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Nissan Responds To Wilting Arizonan Leafs, Studies Lost Battery Capacity

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Nissan Leaf: Lost Battery Capacity

Nissan Leaf: Lost Battery Capacity

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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 Leafs

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“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.”


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Comments (33)
  1. Interesting - only about 40 cars? I'm in Texas and I am One. I have not gotten any direct correspondence from Nissan and if not for this site would have much less knowledge of the battery issue. Looking forward to hearing from them sooner, rather than later.
     
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  2. Strictly an attempt at damage control. Nissan got caught with their pants down with this issue, they still seem to be fumbling around for a solution. Problem is - the 'solution' probably is a total redesign of their battery pack which would take time and investment.

    Given LEAF sales are lagging far behind Nissan's expectations, top management has been put between a rock and a hard spot in deciding what direction to go in - take the time and spend the $$ to get a better battery for an unprofitable product whose chances of survival may be in question; or stretch things out as they are now happening and hope they can keep a lid on the problem until a cheaper, relatively satisfactory answer to the problem materializes.
    Either way is risky.
     
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  3. It may be correct that only 0.3% of Leaf owners are effected with the premature battery degredation issue, but each Leaf owner so effected is afflicted 100%. To be a member of the 0.3% club is neither an honor nor little to nil consolation.
     
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  4. I don't have a Leaf so not sure how much my opinion matters, but it's most likely due to the cooling system is lacking. I got from the letter that we want to get ahead of the issue and downplay it. So damage control. However Nissan seems to really be behind the Leaf so I suspect they really will investigate and make good.
     
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  5. i have a LEAF in a cool climate with no battery degradation. i personally feel that nothing happening right now is a surprise to Nissan and they already had a game plan to replace batteries when the TN plant got up and running to greatly reduce the cost of the "fix". keep in mind; some battery degradation is expected and advised so guessing that unless you are approaching the 25-30% degradation that some Phoenicians are seeing, they will not replace yours. losing 10% in TX or CA should have been expected and in any case, the 20% after 5 yrs or 30% after 10 has to start sooner or later. either way i take Nissan's statement to be a "stall" since TN batteries will not be available for another 5-8 weeks?
     
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  6. What should be investigated is the current distribution of new LEAFs on the showrooms. in the Pacific NW, the stock of LEAFs for sale has really jumped up in the past 3-4 weeks. my area which is much smaller than Phoenix states 58 new LEAFs in a 50 mile radius but Phoenix (about 10X larger) only has 43 New LEAFs. sounds like Nissan had an inkling of the AZ issue much sooner than they let on
     
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  7. David, I suggest you bring your sorry self to Southern Arizona and experience its Summer's full effect. Otherwise you ignorance based postulations!!!!!!
     
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  8. Well David I'm STUPID. I didn't read what you had to say FULLY, so I made an ASS of myself. I apologize. I hope you will accept my apology. Good luck with your Leaf....J
     
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  9. The .3% statement is misleading. First, that .3% would represent only the owners who have lost capacity and reported it on MNL. Second, even if those were the only owners, it would still represent 10% of the cars in Arizona. That is not a percentage that could be called an outlier, like, say, .3%.

    I am happy they pulled those six cars and are testing, but I found this letter to be superfluous. I am not, as the letter states, an, "EV pioneer." I bought a modern production car, and I want it to be as reliable as any other Nissan. I also found it dismissive when describing the affected cars as "high mileage." I've seen two of the cars that are now in Casa Grande, and yes, one has 25K miles. That's 2 years of average driving.
     
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  10. Whether you acknowledge it or not, someone who buys a first gen product is a pioneer. (A person who is among the first.) It may be true that such a person would want the new technology to be as reliable as the well-refined older technology, but the fact is that such an expectation may or may not be completely fulfilled. The manufacturer offers a warranty and it should be read and understood completely before a buying decision is made, because no matter what technology is used, that is the only recourse. If they warrant the battery for more than you end up getting, and they fix it, then there's nothing to complain about. (Remembering that consequential damages are not a part of the warranty.)
     
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  11. I am one of only 6 Leaf owners that had their Leafs collected by Nissan and send to Casa Grande "to conduct extensive testing". I dearly hope Nissan is really trying to fix the problem. I love my Leaf, but have gotten tired of hearing that everything is "Normal" with my Leaf. I will be getting my car back from Nissan on August 3rd and plan to continue to work with Nissan to fix the problem, provided Nissan admits there is a problem and allows me to help.

    Thank you Green Car Report for repoting this and keeping everyone updated.
     
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  12. Scott, thank you very much for sharing your experience with others here. I certainly hope Nissan does the right thing here in the long run, although I suspect this will take time to work through, even if Nissan is sincere.

    We'll all be looking forward to your follow-up comments once you know more about what's going on with your car. Again, best of luck!
     
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  13. Update! I got my car back today from Nissan's 2 week testing in Casa Grande. My Nissan Dealership was not able to tell me much about what was done to my car, but I still have 3 Battery Capacity Bars missing and the Leaf's Mileage Guess-O-Meter is still reading on 48 mile estimated range on 100% charge with climate control on. I don't know when, or even if I will ever find out what was done to my car, or if Nissan has or is planning a fix. I was hoping to have better information from Nissan for this update, but alas, this is what I was given, or should I say not given.
     
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  14. Battery chemistry is the key. Heat speeds chemical reactions and not all of the are reversible. I am impressed with Nissan's committment to EVs. I suspect all those with problems will at least get a new battery pack on warranty. The world is getting warmer so this is a problem that has to be understood and controlled.
     
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  15. Li-Ion Battery life could be affected negatively without adequate cooling and heating. Engineers need to review the passive battery cooling system that was designed fort he Leaf.
     
