Nissan LEAF Self Diagnoses Battery Cell Failure via Carwings

4 years ago by Rob Scardino 4

Nissan Sells First 2013 LEAFs In February

Nissan Sells First 2013 LEAFs In February

In this world where our phones suggest where to eat, what to read and who to connect with on social networks, it seems only natural that our cars tell us when they need maintenance. That’s exactly what happened to Nissan Leaf owner, Rob Greenlee, of Washington.

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

Greenlee got an unexpected call from the local Nissan dealership when they detected a problem with his car remotely, by way of the Leaf’s “Carwings” information system. Carwings is a subscription service that monitors vehicle performance and allows Leaf owners to check their car’s charging status and range from a smartphone or a computer. In this case, the system noticed that one of the battery cells in Greenlee’s Leaf was malfunctioning. Greenlee might never have known otherwise, as there was no warning light on the dash to indicate a problem.

The EV driver brought his two-year-old Leaf in for service and was told he’d have his car back in four days. Two weeks later, the cell was replaced for free under Nissan’s 8-year battery warranty.

One wonders how anecdotes like this one will affect perception of electric vehicles among the general populous. In an increasingly connected society, our whereabouts and activities are monitored more than they ever have been. Though systems like Carwings are not unique to electric vehicles, EVs push the technological envelope in unique ways. Some people will undoubtedly be put off by the idea of their car sending information to a third party. Others will be unwilling to invest in a vehicle that requires an engineer to diagnose its problems.

The good news is that car manufacturers realize this, and they’re determined to make EVs as reliable, if not more so than their internal combustion engine counterparts.

Source: Green Car Reports

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4 responses to "Nissan LEAF Self Diagnoses Battery Cell Failure via Carwings"

  1. bloggin says:

    It seems the car should also offer the owner some warning about the battery cell failure, instead of Nissan gathering information, and having to wait for Nissan to call and let you know what’s happening with your car.

    But with the S model where CarWings is not available as an option, how would you know if a battery cells start failing?

    The issue is not with Nissan gathering info, but more about why Nissan does not want the owner to have that same information about his car battery.

    If we remember, Nissan’s fix for the battery capacity failure issue was a software update that would more ‘accurately’ show battery capacity. Which means in software terms, it’s not going to show less than 9 bars before mileage = 60k.

    They offered the ‘capacity’ warranty for the battery, agreeing to replace failed cells up to 9 bars at 60k miles. Still not a fix, but a way to manage the ongoing battery capacity issue.

    Now it’s clear Nissan is monitoring battery capacity failure issues remotely, but not letting the owner know it’s happening, unless they want you to know. And the software is not going to tell you what’s happening since the upgrade to improve it’s ‘accuracy’, and won’t be going below 9 bars until 60k miles.

    It just sounds like Nissan is trying to ‘manage’ ongoing battery failure issues, without the owner knowing what’s happening. The less info the owner has, the less they will talk/complain about the issue.

    The EV owner should have a grid of it’s battery and every cell, and an indicator showing the health of each cell, and reporting if there is an issue with any cell, so it can be addressed by the owner. Very much how we can review the sectors of our computer hard drives, and fix bad/damages sectors when needed.

  2. Reno says:

    The model S Tesla also has “telematics” as an option. This is why they were able to refute the NY times article with data. The owner can deny that access if they so desire. Note the Leaf asks if it can send information every time it is turned on.
    I think the most distressing information in the article was that it took them 2 weeks instead of 4 days to fix the issue.

  3. Rob Greenlee says:

    Thanks for the article about my Leaf experience. My last name is spelled “Greenlee”. Rob

    1. staff says:

      Whoops. Sorry about that Rob, our apologies. Fixed.

      Hows the car performing now btw? No other issues?