2011 Nissan Leaf: One Year On, How Healthy Is The Battery Pack?

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2011 Nissan Leaf SL

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

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It’s now been well over a year since the first 2011 Nissan Leafs were delivered to customers in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. 

But after one year, how are early Nissan Leafs performing? Are their battery packs still healthy, or have they started to show signs of wear already?

According to anecdotal evidence from popular Nissan Leaf Internet forum MyNissanLeaf, most -- if not all -- Leafs so far are being given a clean bill of health on their first annual service. 

That includes their 24 kilowatt-hour battery packs. 

As part of Nissan’s annual service schedule for the Leaf, Nissan engineers download each car’s battery history, detailing charging, use and power consumption data. 

Nissan then analyzes this information, producing a simple battery report for the customer, detailing overall health of the battery pack. 

Split into five sections, the Battery Information Sheet covers remaining battery capacity expressed as a 12 bar graph, along with an five star rating for frequent use of quick charging; frequent charging when battery state of charge is already high; too much electric consumption; and long term parking with a high state of charge. 

2011 Nissan Leaf Software Update

2011 Nissan Leaf Software Update

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With first year odometer readings ranging from a few thousand miles to well over 18,000, all -- except one -- Leafs appear to have suffered nothing more than negligible battery degradation, scoring full marks for battery capacity.

That’s hardly surprising however. According to Leaf experts, the first bar of the Leaf capacity gauge represents a battery capacity of between 85 and 100 percent. Losing that first bar would represent a drop in capacity of more than 15 percent. 

But even a lesser drop in battery capacity of more than a few percent would equate to a dramatic loss of range, something most Leaf owners aren’t reporting. 

In fact, most Leaf owners we talk to say they are able to obtain a similar range from a full charge as they could this time last year. 

The only exception appears to be cold weather, with owners in colder states reporting their Leafs exhibit a dramatic drop in range in bad winter weather. 

With just over 13500 miles covered in our own 2011 Nissan Leaf, our experiences are similar. 

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

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On a warm winters’ day, we’re finding ranges in excess of 80 miles possible. On a colder, wet or windy day, range is nearer 50 miles if lots of in-car heating is used. 

Loss in battery capacity? It’s something we haven’t seen yet after 11 months of ownership -- and something that the majority of Leaf owners aren’t reporting either. 

Do you own a Leaf? Have you had your first year’s service and battery report? Let us know your results in the Comments below. 


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Comments (6)
  1. After 13100 miles, no loss. With this cooler weather seem to get more range as a/c not used and when wife gets home she has 3 bars left vs. 2 in summer time in her 60 mile commute. There is a big drop in range when heater is used, 3 times the a/c use. I here the upgraded software fixes some of the heating issues as well as range estimates. I will get the free upgrade as soon as I can.

  2. 1 yr, 12k miles and no issues with range, battery or anything else with this car. What's the price of gas lately?... no idea. I really don't miss doing the gas station shuffle every week. I also like the extra $2500 in my pocket that came from parking my SUV except for occasional long trips. Now, I want a sportier, 2-seater with 5-sec 0-60 and great handling. EVs are fun.

  3. Nikki, this is a great report! I wonder if you could do it on the Tesla Roadsters? I have heard rumors, not so great and in fact some used Teslas are selling pretty cheap. But there are always exceptions. I had heard that when you buy your new Tesla Roadster, you had the option to up front buy a new replacement pack at a discount. There are not a lot of EV's to investigate, so let's look at the one's on the road.

  4. I put about 8,000 miles on in about five months. No change in range so far. I'm glad to hear everyone seems to be having a similar experience. My LEAF has been great.

  5. i-MiEV 1 year old, done 15000 miles. My impression is that the battery capacity has improved by about 5% rather than diminish.

  6. They need to put an inverter variable speed heatpump system in instead of a resistive heater. This will increase range a lot, by heating the cabin and the battery with a heat pump instead of base board heater technology.

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