First Nissan LEAF in U.S. Passes 100,000 Miles

DEC 13 2013 BY MARK KANE 47

Steve Marsh from Washington state recently hit 100,000 miles in his Nissan LEAF after 31 months of intense use.

Alternative View of LEAF Battery Pack

LEAF Battery Pack

Of course, this is well over the 3,000 miles per month, which is stunning when you consider that the LEAF’s range doesn’t allow for that sort of travel without charging more than once per day.

But what’s happening to Marsh’s battery pack?  Is it still alive and well?

The answer seems to be yes, but of course there’s significant capacity fade.

According to Marsh, 2 capacity bars were lost, so we can assume that capacity is at least 21% lower (perhaps even more) than when the LEAF was new.

We believe that this is the highest mileage for a LEAF in U.S. and one of the best results mileage vs. capacity drop for any LEAF.  But still, the capacity loss is substantial enough to force Steve to look for a battery pack replacement.

Hopefully, more details will appears soon and if you want celebrate together with LEAF mileage record-holder, then here is an event info via

“will be a gathering at the Tumwater DCFC 9 AM this coming Monday the 16th to honor Steve Marsh hitting 100 G’s on his LEAF. WSDOT and Nissan will be there.”

For more on Steve Marsh and his high-mileage Nissan LEAF, follow the links below:

Nissan LEAF Loses First Capacity Bar After 78,600 Miles

Nissan LEAF Passes 76,000 Miles in 24 Months

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47 Comments on "First Nissan LEAF in U.S. Passes 100,000 Miles"

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Would like to know if he opts for a new or refurbished pack? I wonder if he has to trade the 70-80% battery in as a core? His original battery, though less than his needs, still has a lot of life left on it and could be used many ways including in another Leaf that needs less daily mileage.

Nissan will not sell you a new battery pack. The only way that I’m aware of to get one is to get your pack to die a premature death in a hot-weather climate like Arizona and have it lose 4 capacity bars within 5 years / 60k miles.

Steve Marsh’s options are:

1. Sell his LEAF and get a new one.
2. Buy a used pack (hopefully in better condition than his) from a junkyard.
3. Hope Nissan will decide to sell him a new pack at a decent price.

It’s my understanding car makers are required to maintain a supply of parts for the cars they sell; has anyone contacted Nissan with this problem, i.e., a worn out battery pack that needs replacing immediately? What was their response? Are they concerned that the high price of a replacement pack will affect new EV sales?

I believe there will be after market companies that rebuild traction batteries eventually; it’s just a bit early in the early adopter stage for them to set up shop and the development of less-costly second generation batteries has been excessively slow.

Doesn’t seem that Nissan has thought this out to clearly. I think that is wrong of Nissan to not sell replacements batteries. What’s the guy going to do with the car if he can’t get a new battery. Or is this Nissan’s new way to sell more cars?

No, this is every car company’s way of keeping their battery costs secret. You just can’t get a straight answer to the question “how much did that battery cost” out of anyone, Tesla included.

“a worn out battery pack that needs replacing immediately”

Considering it took Steve 100,000 miles (and daily quick charges in there too) to reduce the capacity by 20%, I would say that this hardly qualifies as a sudden emergency. “Need it Immediately” just isn’t going to happen unless you’ve done enough damage to the car to damage a significant portion of the battery. And at that point, it’s a write-off as far as your insurance company is concerned.

Does anybody know what happens if the battery leasing of a Renault Zoe ends after 3 years?
I try to find out if Renault plans to offer new better batteries for a new leasing of if other companies are allowed to offer batteries.

If I buy an EV in three years, then range should have been increased, but leasing rate will probably not. So if I will rent the battery for an three year old zoe for the same price as a new battery in a new zoe with more range, that would be disappointing.

If range doesn’t increase with time, then the value of the car falls fast, but if I can rent new batteries every three years, I could use the car 20 years.

Sorry, if 2 capacity bars were lost this is not a loss of at least 21% but 17%, because the full capacity is at 12 bars.

