Nissan LEAF Battery Swap Under Warranty – Video

3 years ago by Jay Cole 28

A little over a year ago, Nissan upgraded their battery warranty policy by stating they would warranty any and all LEAFs to maintain a charge of at least 70% of original capacity (about 9 “battery bars” on the dashboard display) for the first 5 years/60,000 miles.

New 2015 Nissan LEAF "Lizard" Battery Ready To Be Installed

New 2015 Nissan LEAF “Lizard” Battery Ready To Be Installed

Specifically the new warranty’s written directive was:

“In addition to the existing lithium-ion battery coverage provided under the Nissan Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty for defects in materials or workmanship, the lithium-ion battery for your 2011 or 2012 Nissan LEAF is now also warranted against capacity loss below nine (9) bars (or approximately below 70 percent) as shown on the vehicle’s battery capacity level gauge for a period of 60 months or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.”

Loosely translated, if your car fell below 9 bars Nissan would take steps to restore it to at least back to 9 bars (but not necessarily more)…or so the thinking went.

However, the above video shows that Nissan is going up and above (at least in this particular case) to do the right thing by owners who have experienced exceptional battery loss.

For LEAF owner Jonathan Stewart, who walks us through the entire process, he not only got his battery restored back to 100%, but he also received a new 2015 battery with the “lizard” chemistry to help prevent further future capacity losses due to extreme temperatures.

Of note:  About a month ago, Nissan priced a full battery replacement for those persons ‘out of warranty’ (or who are still above the minimum loss threshold) who also want to restart the clock on their LEAFs – $5,499 (+install and trade-in of old cells).  Full details can be found here.

Hat tip to offib!

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28 responses to "Nissan LEAF Battery Swap Under Warranty – Video"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    This guy is saying the only difference between the lizard battery and the old battery is more efficient cooling.

    Is that true?
    I thought there was a chemistry change also.

    1. DaveMart says:

      There is no change in the cooling system, but some chemistry can stand heat better than others, which is what the new lizard chemistry does AFAIK.

      Sometimes I have difficulty in understanding American.

      I thought the guy said that Nissan service had been really nice about dealing with his battery issues, which gave him a boner.

      I raised my eyebrows somewhat at this, but then realised that is was a loaner that he had been given……

      1. Josh says:

        Haha Dave.

        My understanding is that only the chemistry changed. The (lack of) active battery temperature management is the same.

    2. DaveinOlyWA says:

      like anyone but the very upper echelons of Nissan tech and management, no one knows what was done to improve the heat parameters of the battery pack. improved cooling is the least likely result I am guessing since most of the issues were in areas where cooling never happened all Summer long. so have to think he is wrong and greater heat tolerance is the improvement

  2. David Murray says:

    Interesting video. I found the little side-note interesting that they are basically going to warranty the NEW battery another 60,000 miles? That is amazing. And having a 2011 Leaf with a brand new battery is basically like having a brand new car. That’s a great deal, especially if you bought the car rather than leased it.

    1. Gibber says:

      With that in mind the used 2011 LEAF I pass in the morning at a local Honda dealer becomes a serious consideration.

      1. David says:

        We bought a used 2013 LEAF (S trim) for 18K plus state sales tax, tag, title fees for a total of $20K back in March of 2014. It was like new still! Only had 2,700 miles, smelled like new, clean as a whistle. It’s going to be our daughter’s car for college and she loves it! My wife and I are leasing a 2013 so when the lease is over we are hoping to trade for the rumored long-range battery option that is supposed to come out in model year 2017.

    2. Likey the 2011 LEAFs orginal 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, not 60,000 miles on the replacement battery. note: this owner had ~47,000 miles on his LEAF.

      If he gets as many miles out of the 2015 battery as the original 2011 pack … a 100,000 miles odometer reading is easy possible. Expect with newer ‘lizard’ chemistry, he’ll be driving well beyond 100,000 miles in his 2011 LEAF (2017+ ?).

    3. DaveinOlyWA says:

      that is wrong. the new battery pack warranty is “piggybacked” to the original warranty which means no additional mileage is added.

  3. Lou Grinzo says:

    I think this is an area where car companies are in a bit of a bind. In some areas of the US, like the NE, where I live, for example, and some usage patterns, they could give customers a lifetime 9-bar warranty and not pay much for replacements. But in some other places, like Arizona, that would be a hideously bad and expensive policy.

