Nissan LEAF Revised Battery Settlement Approved: New 2015 Batteries & $50 All Around

2 years ago by Jay Cole 61

Revised Settlement Approved...Finally!

Revised Settlement Approved…Finally!

Remember that class action suit that was filed almost 3 years ago against Nissan for battery capacity loss on 2011 and 2012 LEAFs?

Or the apparent settlement that was reach 2 years ago, but was then protested by 2011 Nissan LEAF owner and Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, which caused the whole thing to grind to a halt as judge after judge then recused themselves because of Mr. Kozinski’s presence?

The "New Deal" Gets 2011/2012 LEAF Owners With Failing Batteries New 2015 "Lizard" Batteries, And Removes Nissan's Ability To Just "Repair" Existing Packs

The “New Deal” Gets 2011/2012 LEAF Owners With Failing Batteries New 2015 LEAF “Lizard” Batteries, And Removes Nissan’s Ability To Just “Repair” Existing Packs

Apparently, just a scant 33 months after the whole ordeal started, (appointed) U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima has approved the revised settlement deal, now valued at $24 million dollarsand we can all stop talking about it.

For those who don’t recall, Mr. Kozinski rejected the settlement (then with a claimed value of $38 million), calling it a “sweetheart deal” for class council – as they were to benefit to the tune of $1.9 million, while Nissan would not need to replace/repair anywhere near the number of batteries to justify the $38 million figure given, and that the new expanded warranty on the current LEAF was basically the same as the settlement itself.

This past Spring, after a lengthy process, class counsel met with the former judge in mediation and agreed to this new proposal (PDF here), after which Mr. Kozinski withdrew his objection.

The amended settlement increases the consideration Nissan provides to class members, while class council still gets to keep its original “sweetheart” fees (but not any new fees requested/accumulated over the 1.5 years of debate since the judge’s objection).

What are these new considerations you say?

* – Nissan no longer has the option to “repair” a battery with less than 9 bars of capacity, only replace it with a “newly developed battery currently used in 2015 model year LEAF vehicles which is intended to make the battery more durable in extremely hot climates”

* – Nissan will provide ninety (90) days of free access to participating DC fast charging stations via an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with NRG eVgo, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, and AeroVironment under substantially similar terms and conditions to the cards offered to purchasers of the 2015 Nissan LEAF.  (available to Settlement Class Members residing in states where “No Charge to Charge)

* – out of the NCTC area? or possibly not a big fan of the program – you can opt for a $50 check instead.

Those who opted out of the class action earlier, were sent letters to “re-opt” back into the revised program.

For those interested in more details, or if you just want to read hundreds of pages of PDF discoveries, check out the microsite set up for the settlement – NissanLeafSettlement.com

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61 responses to "Nissan LEAF Revised Battery Settlement Approved: New 2015 Batteries & $50 All Around"

  1. kdawg says:

    How much is “9 bars of capacity”?

    1. Brian says:

      Nominally 66% remaining

      1. Scramjett says:

        Is that real world data? 9 bars out of 12 is 75%, but that may not be actual real world SOC.

        1. Brian says:

          The bars are not 1/12 capacity each. Far from it. Although I misspoke, 9 bars means somewhere between 66% and 72% remains.

          http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/Battery#Battery_Capacity_Behavior

        2. krona2k says:

          The first bar is 15%, this is probably because in the first two years you are probably going to lose about 9% regardless of what you do due to initial calendar ageing. The other bars are 6.25%, after the first bar is lost the capacity loss tends to become more linear and related to charge discharge cycles.

  2. Brian says:

    Well this is interesting. It seemed unusual to me that all class members didn’t really receive much out of the suit. I guess this means I have $50 coming my way? Better than a jab in the eye with a sharp stick…

    1. Scramjett says:

      I wonder if I’ll get $50? I gave my Leaf back to Nissan in January after the lease expired, but I definitely had it when the lawsuit was filed.

      1. Josh says:

        I am in the same boat. The LEAF is gone, but I’ll take $50 if they are handing it out.

        1. Tom says:

          Plus one…

  3. McKemie says:

    I’m astonished that Nissan has treated their “early adopters” in such a way. They will never recover from the bad reputation they have in my perception. They should have just fixed the bad batteries when the problem appeared. Instead, they denied, obfuscated, and litigated. I guess they did save a few bucks in the short term. Is that a company YOU want to buy a car from?

