Advertisement

Should Nissan Offer Warranty Options For The 2011 Leaf?

Follow Nikki

Taken at the June 15 Leaf Driving event in Japan.

Taken at the June 15 Leaf Driving event in Japan.

Enlarge Photo

 What is an acceptable warranty for an electric car? Three years? Four years? Ten Years? And should customers be able to choose what that warranty level is?

That is the question Nissan was asking last week when it sent out a questionnaire to the 16,100 people who have paid out $99 to reserve a 2011 Nissan Leaf.

As part of the extensive questionnaire Nissan sent to its prospective Leaf owners the company asked just what warranty length customers would feel happy with.

Here's the problem though. In order to satisfy the 2011 Nissan Leaf for the California advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle rebate (AT-PZEV) - which is worth an additional $5,000 on the top of the standard $7,500 federal tax credit applied to any electric or plug in car - Nissan has to offer a 150,000 mile or ten year warranty.

When Chevrolet announced the warranty of its extended range electric car at eight years, or 100,000 miles, many Californian consumers faced the truth that it would not be eligible for the extra AT-PZEV credit, applicable at purchase.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo
Rather than simply announce a warranty,  Nissan has asked it's customers if they would be willing to accept a warranty as low as five years, or 60,000 miles on the Leaf. Other options included 8 years, 100,000 miles, or 10 years, 150,000 miles.

While Nissan is yet to announce the final retail price of its 2011 Leaf, it makes sense to assume that a lower warranty price would equal a lower retail price.

But with replacement battery packs still costing in excess of $15,000, isn't a long warranty the key to ensuring a healthy uptake?

It depends.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf has a maximum range of 100 miles. Driving it to its maximum range every day, a 60,000 mile warranty would expire in a little over one and a half years.

Obviously, a car driven no more than 30 miles per day would not exceed the milage limit of a 60,000 mile warranty until five years had passed.

It is basic common sense to assume a car's resale value on the used market is directly proportional to the warranty given on it from new.

As the length of time a car is owned by a particular person is usually no more than five years, especially for a brand new car, a shorter warranty is unlikely to affect the first car's owner.

But it will affect the retail value. As we already know, cars with extended warranties taking out at the point of sale often command higher prices on the used market.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo
For those who only intend to drive the 2011 Leaf on short daily trips, a lower warranty level might significantly lower the MSRP the car's first owner shells out for it without directly impacting on the level of protection the owner receives on their car.

Lower the warranty too far though, and regardless of the sticker price consumers will be reticent to buy the Leaf in case the car is worth nothing in a few years should a battery pack die.

While the Leaf battery pack will degrade over time, it's tough to say right now how quickly it will happen. Nissan is also unsure and must tread the fine line between a suitable warranty and an acceptable price in order become the victor in the electric vehicle wars.

Perhaps though, Nissan should consider offering a tiered warranty scheme to allow consumers to offset a lower cost with a lower warranty. It may just work.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (7)
  1. The main advantage of buying a Nissan Leaf is that it will be first to the market and even then it is for people living in selected areas. Many companies have promised to sell electric cars next year including an electric version of the Ford Focus. Unless Nissan treats its first customers right many of us may choose to wait until next year. I do not want to buy an expensive car that will become worthless in five years.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. dont be expecting to sell your vehicles at anywhere near its purchase price. this is even more true if you are dumb enough to purchase a new gas car.
    for the first time in 100 years, the automobile industry is being revolutionized.
    simply look at your ev purchase as a utility device. if it will do the job that you need it to do, then it is a worthwhile purchase.
    i think these first cars already will do that. if i was seriously in the market for a car, the one thing i would want to ascertain is whether the car of today is being built with the ability to have tomorrow's battery ?
    the battery industry should be standardized from the get-go, that they fit in the same outside containers, so it is merely taking one container out, and putting one container in.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Yes, Standardize the battery packages just like he plugs they are using. Aftermarket batteries will help drive costs down. It will also enable battery swapping technology as another option for filling up opposed to quick charge stations.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. What people don't seem to be aware of is the fact that Volt has the most durable lithium battery you can buy today. It's more durable than Prius's NiMH battery. GM could have offered a 10 year/150K mile warranty without increasing cost, but they decided to go conservative because it is "unknown" to them, even though another automaker using it before GM verified its super durability.
    Leaf on the other hand has the cheapest automotive battery in Japan, the one with a designed life span of 95K miles. Accordingly, matching GM's warranty is impossible for Nissan, since their battery was never designed to last that long.
    This is the reason Nissan is being coy about Leaf's battery warranty.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. i bet you will find that the coda ends up being the best ev being sold. of course, you have to live in california to buy it the first year.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. Sorry Hypermiler...both the Leaf and Volt will use the same battery chemistry and type of battery, though made by different companies. Nissan has a lot of experience with lithium, and the lithium manganese cells in question have been around for 10 years. Plenty of history. As far as I'm concerned, Nissan can warranty everything except the battery and I'd still keep my Leaf reservation.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. I am confident in Nissan’s quality and with them standing behind their product.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you
Go!

Find Green Cars

Go!

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.