Nissan LEAF Battery Capacity Opt-Out Warranty Denial

JUN 20 2014 BY JAY COLE 37

Current owners of 2011-2012 Nissan LEAF who did not take part in a “settlement deal” last year have apparently found a new notation affixed to the status of their cars.

It was almost a year ago when Nissan first made an offer (in response to a lawsuit) to owners of 2011/2012 LEAFs to provide new warranty protections covering the loss of battery capacity.  An offer which owners had to “opt-out” of if they didn’t want to take part.

The original lawsuit specifically said the defect caused “widespread, severe and premature loss of driving range, battery capacity and battery life.”

That lawsuit focused on the fact that Nissan did not adequately disclose that owners should avoid consistently charging the battery above 80% (especially in times of extreme temperature) to preserve the life/abilities of the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery.

A Nissan LEAF such as this one that was damaged during a particularly hot 2011 Arizona summer would now be covered as part of the settlement (picture via MyNissanLeaf)

A Nissan LEAF such as this one that was damaged during a particularly hot 2011 Arizona summer would now be covered as part of the settlement (picture via MyNissanLeaf)

As part of the settlement Nissan gets to maintain that the class action lawsuit does not have merit, but adds specific battery capacity loss triggers to its existing limited warranty (60 months/60,000 miles), something that was not present at the LEAF’s launch…but was covered from MY 2013 onwards.

This new warranty provision requires Nissan to restore at least 70% of the original capacity of the LEAFs battery during the warranty period.

The fact that the 18,588 affected LEAF owners only received what new owners already had, while in some cases still having to deal with their diminished range cars, while the two named plaintiffs got $5,000 each, and the plaintiffs lawyers pocketed $1.9 million, didn’t sit too well and a fairly high profile objection was launched a few months later.

“The proposed settlement is a sham, benefiting only class counsel, named plaintiffs and Nissan. Class members are getting absolutely nothing of value… Nissan will reap waivers from 18,000+ class members whose product-defect and related claims will be barred by the proposed settlement.” – said Alex Kozinski, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and 2011 Nissan LEAF owner in his objection

Note: LEAF owners “opted in” by remaining in the class, which was default. No action was necessary.  Specifically, they did not have to sign waivers.

Probably Best To Not Fast Charge Your LEAF To 100% If Its 110 Degrees Out

Probably Best To Not Fast Charge Your LEAF To 100% If Its 110 Degrees Out – Which Is Never In Japan

Jeremy Whaling, was one such owner we got in contact with, found out at his latest battery check-up that Nissan corporate added a little note (above) to his service record.


Mr. Whaling’s dealership told him that it was not them who attached the note, but Nissan corporate according to the VIN of his car.

What does this all mean?  To any LEAF owners who ‘opted out’ it quite likely means their cars are now worth less than they were previously, as potential buyers of a used 2011/2012 LEAF would certainly not like to see this declaration.

Jeremy also wanted us to note some other issues he has been told surrounding his car:

“I can’t even buy a battery if I am out of warranty.  I’ve never heard of an automaker rejecting my money before.”

So, while offering an increase warranty as part of a settlement and adding ‘that note to those cars’ perhaps seems reasonable to us, taking an action that results in a punitive outcome to those who have already been harmed seems wrong to us.  Nissan has inadvertently (or otherwise) now created two classes of 2011-2012 LEAFs.

Hopefully this is just an unintended consequence of attempting to identify those with the additional warranty and Nissan will take further steps to rectify this situation.  It should also be noted that it was originally believed that all 2011-2012 LEAF owners would receive this warranty extension regardless of involvement in the settlement.

Image credit and hat tip to LEAF owner Jeremy Whaling!!!  Also check out a quite lengthy discussion on the topic at MyNissanLEAF

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37 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Battery Capacity Opt-Out Warranty Denial"

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I read about this a week or so ago on mynissanleaf. I was kind of irritated by it. I think I opted out of the settlement too. But it wasn’t because I wanted to keep future legal options open, but rather my car had been satisfactory and I wanted to voice my support for Nissan. Fortunately, I turned that Leaf in and got another one when the lease was up. But had I kept it, I would have been very pissed off about that sort of treatment, especially being that I went out of my way to protect Nissan. (or at least that was my line of thinking)

I’d say Nissan is staring down the barrel of another lawsuit…and this one will cost them big-time…no goodwill came out of this idiotic settlement.


If this was the Model S, Elon Musk would just have replaced the packs, perhaps for free.

+1 I think Tesla attempts to do the right thing. No so sure about Nissan. Another reason I refuse to buy a Leaf.

Well, there’s room to be concerned about Tesla, too. The laws, in at least MA, require cars sold through dealerships to come with repair reference materials, for the independents. The ‘right to repair’ laws, I understand, do no apply to Tesla in the same way, as they are not dealers.

It may be subject to interpretation, but it is yet to be seen how much Tesla will work with non-Tesla to keep their cars on the road. Access is critical. I was at a Porsche indie shop last night, and their latest diagnostic tool costs 28 thousand. VW’s OBD-II software (Vag Com) is much, much less expensive, but they are both available and that is the point.

