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USA: Nissan Leaf Owners Hope For The Best, Fear The Worst

Be it a tempest in a teapot as Nissan has loosely suggested, or further damage to the EV movement brewing, eyes are on the maker of the all-electric Leaf following its analysis of customer cars suffering premature battery failure.

A few weeks ago – Nissan will not divulge exactly when – the company borrowed and tested seven of the worst Leafs out of dozens believed to be experiencing substantial range loss.

The common denominator for the alleged battery degradation for these Arizona Leafs has been ambient heat, as is true also of cars reported in Texas and California thus far.

The brewing discontent among early adopters in the forum is being monitored by Nissan – as noted by tracking of Tennessee and Japanese IP addresses – and the company in July issued an open letter saying it had only just been made aware of problems, valued its customers and would follow through.

Meanwhile the forum members are sifting the tealeaves for portents for how Nissan will respond, how they will in turn respond, and some note with dismay the Leafmaker’s actual lack of an attitude perceived as sufficiently forthcoming.

According to one of a few wiki pages compiled by intrepid and tech-savvy early adopters, 33 Leafs currently have one bar loss out of 12 total bars on their digital battery gauges. An additional 19 cars currently have two bars missing – putting them deep into the zone where Nissan said would not happen for many years, and five cars have reported three bars lost.

The Leaf service manual says the first capacity bar loss represents a 15-percent loss, while each subsequent bar stands for a 6.25-percent additional loss.

There is evidence to suggest further that once these allegedly heat-degraded batteries begin to fade, they go down hill rather fast.

When we last looked at these issues late in July, we were following the case of Nathan Drozd in Texas who describes he and his wife as quintessential early adapters. Drozd’s Leaf lost its first battery capacity bar on the car’s one-year anniversary, and grimly said if he fits the trend, he expected to lose his second bar by August.

Sad to say, Drozd was right on the money.

“Just wanted to let you know, I lost my second bar today,” said Drozd via e-mail last week. “It was 23,652 miles on the odometer (3,446 from 1st bar to second bar loss). Time was almost exactly two months from the first bar (14 months total from ownership), it will be two months tomorrow.”

Nissan has said a battery degraded to 80-pecent charge-holding capacity is due for replacement. If Drozd’s battery gauge is accurate, his car is telling him he is at 78.75 percent.



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