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.