As the ’12s launched, Tesla was for a time requiring $600 annual maintenance agreements (for an EV?). This sort of captive service maneuver does NOT set the table well, for the future. Maybe they’ll release diagnostics, like they did their patents. We’ll see.

No maintenance agreement required now. Tesla only stated that for a very short period of time but never enforced it. They do offer it in the states they are allowed to. Florida, for instance, does not allow the pre-purchase plan which forces us into the per service cost. That is a far bigger issue than your fear mongering.

Yes it is driving me to buy a volt sometime this month.

Not the least bit surprised by this. I saw the writing on the wall two years ago and sold my six-month-old LEAF and leased another one for three years to limit my risk. My leased LEAF’s battery lost over 20% of its original capacity after only a year and a half. I did not opt-out because I didn’t want to give Nissan any excuse to void my battery capacity warranty before the lease expires. In 11 months, I will, happily, turn the car in and never buy or lease another Nissan, again.

Thermal management, man… *Tsk tsk*

So much for Nissan’s reputation…

I can’t figure out what is supposed to be wrong here, besides Nissan not having a themal management system in the first place.

The Leaf owner denied the battery capacity warranty from Nissan as settlement and that is what the letter is saying? He still has the option to sue Nissan, if he thinks this gets him a better deal than previously offered?

Why is he denied to buy a new battery and where is that information coming from?

The issue is that Nissan is tagging the VINs on their report as having no EV battery capacity warranty – which essentially creates a ‘second tier’ of 2011/2012 cars.

Lets assume you aren’t happy with the provision in the settlement, so you ‘opt-out’ leaving your future options open. Now because your car has been given the ‘scarlet letter’ when you go to sell the car, you may face a financial penalty

ie) if a person is buying a used 2012 LEAF with 15,000 miles on it privately and they have the option of buying a LEAF with a 70% capacity warranty or one with a no capacity warranty disclaimer on it, which will would they choose?

A non-warranted car may be worth considerably less on the used market.

And should the new buyer have that information? After all, it was a decision by the owner, knowing the advantages and the risks of it.

It’s a conundrum to be sure.

However because it is a situation initiated by Nissan outside of the conditions of the settlement and not noted as a potential consequence at the time of the settlement the onus is on Nissan to abide by fair dealing principles.

I would wager if it was proposed to the courts at time of the settlement offer that all persons opting out would have a “NO EV BATTERY CAPACITY WARRANTY” black mark on their cars it would not have made it past the judge. The word “coercion” may have been uttered.

So you would want it the other way around,
for all VINs where the owner not opted out and everything is fine?

I dont see any real difference there. This way it could just result in some drama if buyers know that all Leafs have that kind of warranty and knowledge about the specific case is required to know, that this model excluded from this, while there is no reference for that in the papers.

It isn’t up to me, or the owner of this car to propose a solution.

A situation as been created where a car that was worth $X,XXX dollars yesterday is now worth less today (certainly not more) because an owner refused to accept a settlement that waived his right to further litigate an issue in lieu of an enhanced warranty.

Additionally, Nissan also publically pledged to offer ALL owners this warranty, regardless of this settlement, and that was noted in the objection to the settlement.

Here is Nissan’s statement to all Nissan LEAF Owners:

The part of interest:

“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.”

…again, it is our hope that this particular incident has just been trigger by some inadvertent action, which it may very well be, and that Nissan will step in and rectify it.

With what EV’s could yet become, it is amazing they put this stain on themselves. 60 months, or 60k miles, is a limited window of claim to begin with.

“Inadvertent”? Well, one can hope.

“Please apply the label at the bottom of this letter to your Warranty Information Booklet. If your vehicle’s battery capacity level is currently at or above nine (9) bars, no further action is required.”
I find that part more interesting. Did those who rejected the settlement actually received this same letter with the mentioned label? If the additional warranty was never legally granted then I can’t see how any loss is perceived just because there was an objection claiming that everyone should have gotten that warrenty. I guess Nissan had a different stance on that and it was not dealed with yet?

But isn’t that obvious since the beginning?
I would not call it second tier but different tier as those Leaf owners valued the ability for future lawsuits on thise regard higher than the offered warranty.

Nissan has to distinguish between vehicle with and without warranty. Doing that on official paper prevents any fraud attempts and drama on that matter. I don’s see how your perceived loss of value would change if the vehicles would be marked the other way around.

If you want to sell your car you just have to find a byuer / dealer who also thinks that the ability for a lawsuit has a higher value than the warranty, just like you did in the first place.

I would not call it a penalty if you actively refuse their offer and still have the ability for further actions.

Since it is possible to wear out or destroy your battery outside of the warranty conditions I can’t believe, that it is not possible to buy a replacement.

> The Leaf owner denied the battery capacity warranty from Nissan as settlement and that is what the letter is saying?

The problem is that Nissan announced a battery capacity warranty over a year ago which was not tied to the settlement in the letter they sent. So, every 2011-12 Nissan Leaf should have a capacity warranty. Now they are trying to take it back for those who opted out of the settlement. The objector does not believe this is legal and has filed supplemental material to back up his opinion:

> Why is he denied to buy a new battery and where is that information coming from?

