Nissan Leaf Battery Capacity Loss: Covered By Warranty, Now

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2013 Nissan Leaf (Japanese trim)

2013 Nissan Leaf (Japanese trim)

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Nissan is becoming the first manufacturer to offer limited warranty on battery capacity loss, when it implements a new warranty in Spring 2013.

Announced via the forums, Nissan executive vice president, Andy Palmer, has confirmed that Nissan is to offer an updated New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty.

The warranty is designed to protect against battery capacity loss in the first five years or 60,000 miles, for U.S. customers.

Should the battery capacity gauge fall below nine bars (from twelve) in that period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured unit, "to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars."

Nine bars signifies remaining capacity of approximately 70 percent. Palmer confirms that this warranty is still subject to the same terms, conditions and exclusions found in the existing battery warranty.

The new warranty coverage reflects recent issues experienced by Nissan Leaf owners living in warmer climates.

A group of owners from Arizona lobbied Nissan to look into battery capacity loss when several drivers found they were losing capacity in the high temperatures experienced in some areas of the state.

Palmer reassures customers that Nissan is keen to maintain and expand current high levels of advocacy and customer satisfaction with the Leaf, and the new warranty should go some way to reaffirming trust in the vehicle.

Nissan confirms that the expanded warranty will cover 2011 and 2012 models, as well as the new 2013 models set for release next year.

You can read further details on the warranty terms and a full Q&A via the forum post, though Nissan will officially contact Leaf owners over the following months before the warranty rolls out in Spring 2013.

Do you own a Nissan Leaf? Leave us your thoughts on the new warranty below.


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Comments (19)
  1. This does very little for owners in Phoenix and other hot climates--it's little more than a band aid that gives them more time. I'm lucky to get 55 miles out of my Leaf with ten bars. 9 bars would give me abysmal range, and they are only guaranteeing to put you back to 9 bars. This is a scheme only an accountant and publicist could love.

  2. I think this is a good move by Nissan for those people who can operate within the nine bar range and it also is assurance that you will not pay for an early battery failure. However, I would like to see Nissan improve the battery density of it's modules so that a reduction of 30% in range would be 30% of 150 miles and not 30% of 70 as it is now.

    My hope is that a replacement battery at the end of eight years will provide an excellent range improvement. I could quite easily accept the Ladson Test: Show me a freeway Leaf that will go 100 miles at 65 mph and I'll be happy.

  3. I agree with James. I would like to know EXACTLY how this actually improves anything. Maybe Nissan could elaborate? The bottom line remains the same- the Leaf is a $30K work car that cannot be good for much else without falling into the warranty caveat pit regarding percent-of-charge, quick charges, etc..

  4. It's a step in the right direction, though the part about restoring capacity to "at or above 9 bars" feels like a slap in the face. If they're going to take time to repair the car, they should put the effort in to do it right. Fortunately I've only lost one bar so far, but that whacked 10 miles off my range. Any more lost bars and I'll be very disappointed with the car; but for now I still love it.

  5. It beats a kick in the head. I am almost half way through 60,000 miles and two years and I have only lost one bar, so I doubt I will use it though.

  6. I just got a LEAF on a two-year lease. I consider the "new car" range to be only on the edge of practical (charging to 100% versus 80% as recommended). That's why the attractive short-term lease got me to jump into a BEV before I think the batteries are really ready.

  7. Thank you for running with the story. It's interesting to see the feedback from affected owners as well. I'm wondering if they will be able to make make any more headway during the town hall meeting in Phoenix in early January. I was always hoping that Nissan would offer a battery capacity warranty. While the coverage terms are debatable, I firmly believe that it's a step in the right direction. That said, I think Nissan should offer a battery refresh program or some other form of premium capacity warranty as well, in addition to allowing owners to purchase a replacement pack at favorable terms, much like Tesla has done with the Roadster and now the Model S. Batteries will only get better, it would be good to find a way to make it work now.

  8. I like the idea of a premium warranty program for those whom 70% charge does not meet their needs.

    Given that all new LEAF owners signed a document acknowledging that capacity loss is NOT covered by the battery warranty, a warranty enhancement for all LEAF owners is a very welcome move by Nissan showing they are willing to share some of the risk with their customer base.

