Breaking: Nissan Now Offically Warranties Battery Capacity To Stay Above 70%

5 years ago by Jay Cole 19

Nissan LEAF's 24 kWh Battery Pack Now Comes With A Much-Anticipated Warranty

It has been no secret that Nissan LEAF batteries in the more hotter climates of the United States (think Phoenix, Arizona) have been wilting (for lack of a better term) under the pressures of operating in extreme heat.

Several months ago Nissan took in several LEAFs that had lost several “bars” of range, and formed a task force promising to resolve this issue.

Now the results are in.

Arizona LEAF Owners Can Now Take Some Measure Of Relief (Photo via KPHO Ch.5)

This morning, Andy Palmer, executive vice president at Nissan, through an intermediary at mynissanleaf.com, broke the news that Nissan would now be warranty all LEAFs to hold a charge of at least 9 (out of 12) bars of battery capacity for 5 years or 60,000 miles.

9 bars is roughly equal to 70% of original pack capacity.

According to Mr. Palmer:

“Today, we are announcing that we are enhancing the warranty coverage of the battery system that powers the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.

Under an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, Nissan will protect against capacity loss in LEAF batteries that fall below nine bars, of the available 12 bars displayed on the vehicle’s battery capacity gauge, for the first five years or 60,000 miles in the United States, whichever comes first. For LEAF vehicles whose batteries have fallen below nine bars during this period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars.

A vehicle whose battery has nine remaining bars indicated on the gauge is retaining approximately 70 percent of its original battery capacity. This new limited warranty coverage remains subject to the other terms, conditions and exclusions of the Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, which otherwise remain unchanged.”

The new warranty will apply to all 2011, 2012 and 2013 models, and goes into effect in the spring of 2013.  Why the spring?  Nissan says it needs the time to formally notify each existing customer (as is necessary by regulation in some areas/countries), and to “insure that every dealer is prepared to welcome and assist a customer when they arrive at the dealership.”

Mr. Palmer also stresses that for most owners, they will never need to utilize this warranty.

“Our actions today are intended to put customer minds at ease regarding the topic of battery capacity loss. Even though it is expected the great majority of owners will never have to use this enhanced warranty, we want each Nissan LEAF owner to have the security that should capacity loss exceed this defined threshold, Nissan will cover the repair or replacement of their battery under warranty.”

To read all of Andy Palmer’s statement (and to view a short Q&A about the warranty program) we encourage you to check out this thread at mynissanleaf.com.

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19 responses to "Breaking: Nissan Now Offically Warranties Battery Capacity To Stay Above 70%"

  1. georgeLeaf says:

    this is great news! Nissan is doing the right thing here. lets hope they replace pacs in the hottest climates with new chemistry that is more heat resistant. This issue has been a serious scourge for the Leaf and has spread doubt throughout the EV market.

    1. Not going to happen. Please see the note at the bottom of this post. The actual number of cars that will be repaired under this warranty with a used battery that can hold 66.25% capacity or better battery will be VERY small and likely quite inexpensive for Nissan. Plus, they no longer need to buy back cars as they are currently doing, since they now will have a warranty. Win, win for Nissan.

      Tthe official value, per the Nissan service manual, for LEAF battery capacity is:

      12 of 12 bars – 100% to 85%
      11 of 12 bars – 84.99% to 78.75%
      10 of 12 bars – 78.74% to 72.50%
      9 of 12 bars – 72.49% to 66.25%
      8 of 12 bars – 60% to 66.24%

      Oct 2, 2012

      “Andy Palmer, executive vice president at Nissan, said the company had no plans to upgrade the purely electric Leaf with a new, longer-range battery, or to add an active temperature management system for its battery packs. Mr. Palmer, at a press briefing on Tuesday in Lower Manhattan, discussed the automaker’s E.V. strategy in light of recent attacks aimed at the program.”

      “Reacting to criticism from a group of Leaf owners in Arizona claiming their batteries lost a measure of charging capacity more quickly than expected, Nissan announced last month it would convene an advisory board to improve the company’s engagement with the E.V. community. Mr. Palmer said the 2013 Leaf, scheduled to begin production soon in Smyrna, Tenn., would include many small improvements, but no major changes.”

  2. Future Leaf Driver says:

    This is perfect news for the LEAF! Sales should be great for 2013 now that this issue is resolved. I guess the LEAF haters need to go back and find something else to complain about now. 🙁 lol

    Waiting for the 2013 models to ship so I can drive one home!

  3. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Still not liquid cooled but a step forward nonetheless….

    MrEnergyCzar

  4. Brian says:

    To me, Nissan went a step beyond what is necessary by retroactively applying this to all cars already sold. Many will still be bitter, but I for one am very happy to read this.

  5. DrInnovaiton says:

    Decent move by Nissian, especially going backwards. I did find the
    claim “With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.”