He is denied the option to buy a new battery because Nissan has so far refused to give a price or sell a battery to anyone.

I suppose, my english is not good enough for legal stuff.
In case they offered the warranty for everyone and then restricted it to only those who agreed to the settlement later then the objector has a pretty obvious case to me, but i still fail to see how this service record changes anything. It just seems to be the logical consequence of the current status to me.

If Nissan refused to sell batteries, this would mean that either no battery has failed beyond the warranty terms or even after accidents. Are you supposed to throw your Leaf away after those 5 years / 60k miles if you can’t buy a new battery?

I would even assume they are obligated to sell individual parts for some time? At least that was the offical reasoning behind crushing EV1s and such?

He is denied buying a new battery because Nissan does NOT sell replacement packs. Your only option is to find one in a wrecker yard or pay the $100 a month lease on a new one.

Ya gotta love leasing right now.

I do not follow Nissan Leaf news so I don’t know what exactly is the problem with the battery. But I own a Volt so obviously I’m concerned with anything regarding battery problems. To the best of my knowledge, the Leaf does not have thermal management, is this the sole cause of the battery degradation? Does the Leaf have the same charging protections like the Volt (ie. cannot drain battery to less than 20% and charge more than 80%… or something to that effect)?


More or less.. The Leaf loses a lot of capacity after a few years for those driven in hot climates like Texas & Arizona. If it had a thermal management system, it would probably be fine. The Volt not only cools its battery but uses less of the available capacity so that it is never discharged as deeply.

Yes as you have pointed out the LEAF has no thermal management system. The 2011 and 2012 LEAFS used a basic chemistry that proved to be not very durable. In 2013 time frame Nissan switched battery chemistry to a more durable chemistry but denied there was a problem with the earlier batteries. In 2014 Nissan developed another chemistry similar to that used in the VOLT because it was more heat tolerant.
Be thankful that you got a VOLT!!!

It’s Murica’s own fault to have stupid laws, that are only make lawyers more rich.
Nissan is total right to do everything possible, to dodge this laws.

I fail to see any logic in your statement, sorry.

“That lawsuit focused on the fact that Nissan did not adequately disclose that owners should avoid consistently charging the battery above 80% (especially in times of extreme temperature) to preserve the life/abilities of the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery.”

No, the lawsuit (and the Leaf Battery problem) focused on the fact that, in warm climates, you would suffer dramatically premature battery capacity degradation regardless of what level you charged to or at what charge level you maintained the battery. Nissan simply blew it on the Leaf battery design and compounded the problem with no TMS. Even in relatively moderate climates like California, battery capacity degradation is still a very significant problem.

By the way, the battery lawsuit settlement has not yet been approved due to the objections filled by a number of people, most notably a judge who owns a Leaf…

The B0133 disallowal by Nissan is simply more bad faith on their part and is akin to kicking sand in someone’s eyes…

My response to Nissan is my Nissan Leaf Purchase Opt-Out.

Nope, I’m not gonna buy one of any year, if they are going to back out on their promises for warranty coverage.

+1 we are dropping our 2011 LEAF like a bad habit.

“That lawsuit focused on the fact that Nissan did not adequately disclose that owners should avoid consistently charging the battery above 80% (especially in times of extreme temperature) to preserve the life/abilities of the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery.”

So, if i get this right, a simple little tweak in the software like, i don’t know, say taking into account outside temperature when charging and limit to 80% for full charge is absent so the problem is now the buyer’s to bare?
Nissan is giving EV’s a bad name all because they decided no BMS worth the title was necessary.
I hate Nissan!

The whole point was when you charge to 80% capacity you don’t get the range that Nissan advertised. Be honest who is going to pay $30,000 for a car with 58 mile range( 80% of 72).

Class action lawsuits are a legal scam for lawyers; it’s been going on for years and with the same results: the Plaintiffs get promises and coupons and the Lawyers take home cash. In this case the terms of the settlement were set by the Lawyer, Nissan and the Court. If you thought you would get satisfaction through a lawsuit, you now know the American Court system is a fix for lawyers, rich people and corporations. Your best bet for satisfaction is not the rich-man/corporation court system but using the media to publicize Nissan’s poor conduct and predatory policies against their customers. I own and drive a Leaf; but, I’ll never buy another one. And, if I need a part or service, a Nissan dealer is the last place I will shop.

I agree the warranty is far short of the promised longevity of the battery. Nissan advertised a service life of the battery at 70% capacity after 8 years/100,000 miles but only covered the battery for 5 years and 60,000 miles.
we bought a new 2011 LEAF in the spring of 2012. We lost 15% capacity in the first year. When we complained to Nissan we were told they would not service the battery because it was covered by a “Capacity loss warranty”. Legal types have told me that the class action law suit had not been approved by the courts so Nissan in effect changed/violated the warranty/contract with me without my written permission or approval of the courts.
Its sad to think that a large reputable company like Nissan would stoop so low as to act like this.
Did anybody else notice that the 2 people filing the class action law suit got $5000 each and the rest of us 18,000+ got nothing? Doesn’t that seem wrong?