    1. Scramjett says:

      Yes, it was very Toyota of them to do that.

    2. krona2k says:

      Yes they dropped the ball on battery issues in hot climates. I haven’t personally suffered with my gen 1, but I do think Nissan should have treated LEAF buyers like VIPs.

    3. wewa says:

      Not a fan anymore.

      I hate my LEAF.

      First Nissan, Last Nissan.

  4. Mapper says:

    Takes a federal judge to object to these outrageous settlements? I work in the securities industry and there is an entire industry of putative class action lawyers representing “me”, suing “myself” and receiving a third of the proceeds. Better than a milli vanilli coupon, but not by much. oh, and of course, the lawyers get paid in cash.

  5. abasile says:

    From NissanLeafSettlement.com:
    ‘Nissan believes there is no “thermal management” defect in the Nissan LEAF, and no misrepresentations were made about the range or battery capacity of the LEAF.’

    Ahem… More corporate/legal baloney.

    As a 2011 LEAF owner, I’m doing better than many; my car’s battery capacity is down “only” 23%. However, at 56K miles and counting, I won’t qualify for the capacity warranty. It’s too bad, because otherwise I really like this car.

    1. Bonaire says:

      It’s too bad all this had to happen.

      I hate to gloat in a Leaf thread but heck why not. With 56K total miles on my Volt to date, probably 50% electric, I drove 47.9 miles yesterday on the electric charge in this 2011 model. It has an EPA 38 electric-range rating. “Those who must drive a BEV” are really missing out on the value of an EREV.

      Going with the chemistry that Chevy used, Nissan Leafs soon (if not already) are using LG Chem cells and should do much better with longevity.

      1. Murrysville EV says:

        While the chemistry certainly plays a role, it’s the deep cycling that is really killing Leafs. Teslas – which also use different chemistry – don’t suffer as much because they don’t need to deep cycle.

        Your Volt’s battery benefits from living in a happy state of charge between 30-70% or so, and from better thermal management. I didn’t see your statement as gloating, just stating your observations.

        1. Brian says:

          Also worth pointing out is that of those three, only the Leaf lacks TMS. It seems that heat, more than deep cycling, is the kuiller of Leaf batteries.

          1. Dave R says:

            It’s not just TMS, my LEAF does not see any temperature extremes living near the California coast yet I lost 20% capacity in 3.5 years instead of 5 years as Nissan claimed.

            TMS would just increase energy consumption and reduce range while marginally preserving capacity unless the TMS tried to keep the pack at 72F at all times which would use a lot of energy.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              “TMS would just increase energy consumption and reduce range ”

              Use more energy, but won’t necessarily lose range since much of TMS is drawn during charging…

        2. Jason Arnold says:

          Umm, let’s do away with lead-acid terminology here. There is no “deep cycling” in any OEM car. In both the LEAF and the Volt, only about 75% of the full pack capacity is available for use. This limitation is in the software and is there expressly to prevent deeply discharging the cells and thereby extend pack life. Also, the chemistries in the two aren’t so different that cycle life is an issue. As it happens, the chemistry in the Tesla has lower cycle life than other cars with less range, but then a huge pack doesn’t get cycled as often, so it works out in the wash.

          All that said, extended exposure to temperatures over 50 or so Centigrade (120F) can damage the electrolytes in cells, making it far more likely the cuplrit.

          1. ClarksonCote says:

            “In both the LEAF and the Volt, only about 75% of the full pack capacity is available for use.”

            That’s true in the Volt, but not in the Leaf. The Leaf uses much more than that.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Jason Arnold said:

            “Umm, let’s do away with lead-acid terminology here. There is no “deep cycling” in any OEM car. In both the LEAF and the Volt, only about 75% of the full pack capacity is available for use.”

            The term “deep cycling” is entirely appropriate. In fact, it’s even more appropriate for lithium-ion packs than for lead-acid. The rule of thumb for those using deep-cycle lead acid batteries (either for EV conversion vehicles or for home energy storage) is to not cycle them more than 50% DOD (Depth Of Discharge). Contrariwise, the rule of thumb for li-ion is 80% DOD.

