When a potential engineering or safety problem with a new or nearly-new car arises, the task of reassuring concerned owners normally falls to the relevant press departments and middle-management.
But growing public concern about the rapid battery capacity loss exhibited by some Nissan Leafs in Arizona has prompted Carla Bailo, Senior Vice President of Nissan America’s Research and Development team, to write an open letter to Nissan Leaf owners in an attempt to explain what Nissan is doing to resolve the problem.
Posted a week after Mark Perry, Nissan North America’s Product Planning and Advanced Technology Director admitted that Nissan was investigating Arizona’s wilting Leafs, the letter was posted in full on the very web forum where the loss of Leaf battery capacity was first reported.
Although Nissan emailed us a copy of the letter in response to questions we’d asked it earlier this week, we note that curiously, the letter is not present on Nissan’s main news site, where corporate news items are usually posted.
Owners valued, concerns shared
In opening her letter, Bailo is careful to thank Leaf owners for their loyalty to the Leaf so far, and also acknowledges the MyNissanLeaf forum’s role in highlighting the problem.
Three Nissan Leafs
Three Nissan LeafsEnlarge Photo
“At Nissan we consider ourselves fortunate to have such passionate and engaged customers -- especially within our Leaf family,” she writes.
“Recently, we learned from the Nissan Leaf community -- and specifically from some Phoenix-area Leaf owners -- of growing concern about battery loss with their electric vehicles,” Bailo continues. “The Forum’s discussion around battery capacity loss has reached a point where I feel it important to personally address what is being debated, to provide Nissan’s viewpoint and, most importantly, to explain the actions we are taking to work with owners.”
A tiny proportion
In keeping with past statements from Nissan on the issue of premature battery aging, Bailo reiterates that to her knowledge, the number of Leafs affected by the issue remains tiny.
By Nissan’s own calculations using battery data collected from Nissan Leafs, less than 0.3 percent of all Leafs in the U.S. -- equivalent to around 40 vehicles -- have experienced a loss of any battery capacity bars.
“Overall, this universe of vehicles represents a very small fraction of more than 13,000 Nissan Leafs on U.S. roads,” she writes. “Also, data received globally from other Leaf vehicles shows that this condition typically occurs to high-mileage cars or those in unique operating situations.”