  9. We acknowledged that GRADUAL capacity loss is not covered by warranty. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine Nissan would stand behind the fact that 30% loss in a little over a year is considered gradual. No reasonable person experiencing 5-10 years worth of wear in an item in just over a year would consider this gradual and normal.

  10. "Nissan is becoming the first manufacturer to offer limited warranty on battery capacity loss,"

    ??? Ford,GM,and Tesla already offer warranties on battery capacity loss. Usually 8 years, 80%, 100k miles or more. I suppose the key word here is "limited" to 5 years, 70% and 60k miles. That would make them "the first" to offer such a minimal warranty.

  11. Oops I may have to eat my words. I was wrong about Tesla and Ford, both specifically say capacity is not warranted and degradation is to be expected. I read so much about how the Chev Volt battery was designed to have full range at the end of its warranty period that I assumed it must be warranted as such, but have been unable to confirm that.

  12. Roy, based on earlier discussions, it would appear that GM had to warranty the battery in the Volt more comprehensively to comply with emission regulation. A degraded battery would equal more gas burning in the Volt. This is not true of pure EVs, where this type of regulation does not apply. Hopefully, other OEMs will take note, follow Nissan's lead, and will offer voluntary capacity warranty.

  13. Thanks George. I also found this:

    The Volt has had a 8y/100K mile capacity warranty since its launch, which states “Like all batteries, the amount of energy that the high-voltage “propulsion” battery can store will decrease with time and miles driven. Depending on use, the battery may degrade as little as 10 percent to as much as 30 percent of capacity over the warranty period. A dealer service technician will determine if the battery energy capacity (kWh storage) is within the proper limit, given the age and mileage of the vehicle. Your Volt battery warranty replacement may not return your vehicle to “as-new” condition, but it will make your Volt fully operational appropriate to its age and mileage.”

  14. A step in the right direction. But at 70% ("minimum of 9 bars"), that would put the real world driving range of the Leaf at about 55 miles! And, you could be getting a "reconditioned" battery unit! In other words, at the end of 5 years (when many ICE cars could be sold as "like new") you might have an EV that's good only for inner city driving... on a moderately temperate day. Maybe. (And who would buy a used 2011 Leaf in 2016 anyway?)

    Nissan: Shall we play a game of "Kick the can down the road"?

    I LOVE all-battery EVs. But that's why I LEASED my Ford Focus Electric. The technology is still new and ever-evolving, making "long term" outright ownership just too risky, IMHO.

  15. I own a 2011 leaf and have not lost any of my bars. I only charge the car with 110 volts to 80%

  16. Thought experiment... Before Nissan bought back our car (thank you Nissan!), we were on track to being eligible for a battery repair/replace at about 2 years/28,000 miles. Assuming a full 100% replacement, we'd need another one at 4 years/56,000 miles. Assuming a full 100% replacement at that point, we'd get a total of 6 years, 84,000 miles with a battery with between 66% and 100% capacity. That would be 84,000 miles before a required, major, customer-paid repair.

    Assuming I would be guaranteed the ability to upgrade the pack with one with better chemistry and range at the end of that time period, this could be a good deal that might have kept me in the car. If all that are available at the end of 6 years, is the same ol' pack, no bueno.

  17. In regards to cars getting their batteries completely replaced, not repaired, does anyone know what is being with the old batteries? I certainly hope they aren't being thrown away. What isn't a lot of power for a Leaf with a 70% efficient battery pack is a wonderful power source for other electricity needs.

  18. @Adam: Yes, every maker of hybrid and plug-in cars has a recycling program for used (or damaged) battery packs. And there is expected to be a healthy secondary market for packs with 70% of their capacity remaining, for household power storage and many other uses.

  19. I've been very happy with my 2011 Leaf so far.

    I received it in June of 2011, in the middle of the hottest summer on record (for Austin, TX).

    I lost a bar in October of 2012.

    At this point, I can still use it pretty much without compromise, except on really cold days (any day that I _need_ the heater). Fortunately, that's only about 10-15 days a year here.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do if it drops to 9 bars before the end of my 36 month lease. I've considered approaching the company that owns the building we're located in right now to see if they'd be willing to install an EV charging station, or just allow me to plug in to a 110v plug occasionally.

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