            Where you get shallow cycling is in non-plug-in HEVs like the older Priuses and the old Insight. From what I’ve read, they typically cycle the battery 15% or less.

      2. Josh says:

        The Volt was obviously overly conservative on the battery design with thermal management and capacity use, 35 AER / 16 kWh = 2.2 vs. 76 AER / 24 kWh = 3.2. Since the Volt doesn’t use the bottom or top of the pack, you may not even realize the range fade, depending on how they programmed the software. GM might eat into their buffer as the battery ages. Anyone know the details on that?

        This was much of the thought process in me leasing a LEAF over buying. I would buy a used Volt on the other hand (if it fit my needs).

        1. Bonaire says:

          In seeing used Volts hitting the used-car sales arena at $15-17k now, that is quite good. It’s been said some came through auto auction houses (ie. Volts off-lease released by banks) for as low as $10K. Fantastic bargains. My 2011 @ 56K miles drives like new and doesn’t have the various rattles and shakes that prior cars of mine had by this time.

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “GM might eat into their buffer as the battery ages. Anyone know the details on that?”

          That is what some people claims, but nobody can point that to fact.

          In fact, I don’t know how GM can open up the buffer (or the right amount of it) unless they fully charge the battery to know exactly how much capacity it lost…

          In addtion, Volt buffer is only 20%. So, we know that even if GM knows how to open up the buffer (which I seriously doubt), no Volt has lost more than 20% but LEAF have known to lose far more than 20% so far..

          1. Brian says:

            Yeah, this rumor keeps floating around as if it was proven fact. I think it is so persistent for a few reasons:

            No officially confirmation or denial from GM

            There is no means to prove or disprove it

            It intuitively makes sense to do

            I don’t know if its true or not, but it o ly really matters if Volts’ range start falling off a cliff in a few years.

            Your 20% umber seems low. Wasn’t it originally 34%? IIRC 10.5 kWh out of 16 was available in the 2011 Volt (which would be the first to show degradation)

            1. Bill Howland says:

              ‘ 20 % Number low.’.

              Does to me also. My ELR consistently gets 15% better range than my 2011 vaolt, with only a slightly at best bigger physical battery and a bigger car. Also, takes much longer to recharge at public stations for essentially the same sized charger. Usually about an extra hour.

      3. pjkPA says:

        Leaving out the thermal management and deep cycling is the problem. My 2013 Volt has 22K miles of hard city driving and yesterday I had 49 miles of range indication. That’s the same as it was new. It’s all in the Engineering. There is a reason why over 128,000 Automotive Engineers (SAE) voted the Chevy Volt the “Best engineered car”.

  6. Ocean Railroader says:

    My question is if I a used 2011 or 2012 leaf and the battery capacity is down below 66% will I be able to get a free new lizard battery from Nissan?

    Another 900 pound Gorilla coming up in all of this is what happens when all the new energy batteries come out. Would it be possible to trade up for a 32killwatt battery instead of a 24 kilowatt.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Ocean Railroader said:

      “Another 900 pound Gorilla coming up in all of this is what happens when all the new energy batteries come out. Would it be possible to trade up for a 32killwatt battery instead of a 24 kilowatt.”

      My guess is that other than Tesla, PEV makers are not going to want to sell you an upgrade for your battery pack. They want to sell you a new car instead. Even Tesla may not offer that for any car other than the Roadster… we’ll have to see.

      Even for Tesla, every replacement battery pack sold means one fewer pack available for its new cars. When the Gigafactory is producing large quantities of batteries, so that battery supply no longer limits Tesla’s production, maybe that won’t matter. Or maybe it still will.

  7. shane says:

    OR: I think if the car has under 60K miles AND < 9 bars, my understanding is that Nissan will replace the battery. As relates to fitting the rumored 30 Kwh battery – it may require other hardware changes to make it compatible with the 2011 & 2012s. We'll have to see if Nissan offers a kit to do that.

    1. Guy Hall says:

      My understanding from well connected sources is that these batteries will be compatible back to the 2011 model. When gen 2 comes out in 2017?, those batteries will not be backward comparable.

  8. Dave R says:

    While the revised settlement is slightly better than before, it still has the drastic shortcoming of being an all or nothing deal for nearly all class members.