12-2 = 10

(10/12)*100% = 83,3%

Thanks for the reply Dirk…I’ll investigate some more. Marsh’s LEAF is averaging 217 to 218 GIDs and he’s confirmed 2 bars capacity lost. Still trying to get more details.

First bar is for 15%. 1-11 are for 6.25%.

Du hast recht, aber unglücklicherweise steht das nicht in der Bedienungsanleitung, sondern nur in der Werkstattliteratur.

I stand corrected. I thought it was in the owner’s manual, but it isn’t.

For some reason, Nissan didn’t make all of the bars represent the same amount of loss.

Read the manual. The bars are not linear!

It’s great to see someone using their EV to the fullest. I do note that there are a number of volts above 100k miles too.

I wish the Leaf’s battery would maintain capacity better. I wonder how the southern Leafs are doing?

I also wonder how those Volt batteries are truly holding up. GM has stated that they will open the useable percentage of the battery to maintain the ~40 mile AER. Since a new Volt only uses about 2/3 of its battery, the battery could actually degrade by almost 33% before the owner even noticed! Nissan made the capacity information front and center by putting it on the dash, while GM hid it who-knows-where.

GM did not hide it, they designed the pack to maintain full range. The higher-mileage volts have reported no degredation of range. This supports that GM’s design choice (using thermal conditioning and a pack reserve) meets GM’s and Volt owners’ expectations

I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. The fact that you have the same range does NOT necessarily mean that you have the same capacity. Only that you have the same USEABLE capacity, which may in turn be a higher percentage of the total battery. We simply don’t know whether it’s the TMS or the pack reserve that is making the difference for the Volt. This is exactly what GM has hidden from the driver.

In the end, the driver doesn’t need to know that, but as an engineer I want to know.

I’m not wrong. GM had the forsight to design its pack with both a reserve and thermal conditioning. It provides the exact same range to the owner as when new. Nissan, in contrast, took shortcuts and owners have to deal with lost range due to heat and use.

GM isn’t hiding anything from the driver, it delivers what it promised.

That’s largely (garbage) though because GM put in about twice the capacity they needed to pull of that stunt and passed the price on to YOU! 🙂
And then some.

The bars are (garbage) though and they should have used a real kWh value. And they seem to have a real problem in high heat. Not to mention the (deleted) car should have been aerodynamic and much lighter. That would really have mattered.
It’s much easier to be nonchalant about capacity loss if you have twice the range to begin with.

***MOD EDIT*** (staff) – for language

“Useable capacity” is always up for a battery supplier to decide, and that’s always based on how much of the battery you can use in order to meet an expected cycle life. Even when a Leaf battery says 0%, I guarantee you you could still stick a wrench across its terminals and pull a lot more energy out of it. Does that mean Nissan is “hiding” anything? No, it means that Nissan has determined that taking any more energy out of the battery would be detrimental to the health of the battery. GM is just being a hell of a lot more conservative, because they can, thanks to a big lump of combustion engine under the hood.

The one point I’ll concede though, and actually this is what you’re getting at, is that GM is apparently going to move the goal posts, and let you dive deeper into the battery as the actual capacity decreases. But I don’t think GM has actually confirmed this.


I think you are both missing my point. What GM is hiding from the driver is the current health of the battery. Nissan puts it front-and-center on the dash board. Yes, they are delivering what they promised, and that does not include information about the capacity of the battery. I’m sorry, but as far as I know there is no way for a typical driver to know the health of his battery. Maybe it’s accessible via CAN or something. There are apps available that read the Leaf’s SoC and battery health from the OBDII port. Is there something similar for the Volt?

Has this been stated officially somewhere? I’m at almost 3 years and about 29k miles on my Volt (27k EV miles) and I seem to be getting about 2-3 miles less per charge than when I first leased the car.

That’s because you are evil.