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  17. i'm concerned about your lack of concern. Lip service is not a vaued commodity to people who are getting royalty screwed. To nISSAN valued owners, they are really saying, "take it or leaf it" !!
     
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  18. How exactly are you getting royally screwed? Is Nissan telling you they are not going to comply with the terms of your warranty?
     
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  19. i think nissan is serious.

    what i suspect will happen, is that nissan will simply give dollars back to these owners, as compensation.

    when the time comes, they can replace their battery pack with the most up to date model.
     
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  20. right now it's 30% engineering analysis, 40% damage control and 30% They have no clue.

    I think Nissan should get out and say "When we designed the leaf, we anticipated a 5 year 80% battery life and a 10 year 60% battery life, if
    customers aren't getting that we anticipate replacing batteries that are showing a 70% battery life before 5 years or we will give very generous credits on new model year vehicles that they trade in on. We expect
    thissolution may not be satisfactory for all customers but we want
    a decent solution for the most affected users"
     
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  21. Nissan has refused to provide a performance warranty on their battery, and has repeatedly said to expect degradation. So now when degradation is happening, owners are complaining.

    I don't think Nissan was very smart to take this approach, but it is not unique. GM and Tesla do provide charge capacity warranty, and probably some other companies. To me this is justification to purchase an EV from a manufacturer that stands behind its battery performance. This is one of the key reasons a LEAF costs less.
     
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  22. Interesting. So Nissan got people to buy a product that had no warranty on it? Really? GM offers an 8 year warranty on its battery and clearly outlines the amount of degradation that is considered normal over the 8 year life. If Nissan really didn't offer anything like that, maybe that is part of the reason GM is selling a lot more Volts.
     
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  23. Looking at the picture what strikes me the most is that the car has only 1,500 miles on the clock and it has a degraded battery already. This is NOT a high mileage vehicle.

    The second thing I noticed is the car is set to charge to 100% for such a low mileage vehicle the owner should set it up to charge to 80% most of the time.
     
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  24. I live in Oklahoma and at the concern of having a huge 38k paper weight I am not driving my leaf. We are having temps between 105 - 110 for the next two weeks!!!!!! I am really irritated, I did not spend 38,000.00 for it to sit in my garage. That might not even help because my garage was 105 yesterday!!!!
     
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  25. A few thoughts for Ms. Bailo. Thank you for you letter and for letting us know that Nissan is now looking into the serious range loss that is being experienced.

    Since the battery(s) involved in every single complaint regarding capacity loss has been "confirmed" by trained service personnel to be "working as designed" or "normal" we agree that it would be good to go back and understand all the "events" and "causes" which cause battery loss to exceed stated expectations. Anxiety seems to be running high with customers that have invested to buy your vehicle. There are some things you said in your letter that probably has caused even higher anxiety rather than reduced it. (cont.)
     
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  26. Namely:
    "Pledge update as soon as possible". I would recommend something more specific, like: We will have our data collection completed by Aug 10 and an update to the Leaf community no later than August 15. Even if the update only can state further steps, the community will have less anxiety for all the time between now and the promised update.

    "...Leaf batteries will generally have 80%..." This is the first time I heard the qualifyer "generally". It seems you are now trying to change objective numbers to something much more subjective. (cont.)
     
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  27. "...whether their performance is within the range of expectations or not". I'm afraid this is not in question. The loss of 1 or 2 bars in a year's time is definately not within the range of expectations of any Leaf customer. Expectations were made prior to their purchase, not after Nissan's attempt at spin on the subject. Expectations were derived from statements made by Nissan. Trying to change expectations after the fact will rob Nissan of it's credibility.

    The steps Nissan actually takes to satisfy customers that lose more than 80% capacity in 5 years will directly affect the speed of adoption of all BEVs.
     
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  28. I have waited since the EV-1 by GM SNAFU to buy a reasonably priced EV. I have never owned a Japanese made automobile in my life. A colleague from Japan years ago told me Nissan was the way to go if you do decide to do so. So in 2011 we bought our Leaf with cash! Obviously, the engineers were ignorant of the devastating effects of the heat here in southern Arizona(insufficient R&D). This was probably due to the greedy "Bean Counters" that wanted to saturate the market to beat the competition. Now we are stuck with this design incapable of tolerating these conditions, and I had to be the one to contact Nissan(concealment?!). As a result I was assigned a case # from customer support from Nissan USA, but have nothing. Running out of characters
     
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  29. continuation! But have heard nothing back. The pea brain that has never experienced this heat should shut his ignorant arrogant mouth. Nissan has put out a product with a serious defect, and had better fix it in a timely manner, as well as communicating with us customers and dealers. Their credibility is highly questionable, and are risking even more loss of market share. Consideration of Nissan in the future will be highly suspect, when buying in the future.
     
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  30. Stating that only 0.3% of Leafs are affected by this issue may be true nationwide but at least 42 Phoenix Leafs are documented on the wiki to have this issue out of about 400 Leafs sold/leased in Phoenix. 42 of 400 cars in Phoenix is 11%.
     
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  31. That "TINY" number of cases, mine included, Nissan is ignoring, or not fixing the defective component. This automotive company is a lying, neglecting, joke with regard to this "TINY" customer group.
     
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  32. Smoke and mirrors again. Great job Carla Bailo. You've earned your bonus for the year!
     
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  33. @John: This is your friendly site moderator. This is the second time I've had to ask that you not post multiple comments saying the same thing on the same article.

    I have just approved 12 consecutive comments by you with identical messages: You do not feel the Nissan battery is sufficient in the heat of the Arizona desert.

    It's an appropriate addition to the conversation--but NOT one dozen times in a row. Please dial it down. Thank you in advance.
     
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