Nissan LEAF Gets Replacement Battery After Mysterious 4-Bar Loss In 4 Months
Jennifer Bradbury posted this on the Seattle Nissan LEAF Owners Facebook group:
“Seriously! ANOTHER one bites the dust!!! Bought used in July with 12 bars… I have now lost 3 bars in about 4 months!!!!! Starting to get upset…. I knew 1 was going soon… Sad that a second went but okay.. A third. In such a short time.. That’s ridiculous! At this rate I’ll have no bars in a year!”
Along with this image showing 9 capacity bars remaining on her newly purchased Nissan LEAF:
That Facebook post now has 193 comments and counting, including several from Seattle LEAF owner David Laur.
Laur took it upon himself to hunt down information on this particular LEAF (based on a VIN search of #222, the LEAF purchased as certified used by Jennifer) and his findings (via My Nissan LEAF) were shocking.
So, this particular LEAF was down 3 bars back on November 19, 2013, but when Jennifer purchased it in July of 2014, the same LEAF magically had all 12 battery capacity bars.
We’re not going to place blame on any party here, as nobody seems to know exactly who tampered with the LEAF’s lithium-ion battery controller (LBC), but it’s evident that some foul play was in place. From a Nissan dealer tech who shall remain nameless:
“If you PM me your vin number I can run it thru DCS (Nissan Warranty Tracking program) You might have some legs to stand on. In order for a LEAF to be sold as a certified car it has to have 11 bars at minimum. A dealer with a somewhat knowledgeable tech would be the only one’s that could reset a degradation meter like that. All the battery info is stored within the battery controller and it uses long term readings to decide what is illuminated on the dash. Something funny is going on.”
That tech did indeed stick to his word, discovering something funky went down:
“The certified safety inspection should of shown the LBC had been reset by not allowing a battery report to be printed.”
Why would the LEAF need a certified safety inspection? Simple..it was sold as a certified used car, which guidelines set forth by Nissan state that the LEAF must be inspected and that a minimum of 11 battery capacity bars must be present or the vehicle can’t be sold as certified used.
Have we confused you yet? If so, here’s a overview of the situation:
A certified used Nissan LEAF was purchased by Jennifer with 12 battery capacity bars displayed. The LEAF then lost 3 bars rapidly (4 months). A Nissan service tech investigated the background of this particular LEAF and discovered evidence of tampering with the lithium-ion battery controller, but couldn’t figure out with whom the tampering occurred, so proving guilt would be near impossible.
Okay…let’s move on
Current LEAF owner Jennifer was deciding on whether or not to seek out legal assistance, but as she was in the process of contemplating contacting a lawyer, the unnamed Nissan service tech advised her to bring the LEAF in for a diagnostic check. During that check, the LEAF lost its fourth bar and we all know what that means…
Back to David Laur. It was Laur who first published these accounts (here) and it was he who broke the news of Jennifer’s LEAF losing its fourth bar and being eligible for battery replacement (here). Here’s a snippet from Laur’s most recent article on the now-famous VIN #222 LEAF:
A while back I wrote about a neighbor, Jennifer who purchased a used LEAF last Summer. It has 12 capacity bars and was a good deal. Not a great deal, mind you. Just a good deal. She soon lost her first bar which we told her was likely to happen in the first year. Now keeping in mind the first bar represents a capacity nearly three times larger than the next several bars, it would not be extremely unusual for only a short period of time to pass before losing bar #2.
But the Pacific Northwest’s weather is nearly tailor-made for battery health. Our climate is tempered by Puget Sound so its rarely very cold or very hot. My first LEAF, VIN 258 built nearly the same time but having the advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest went 44,958 miles with all 12 capacity bars intact. At 57.11 ahr, it probably would have lasted all Winter before losing its first bar in mid Spring. So it had at least a few thousand miles to go.
But Jennifer’s bars continued to disappear at the rate of nearly one per month! Something was not right. Further digging found that this EXACT same car was reported as a 3 bar loser by its original owner in Southern CA back in November of 2013.
Obviously, someone was trying to pull a fast one here. She posted her dilemma on Facebook and we encouraged her to get the car inspected and research its history. When the history of the car was reviewed it was immediately obvious that all was not as it was represented to be.
She was able to get it tested and guess what?? During the test, she LOST ANOTHER BAR!!
Jennifer’s replacement battery is reportedly being shipped in from Tennessee and won’t be the so-called “lizard” pack (no…we don’t know why she isn’t getting the more durable pack). The battery’s install date is a few weeks off (due to some fitment brackets on backorder), so until then she’ll be driving a loaner LEAF from Nissan of Eastside in Bellevue, Washington.
Giving credit where it’s due, Laur concludes:
“Kudos to Nissan Motor Corporation for having the insight to create the paper trail that allows us to know the true nature of the battery’s health. It was the warranty history on the car that provided the proof to warrant the test needed to complete the escalation process.”
*For those interested in more background on this particular Nissan LEAF, VIN #222 was delivered to Los Angeles, California resident Omkar on January 1, 2011. Here are two links that provide more detail on LEAF #222:
Source: Dave In OlyWA