    A bit odd since 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.”

    I remember all the hype when Nissian said its warranty was the same..
    (e.g. http://www.insideline.com/nissan/leaf/2011/leaf-vs-volt-nissan-matches-chevy-warranty.html)

    Even now, that they finally added a capacity statement, it is still not as good as the volt — only warranty 30% capacity loss after 5 years (rather than 8). But its still better than what they had. At least they are part of the way there…

  6. ClarksonCote says:

    First company to warranty battery capacity? What about with Chevrolet and the Volt? Their battery has always been warrantied based on capacity.

    Or is this statement being made because the Volt isn’t a full “electric vehicle?”

    1. George B says:

      Noticed that too, and suspect that it’s indeed due to that REx loophole. The Volt is not a fully electric car by that measure.

      1. vdiv says:

        Yeah, but Nissan’s statement does not say “fully electric vehicles”. In any event this is good news for Nissan, their customers, and all of us involved with plugin vehicles. It is nice that they stand by their product and have demonstrated once again leadership.

        1. The Volt is required to offer a capacity warranty to meet EPA emissions standards of the oil burning engine. Pure EVs are not.

          1. George B says:

            Yes, exactly. The exact quote is below. Andy is alluding to “electric vehicles”, and the Volt is technically a plugin hybrid.

            “With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.” (Andy Palmer)

            As I recall, Tesla does not offer a capacity warranty on their vehicles either. They have in-fact copied portions of Nissan’s famed, and nearly meaningless original battery warranty. I’m not sure about the other automakers, but I would not be surprised if they all followed Nissan’s lead here. Conversely, it will be interesting to see how many of them will offer limited capacity warranty next year.

  7. Here’s some perspective:

    For every car tested in Phoenix in September 2012, only one met the prima facia threshold for warranty repair (having 8 of 12 capapcity bars).

    http://insideevs.com/all-the-results-from-the-largest-independent-test-of-nissan-leafs-with-lost-capacity-not-instrument-failure/

    http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=228326#p228326

    But, would that car actually get a 9 or better capacity bar battery under warranty, or would one of the several additional qualifiers (high heat, high mileage, etc) mean that no Phoenix car will ever get warranty?

    From the Q&A attachment concerning the new warranty and battery capacity loss:

    [i](1) Sustained high battery temperatures (caused, for example, by exposure to very high ambient temperatures or extending highway driving with multiple quick charges);

    (2) Sustained high battery state of charge (caused, for example, by frequently charging to 100% state of charge and/or leaving the battery above 80% state of charge for long periods of time); and

    (3) Higher than estimated annual mileage accumulation (such as more than 12,500 miles per year).[/i]

  8. Bloggin says:

    Here is the most important part of the story that’s missing from this article:

    Palmer said Nissan is working “to improve the precision of the battery capacity gauge that displays remaining capacity in the Leaf’s electric vehicle battery.”

    So Nissan is extending battery warranty for current and 2013 Leaf vehicles. Understanding that there is still a ‘problem’ with the battery maintaining capacity in hot climates, Nissan is NOT making any engineering upgrades/fixes to the battery packs, but will just be ‘improving’ the precision of the battery capacity gauge.

    Nissan also took great effort not to mention the word ‘range’ as that will not be warranted no matter what the capacity gauge might report.

    What this means, is that the battery capacity gauge will no longer show capacity less than 9 bars, until after 60,000 miles.

    In other words, Leaf owners are being handled’….lol

    From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121228/AUTO0104/212280344#ixzz2GNM3nBSt

    1. evnow says:

      LOL.

      There is a known problem with the instrumentation.

  9. George B says:

    Yes, I think in this case the owner might still be better off with a lease return, just like he did before. A lot will depend on how the new warranty will be interpreted, let’s hope that it will be generous. 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.

  10. Lindsay says:

    Nissan should offer a warning light that tells you and/or messages you if you are in danger of damaging your battery and/or a setting where the car just won’t do anything that degrades the battery.

    1. Herm says:

      Good Idea!.. Warning!, your Nav has detected that you are in Phoenix, evacuate by March or suffer accelerated battery degradation.. press OK

      1. George B says:

        LOL Herm! May I suggest that once the owner has pressed the “OK” button, a map with an escape route to Seattle with turn-by-turn directions should be displayed?

  11. LEH says:

    A liquid cooling system for the battery pack seems like a no-brainer here. GM engineers were smart enough to know that with the Volt; why not Nissan? Too much of a rush to market IMO.

    This doesn’t bode well for Leaf resale prices either–I’m seeing quite a few 2011 Leafs with very low miles (5000 and under) being sold by dealers on EBay Motors for $22-24K. Anyone know why these are being dumped at this price? I understand there’s no federal tax credit on used EV’s but that still leaves about a $10K drop from MSRP new.