That’s quite a conclusion 🙂

I’ve had my 2012 Volt for about 27 months, with 33,XXX total miles and 30,XXX EV miles. I haven’t lost any range at all. FWIW, I’m in the SF Bay Area so the climate is fairly moderate.

I have talked with the official Chevrolet Volt facebook page owner and they say that the Volt will not mask battery degradation, as in the SOC window will not open up as the pack ages. You will see reduced miles. The message they sent me said they expect 70% remaining capacity after 10 years, though I’d guess it wouldn’t degrade quite that much.

On Voltstats, the highest EV miles for a Volt if 57K. Over at GM-Volt, Noel says hes at approx 48K EV miles and hasn’t seen any degradation.

If he has a 75 mile one way trip to work, 5 days a week, would require two charges a day for the 3,000 miles monthly. Where it would take about $30 to $40 dollars a week in electricity. Instead of $140 to $160 a week to refuel a compact car similar to a Leaf. Which is a nice savings of over $100 a week or over $400 a month in fuel costs. But now it gets a bit sticky. Even with just a 2 bar capacity drop(-21.25+%), he may need to sign up for the Lifetime Leaf Battery Replacement/Lease at $100/mo to continue to make a ‘supposed’ long one way commute of 60 – 70+ miles. But that lease plan only guarantees a refurbished battery, and only guarantees the capacity be “at or above a minimum of 9 bars”. Which may put him right where he stands, or at a 3 bar drop(-27.50+%) which still meets the battery replacement agreement, but even less range. And makes the EV useless for it’s intended purpose as a daily commuter in just 31 months. Hopefully someone is at this event, where Nissan is to attend, to ask very pointed questions about this… Read more »

Probably not a good idea to buy any EV when your commute is equal to the EPA stated range. No matter the car you are instantly in trouble given the temperature fluctuations. And all batteries start degrading the moment you take possession of the car to some degree.

That being said, at over 100,000 miles, his ROI is already banked. Average fuel economy in a car is 25 mpg, so he is looking at over 4,000 gallons@ $3.25ish $13,000 less price of electricity (todays prices…little less going historical)

The fuel economy saving for the compact Leaf would maybe more based on a compact car like the Focus/Civic/Corolla at 33 combined. Or maybe a compact Prius at 50mpg.

Which would be about $9,750 based on a comparable compact, or $6,500 based on a Prius hybrid compact.

All things factored in, the EPA lists the 2013 Nissan LEAF as saving $8,250 over the average new 2014 vehicle based on 75,000 miles/5 years.

Random FYI:

The 2013 LEAF is rated by the EPA as a fact it is the largest mid-size for cargo volume

The 2013 Ford Focus Electric is rated by the EPA as a compact:

Not necessarily, I think the average is a better value. Without knowledge of the vehicle being replaced it isn’t a good idea to assume that it was a compact car. We replaced our Acura CL with the Honda FIT EV. As a result the 25 MPG is very close.

Jay, you say “$13,000 less the price of electricity” like the price of electricity is negligible. And you’re ignoring the cost of the consumption of the battery. Yes, he’s saved $13,000 in gas, but he’s spent about the same in electricity and the consumption of the battery. ($0.04/mile for the electricity + $0.10/mile for the battery X 100,000 miles = $14,000. This is assuming the battery costs about $10,000. Maybe the battery does not cost so much these days. I’d love to see an honest analysis of these costs.

I don’t think people do ‘replacement’ costs on their ICE vehicle componentry to new as the car ages. Most will not replace the battery, they will just run the car down until it is scrapped. The averaged scrapped car today has about 150 k on it. So this leaf is 2/3rds through a normal ICE cars expected mileage.

As for the the cost of electricity. I’m not trying to lessen the cost of the electricity at all. I’m just not attempting the math.

There is just way too many factors to come up with a reasonable number for this particular case. He could be daytime charging at peak, overnight on the cheap…but he also charges away from home more than not…so the cost could be high on a per charge basis, or completely free. The +/- on the estimate is north of 100% so I am just not attempting, while still noting that there is indeed a cost there.