    I doubt they can come up with different warranties for different climates, either legally or for PR purposes, which means they have to pick a one-size-fits-all warranty for the entire US. Ouch.

    1. If temp control continues to be an issue, active liquid cooling, used by almost every other OEM, would solve that problem. Interesting that VW chose air cooling for the e-golf. Considering their history, they probably have better modeling and field data than just about anyone on air cooling. I do wonder how that get it to perform well in 113F ambient temperatures, which are not unknown in Arizona, Nevada and parts of California.

      1. DaveMart says:

        Since the problems with the Leaf have been well known for some time whilst VW were still specifying their battery and cooling system I find it highly unlikely that the VW engineers have messed up so that they get similar problems.

        They will have tested and re-tested, and checked and re-checked.

        Ghosn admitted that his engineers told him that they were not ready to release an all electric car, and he told them that the had to go ahead anyway.

        Of course ‘highly unlikely’ is not ‘impossible’ and Arizona is a lousy place for battery life, including lead acid starter batteries, but excessive heat problems for the VWs are unlikely.

        Battery life is always going to be shorter in Arizona and very hot climates than elsewhere, but there is a difference between shorter and impossibly short.

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    This sounds like a good policy to simply replace the crappy battery with one that is rebuilt with the new chemistry. In that from a local point of view it’s cheaper to replace the root of the problem and that is the old battery’s chemistry is crap. Now this makes me wounder if I wait till next year when the energy density doubles next year in the leaf. I then take the crappy 2012 and 2011 leaf battery and swap it in for something with double the energy density?

  5. If Nissan has already stopped the production of cells with the old chemistry, everyone will likely get a complete new battery, because mixing old and new cell in the same pack will likely not work well and the number of stockpiled old cells will be limited and maybe only used for replacements of single cell failures.

    1. David Murray says:

      I had the same thought.. But as more and more Leafs are sold and more need replacements under warranty, it is possible that they will have a larger supply of refurbished batteries for replacement. So Maybe in another year or two people might not be getting new batteries anymore.

      1. Alonso Perez says:

        I doubt it. I think the old batteries are all going to their stationary business with ABB. They need to hit a certain level of inventory to make a business out of that.

    2. mike w says:

      Exactly. remember years ago Nissan said they could just replace a few bad cells to bring the battery up to at least 70%. Well they can’t do that so they are stuck replacing the entire battery.

    3. DaveinOlyWA says:

      other than different balancing and charging parameters, the pack won’t know if there is a difference in chemistry. both issues are addressed by the BMS

  6. scott franco says:

    awesome job on the video and writeup, first class!

  7. Steve Strange says:

    I will be on the edge of getting a warranty replacement — I expect I’ll have nine bars when our Leaf hits five years. Should I charge it fully and leave it in the sun when I’m on vacation so I can get a new battery just before the car turns five years old?

      1. Alonso Perez says:

        Dicey proposition. If it doesn’t work you will have managed to degrade the battery, but not enough to get a free replacement.

  8. Turbo3 says:

    Unfortunate that Leaf Spy was not used before the battery was swapped so we could see more information about the battery pack condition (down to the cell level) and then again after the swap to see how it compared with the new one.

  9. Doug says:

    This is awesome! My 2011 Leaf has 45,000 miles and down to 10 bars. Should need a battery replacement before 60,000. Thanks Nissan!

  10. mike w says:

    So my question is do you get the replacement battery when you have only 9 bars or do you have to wait till you fall to 8 bars like the guy in the video?

    1. jstack6 says:

      I’ve heard you do have to have already lost 4 bars. A few said they could no longer commute to work and I heard Nissan stepped up at 3 bars and checked and then did a replacement.

      Not to many have been done but the new Heat Tolerant battery is a real plus! I can’t wait to see how it does after 3 to 5 years and 40-50 K miles.

  11. Andy says:

    Thanks for this excellent video narration of the battery replacement. I just did my year 2 test on my 2012 Leaf and just hit 8 bars. Nissan has agreed to replace my pack with the new one as well. I am curious to see if the new one can hold up better to heat. I am in the Phoenix area so we are no stranger to 110 plus in the summer. Hope you are continuing to roll with 12 bars!

  12. David B says:

    This is just SO deceptive. I have 2011 Leaf and my “full” charge is down about a third now BUT all 12 bars continue to show. So to Nissan, everything is great. It’s a ridiculous standard and I would think twice about buying a Leaf again.