New life for old Nissan Leaf electric car: battery replacement and what it took Page 3

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Rick and Linda SantAngelo with the 2011 Nissan Leaf at 96,000 miles

Rick and Linda SantAngelo with the 2011 Nissan Leaf at 96,000 miles

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In addition to a more readable format, Leaf Spy Pro has a few additional screens and offers data derived from real-time statistics.

When you get a screen like the one below, you can adjust the mileage estimator to get a more accurate guess on how far you can travel on the current charge.

Leaf Spy Pro also reports the remaining usable capacity in kwh, which is the best number to use when calculating remaining distance.

LeafSpy Pro app showing real-time Nissan Leaf electric-car operating data [image: Rick SantAngelo]

LeafSpy Pro app showing real-time Nissan Leaf electric-car operating data [image: Rick SantAngelo]

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Not all ODB connectors work with all cars, however: I bought my first connector, and it generated errors when installed on my Leaf.

The one that worked perfectly on my Leaf was the Vgate OBC2 Bluetooth Scanning Tool, which cost me less than $11.

Nissan Leaf Battery Replacement Program

You can buy a new Leaf battery for $5,500 under the Leaf Battery Replacement Program.

If your battery has degraded but you're not eligible for a warranty replacement, you may want to consider replacing your battery under this program. That’s what I did, and we've been very happy with the results.

If your battery capacity drops four bars within the first 60,000 miles or five years (whichever comes first), you are entitled to a replacement under the new-car warranty that Nissan provides with every Leaf.

My fourth bar dropped at 65,000 miles, so I did not qualify. I was able to buy a new battery pack under this program—which is good only for Leafs that have a clear title (not salvaged or reconstructed), but only available through Nissan dealers.

Nissan will finance up to $5,500 for 12 to 60 months. The 2011 battery requires a few additional parts to fit the new 24-kwh pack, and the old battery must be returned to Nissan. 

My costs were (plus sales tax):

  • Battery $5,499.00
  • Parts         290.40
  • Labor        375.00
  • Finance    100.00

The dealer is not allowed to mark up or profit in any way from the battery replacement, and the labor charge is fixed at 3 hours. I paid State of Washington sales tax and financed the $5,500 cost for three years at $150 per month (at a 3.09% APR).

Considering that we will probably drive our Leaf 50,000 miles over the next three years the cost of the new battery is a little over $.13 per mile. I call that cheap transportation!

The battery is covered by the same warranty as a new Leaf: if its capacity drops four bars within five years or 60,000 miles, I am entitled to a free replacement. Note that Nissan's 100,000-mile / 8-year warranty only covers the battery if it fails completely.

In sum: enjoy your Nissan Leaf, and don’t send it to the junkyard if your battery loses capacity!

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