Whatever the number is, my point is he saved a lot of money on gas in a short period of time.

In WA the max home rate is 10.7 cents per kWh; there are no peak charges. I also believe he fast charges on the West Coast Electric Highway. I don’t recall if this is free or fee.

Then by those numbers why bother buying a Hybrid or EV!!
Why even consider one or post anything on sites like this if that is true?

Well in our case the electric motor provides a superior driving experience. It is a lease that will be turned back to Honda just in time to get our Tesla Model E (hopefully 🙂 ) I love the quiet and the smoothness. No maintenance and no gas stations. Quality of experience is a very important consideration. I see a lot of people that feel the the only quality of experience is being able to refill the gas tank very easily. I feel that is a major negative for an ICE. I come home and plug in. Haven’t been to a gas station in months. If I never go again that is fine with me. I really don’t like the smell.

Can’t wait to see what the Model E will look like. 🙂

Here is some detail about the Focus Electric battery pack:

“The battery is designed to handle > 3000 cycles with 20% loss capacity, using 80% of the charge. 3000 cycles means, if you charged it EVERYDAY (weekends included) fully drained, you would get 8 years of use before it reaches 80% of its original capacity.

Since the battery pack is about 24kWh, Ford designed it so only 80% of that is usable (so you can go the full 76 miles charge, and still only use 80% of the pack), you can get 76 miles * 3000 = 226,000 miles, where at that point the pack will have degraded approximately 20%, meaning after that you might start seeing some range loss. As since they didn’t use the whole battery to begin with the software can start using some of the remaining capacity, so you should still see the full 76 mile range after 226k miles. “

Is this true? I know GM engineered some (ok, a lot of) reserve battery into the Volt, only using about 2/3 of the battery. I was not aware that Ford did the same thing (although frankly it doesn’t surprise me). Could you state your source?

Also remember the Volt and the FFE get their battery cells from the same LG plant in Holland MI. Maybe the LG cells are more robust than the Polypore cells?

yes….both Ford and GM are using the same ‘cells’ and the same pack technology sold by LGChem. The difference is each company creates their own software to manage battery life and safety.

Actually in January of this year, Ford and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced they were working together with the objective being: “Reduction in battery size, 20% longer battery pack lifetime or 20% reduction in battery pack energy content and 50% increase in cold temperature charge rate.”

With laboratory testing to take place at both NREL and Ford.

I wounder is it possible to go order your own lithium batteries off of the internet and replace some of the burned out cells in this car by taking it to a repair shop and taking it into your own hands. In that it would look cheaper to buy a few battery cells off of the internet and go look to find the bad ones instead of paying Nissan a $100 a month ransom.

When I buy my first EV it will most likely be used and most likely in two or three years they will be selling higher capacity cells on the internet to where a new cell might have double the capacity of the old ones in the older EV or in this case the Nissan Leaf.

So a 80 miles Leaf with 21% degradation is only good for 63 miles now?

Stopping 20 mins on the way to work and home just to charge for $5/session sucks.

I really enjoyed reading this discussion. I’m glad that I’m not the only one irritated by Nissan refusing to sell replacement batteries. It seems illegal to be, as there is a law that requires manufacturers to supply parts to cars for a long number of years, 10 or 20, I can’t remember. When I purchased my Leaf, I was adamant about knowing the current cost of battery replacement. All I got was salesman-speak about how Nissan always takes care of their customers. I was so excited to go to my 15k mile service and see a battery report giving all the voltages of the individual cells just like you can see by plugging a laptop into a Tango any time you want. What a disappointment. The idiot lights on the dash give as much info as Nissan’s battery report, and it wasn’t the mechanic hiding anything. Nissan leaves the mechanics in the dark too. What a pain. Why can’t companies accept that the cost of battery replacement and electricity is roughly equivalent to the cost of gasoline. It just is. It’s a fact, and it may get better, but why hide it? For commuting, I would never go back to… Read more »