Settlement Reached In Nissan Defective Battery Class Action

4 years ago by Jay Cole 6

A Group Of "Low Battery Capacity" Nissan LEAFs Gather For A High Profile Range Test In Phoenix

A Group Of “Low Battery Capacity” Nissan LEAFs Gather For A High Profile Range Test In Phoenix

As a result of some high profile battery capacity losses last summer, a lawsuit was launched in September by plaintiffs Humberto Daniel Klee and David Wallak.

That lawsuit was then amended in December, and just settled now.

According To The Suit, Nissan's 24 kWh Lithium Battery Was Ill-Equipped To Handle Very High Temperatures And 100% Charges

According To The Suit, Nissan’s 24 kWh Lithium Battery Was Ill-Equipped To Handle Very High Temperatures And 100% Charges

The complaint alleged that the LEAF suffered from a thermal defect, and that when exposed to a high temperatures the battery degrades at a excessive rate – and that the vehicle does not have the driving range represented by Nissan.

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

As a rectifier, the complaint sought injunctive relief in the form of a new and/or extended warranty to cover the LEAF’s battery shortcomings.

At the heart of the issue, and why Nissan decided to settle and amend the warranty of the LEAF, was that the Japanese company 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.

LEAF Gets A 80% (?) Fast Charge At A Nissan Dealership

LEAF Gets A 80% (?) Fast Charge At A Nissan Dealership

In conjunction with this alleged non-disclosure, Nissan promoted an “up to” 100-mile driving range that included the full 100% use of the battery, which Nissan itself was advising consumers to not do (at least on a regular basis).

As part of the deal, Nissan still maintains that the class action lawsuit does not have merit, but will add specific battery capacity loss (60 months/60,000 miles) to its existing limited warranty, something that was not present at the LEAF’s launch.  This new warranty provision requires Nissan to restore at least 70% of the original capacity of the LEAFs battery during the warranty period.

Nissan made a public declaration of a new warranty deal on June 7th (details here)

The deal – which affects about 18,588 LEAF owners, still needs approval from the California federal court, which will happen on August 12, 2013 (if you want to attend), and notice of the settlement will be mailed out once the deal is finalized.  Current LEAF owners affected by the class action also have the ability to opt out if they choose.

Law360 (sub), hat tip to John H

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6 responses to "Settlement Reached In Nissan Defective Battery Class Action"

  1. bloggin says:

    “Nissan still maintains that the class action lawsuit does not have merit…”

    That sounds familiar. Oh wait, it was Toyota that said the same thing, after agreeing to pay $1.6 Billion over the unintended acceleration suite and replacing/adding additional warranties for electronic modules relating to acceleration. But at least Toyota added the ‘break override’ as standard in 2013 Camry, that the rest of the auto industry already installed as standard for years.

    So maybe Nissan will add a liquid thermal battery management system to the next gen Leaf after all.

    1. io says:

      “Nissan still maintains that the class action lawsuit does not have merit…”
      …and it may well be right.

      18+k Leafs suffered “widespread, severe and premature loss” of battery “life”? It doesn’t seem so: http://www.casteyanqui.com/ev/capacity_kerfuffle/

      Regardless, Nissan added the battery capacity warranty (on top of the defect warranty it had from the get-go) to 2013 Leafs, and also announced it’d apply to all previously sold Leafs. That was sometime last year btw.

      Like all 2011/2012 owners I presume, I since received a letter confirming this extra warranty. I’ve also been invited to stop by the nearest dealership to get my car upgraded to the 2013 software; the GoM (remaining range meter) is better behaved now, while the actual range remains seemingly unchanged from since I’ve got the car.

      [Btw, I have yet to receive any communication regarding this class-action. As I disagree with its claims, when it comes, I will decline to take part in it.]

  2. scottf200 says:

    At least they have already started replacing LEAF batteries in AZ and TX now. That is certainly plus for those that were having trouble using their cars after such a large personal investment (money, time, energy) and being an early loyal adopter to Nissan. Good for the customers now.

  3. Cavaron says:

    …60 months/60,000 miles… requires Nissan to restore at least 70% of the original capacity…

    Uhm… so let’s say my LEAF has 65% of the original capacity after 55 months. So they just top it up to 70% and that’s it? Somehow I expected something like a new or nearly new battery (lets say at 90%).

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Well, they’d likely not bump it to 70%, since you’d come back for more and the warranty work would cost you. They’d bump it to a level that’ll keep it above the 70% until your warranty runs out (or as long as possible in hot AZ).

  4. George B says:

    It’s worth noting that the estimated value of the settlement was quoted at around $10 million. Assuming about $10,000 valuation per battery pack, this would imply about 1,000 battery swaps/repairs in a class of 18,588 vehicles.