Nissan is recalling certain Leaf EVs sold in the United States because of a programming issue with the Vehicle Control Module (VCM) that could lead affected vehicles to accelerate even after the driver has released the accelerator pedal.

In total, 66,159 US-bound Leafs are part of this recall, manufactured between September 29, 2017, and March 15, 2023. 

The Japanese automaker announced last week that it will recall 1.38 million vehicles worldwide for an unintended acceleration issue, as well as a potential power loss, but the brand didn’t detail what model years would be included in the recall or the number of affected vehicles.

Gallery: 2023 Nissan Leaf

Now, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published an official report on its website, informing owners about the symptoms and how the problem will be solved.

As per the NHTSA, affected vehicles can continue applying torque to the driven wheels even after the accelerator pedal has been released by the driver, but only if the following sequence of actions was performed in less than eight seconds by the person sitting behind the wheel:

  1. Cruise Control, Intelligent Cruise Control, or ProPilot Assist is disengaged;
  2. The drive mode is switched from “D” to “B” or “Eco” or e-Pedal “On”;
  3. The accelerator pedal is pressed and then released.

In other words, after disabling the cruise control system, quickly switching the drive mode from regular “D” to one that increases the level of regenerative braking, and pressing then releasing the accelerator pedal can cause the car to continue accelerating without additional input.

The NHTSA notes that affected vehicles will not show any error messages, but that the unintended acceleration can be immediately stopped by pressing the brake pedal.

To fix the problem, Nissan dealers will reprogram the vehicle control module free of charge, even if the vehicles are out of warranty. The service procedure may take up to thirty minutes to complete.

Nissan first observed the issue in December 2021 on a trial vehicle during internal testing but was unable to replicate the conditions that caused the car to suddenly accelerate. Then, in early 2022, the Japanese marque conducted computer simulations and after repeated testing of multiple parameters, it identified a specific sequence of actions that it believed could potentially lead to the unintentional acceleration issue that’s the subject of this recall.

The carmaker says that the risk of the issue occurring under real-world conditions is very low and that it’s not aware of any warranty claims, accidents, or injuries related to this problem.

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