    If you do not lose that 4th capacity bar before 5 years/60k miles, you get nothing. If you do, you get a $6,000 battery pack.

    The capacity warranty should be prorated which gives owners who fall short of Nissan’s exaggerated capacity loss claims the option to be made whole at a reduced cost.

    Otherwise losing that 4th capacity bar shortly after the warranty period expires and getting nothing feels like getting kicked in the face.

    1. abc123 says:

      Well, personally, if I was that close to the cutoff line and close the end of the warranty, I would go out and drain the battery and quick charge it a few times to make myself qualify. This would be my “stick it to the man” solution.

  9. shane says:

    I should say – with all the 2011 & 2012s that will be coming off lease, Nissan may have a strong economic incentive to offer such a kit to make those cars more valuable in the resale market.

  10. Rick says:

    This is the risk of being an early adopter. Exactly the reason most consumers wait until the 2nd generation of a new product before jumping in. Unfortunately for Nissan, once mainstream buyers do start to jump in, many of them will not consider a Leaf. They have some brand repair to do.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      +1

  11. Aaron says:

    I wonder how this will affect resale values of LEAFs? Not at all? Huge jump? Something in between?

    1. Nix says:

      I would imagine that the resale value for 2011/12 Leafs with the new replacement battery would go up because they have new batteries.

      The value for a Leaf without a replacement battery will go down because most buyers will be looking for ones with new batteries.

      Overall, the resell value for all Leafs of every year will go down, because some potential buyers just don’t want to deal with the whole situation, sorting through which car has a good battery, and which doesn’t, etc. They will just buy something else used. That’s why it is important that Nissan fix this the right way so this is no longer an issue. They are dragging down the resale value for all Leafs unless they fix this problem in a way that it is no longer an issue potential buyers have to worry about.

  12. Nicholas says:

    Do we know if this will be done by recall, at dealers or by owners who reach out?

  13. Mister G says:

    2 more years for Tesla model 3 🙁

  14. Jeff Songster says:

    Glad they settled this out. Sad it is still not enough for some folks. As far as the hating the way the corporation handled it… this is what happens every time the lawyers get into it. They get the best benefits… and the class gets a token. All the worlds car companies seem to do this when the warranty contract is involved. I was once harassed by the General for a month during working hours to badger a settlement out of me for a stalling Geo I once owned. I held out, they finally bought it back… and in the arbitration I discovered that they knew all along what was wrong but would rather stonewall than fix it. The best way to get settlements out of them is to hold out as long as possible.

    The settlement’s 2015 battery is a good one… I have one. Works somewhat more energetically than our 2013. Just too bad they don’t also offer an option to upgrade to next years as yet unannounced 2016 100+ mile battery. ( they still could add that on for a marginal cost.) That would truly breathe new life into your older cars.

  15. ggpa says:

    I imagine that the 2011/2012 Leaf owners (who bought rather than leased) went through a tough time when they feared their car would become useless. That must have sucked.

    But with hindsight, far fewer cars were affected by this than everybody feared. Nissan will end up replacing a small fraction of the 2011/12 batteries.

    The biggest hurt for Nissan will be reputation, not money, due to their delay to address the problem.

    1. Steve says:

      > “But with hindsight, far fewer cars were affected by this than everybody feared. ”

      No, basically ALL the cars are affected to some degree, only a small fraction will get fixed by Nissan. 20% loss in 3 years in a mild climate is not acceptable, particularly in light if battery wear estimates provided by Nissan from the beginning.

      1. ggpa says:

        I think you are mistaken/speculating … what is wrong with “battery wear estimates provided by Nissan from the beginning”?

  16. Bill Howland says:

    I had occassion to rent a Volvo today at Enterprise, and I got talking to the manager about the electric cars they formerly had. He said they had so much trouble with 30 mile range leafs (14 of them per ‘store’), that they were nothing but trouble for the rental business in the wintertime. He says he’s glad they got rid of them.

    That’s all we need; a Super Bad experience by a large rental business. I told him he almost certainly would have had a more positive experience with a volt for not much more money.

    1. Brian says:

      Yeah a leaf seems like a bad fit for enterprise, especially in the northeast. A volt would be a much better fit. Even if they give it to the renter with a full charge and it never gets charged until it is returned, that would make a huge impact. Might even win a few converts to the plug.

