits, climate, and the car’s battery level display. Last month, Palmer was widely criticized for claiming that the problem rested entirely with a faulty battery display.
Sexton and Palmer also discussed the possibility of offering a replacement battery pack for owners wishing to get a fresh start after their cars have experienced the normal, expected range loss that Nissan says will see most cars losing between 20 and 30 percent of capacity over 5 to 10 years. Palmer said Nissan had never even considered the possibility that owners would request such an option, but promised to look into the matter further.
Over the last two weeks, Nissan has taken significant steps to address the range-loss issue, including offering buybacks on several of the initial seven vehicles it had brought to its Casa Grande facilities for testing. Additionally, the carmaker has moved to forge a more open dialogue with the LEAF community with the formation of an advisory panel led by Sexton, and by actively participating on the MyNissanLeaf.com message boards.
Nissan maintains that it will deal with range-loss claims on a case-by-case basis, and hasn’t yet offered a general commitment to purchase back or cancel the leases on dozens of other vehicles that have reportedly lost bars of charge capacity at a faster-than-expected pace.
Provided that progress continues to be made in communicating with the remaining aggrieved owners and ensuring their satisfaction, Nissan’s reputation within the EV community is likely to recover. What the company can’t afford to do is ignore further range-loss complaints as it did through most of the summer. Hopefully, Palmer his fellow executives are committed to ensuring that won’t be the case.
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