  17. jamcl3 says:

    That is such a weird story, I had to check the web address to make sure I was not still reading the Onion.

  18. TimLee says:

    “and we can all stop talking about it.”

    The people disgusted by Nissan’s pathetic non-prorated settlement capacity warranty will never forget their bad behaviour and will never stop talking about it.

    I plan to explain the whole sad story to everyone I talk to at plug in day event.

    Usually includes reporters.

    1. MyLeaf says:

      As far as Pro-Rating a Battery based on capacity values, I don’t see many owners promulgating this idea. Normally, when you return a Battery that’s still under warranty, they prorate you based on the Date of Manufacture of the Battery, Not it’s ‘Capacity’.

    2. CaroleK says:

      We’re lucky. Regardless, we got a Capacity Warranty out of the Settlement! Here in the Hotter States it’s definitely needed.
      If you live in the Cooler States, it would take much more time for your Capacity to decrease.

      1. Justin B. says:

        Nissan was the first auto manufacturer with any type of Capacity Warranty for High Density Vehicle Batteries:

        http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1081362_nissan-leaf-battery-capacity-loss-covered-by-warranty-now

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Well, the Tesla Roadster had an optional $12000 warranty but in the fine print they said that if they couldn’t fix it they’d just refund the customer’s $12,000 with no interest. What a bum deal.

          I told Tesla that and they REWROTE THE WARRANTY, since at the time they had a grand total of SEVEN people opting in for it so they finally figured out that was why there were almost no takers. But the language still wasn’t strong enough for me so I said no.

          The battery warranty of the Nissan also was the reason I eliminated the Leaf from consideration, since the wording was much too weak for Nissan to be forced to do anything.

          $50 seems more like just a consolation prize, so I’m glad I haven’t dealt with either warranty. At least the roadster had a semi-decent battery, much more so than the leaf.

  19. TimLee says:

    Hard to see how some people seem happy with a manufacturer that claimed 70% capacity would remain after ten years, and then only reluctantly as part of a class action lawsuit gave a non-prorated capacity warranty for 66.25% at five years.

    I love the LEAF, but is one of the most disposable $35,000 products ever built.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      You in just one sentence have succinctly stated the major problem with the car. Nissan should LISTEN to you…. Hopefully, they are not intentionally pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes.

  20. Craig Howell says:

    Nissan is criminal in the way they treat their customers. I recently purchased a 2011 Leaf #639 and the on board battery capacity gauge remains stubbornly at 10 bars while the car @ 3.6 miles per KW only has a range of 18 miles to turtle and will accept less than 6 KW to full charge as measured by several charge point stations. The dealer supposedly did a battery diagnostic that came out all 5’s. Now I don’t know how to fight them since I know for a fact the capacity gauge, a sensor, or the updated program for the car must be in error. Foregot to mention car was reset by the technician to charge to 100% and when I left the dealer the guage still said 10 bars. Any suggestions?

    1. Craig Howell says:

      correction VIN# 4639

  21. Vince says:

    I just picked up my 2011 from Nissan yesterday with the new replacement 2015 battery pack. I bought the car used, it was a lease return and all I knew about buying used cars was to check the mileage. As I learned about “battery capacity” and “battery capacity loss”, I felt worse and worse that I got a really really bad deal. I bought the car with 9 bars (60-65 miles max range). Last month I glanced at the bars and jumped with joy to see only 8 bars. The 60 month battery warranty was due to expire THIS MONTH. Drove it to Nissan, waited weeks (they gave me a rental) and picked it up yesterday with new battery. But I got lucky. Since these battery packs can be purchased, I’m hoping that when I need a new battery, the 30+kW batteries will also be for sale. Those looking at used EVs have some research to do or they’ll really have a bad surprise. Lease returns in general have probably been abused (constant DC quick charging, etc)

  22. break says:

    I think The new 2015 battery pack is amazing!!!

  23. Justin says:

    Im one of the early adopters purchasing the 2011 Leaf, and I have since regretted buying it. However, based on the settlement, how do I know if I qualify to get my battery replaced? Do we just take it to a Nissan dealership to get it replace if we qualify? Is there a website I can just enter my information to see if I can get a replacement battery? All you support would be greatly appreciated…….not like Nissan.