Nissan Leaf owners test battery degradation worries

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Nissan Leaf

The battery in the Nissan Leaf may be affected by extreme climates. Image: Tom Raftery/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Nissan Leaf owners, disgruntled that Nissan is not taking their complaints of battery power loss in hotter climates seriously, have staged their own test. Expect Nissan to pay attention now.

Nissan Leaf batteries losing power in heat?

Following the flaming-hot summer, some Leaf owners in Arizona noticed that the batteries in their Leafs were losing power too quickly and could not be recharged to their full capacity. Instead of charging to their full 12-bars, gauges were only showing 10 or 11 bars after being recharged.

Nissan claims the battery in a Leaf will retain 80 percent battery capacity for seven years.

Nissan blames issue on sensor failing

Nissan did its own testing and concluded that a sensor in the Leaf will, in hot climates, sometimes under-estimate the power level.

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Leaf owners conduct their own test

Many Nissan owners in the Southwestern United States were not convinced, however. And so they conducted their own test.

The test, organized by Leaf-owner and environmental activist Tony Williams, took place in Phoenix, Ariz. on the night of September 14-15. In the test, a dozen Leaf owners, with varying mileage and battery capacities, traveled a per-determined route until they ran out of power. To keep it consistent, the drivers were instructed to keep their speed as close as possible to a certian velocity and to not use the air conditioner.

The Leafs with the lowest mileage made it, on average, 80 miles on a full charge. That is consistent with the EPA’s range estimates for the Leaf. Older Leafs, and those that have complained of lowering battery capacity, had less satisfying results. The worst went only 59 miles and was down 4 bars, meaning that it had lost more than 60 percentĀ  of its charge capacity.

Thermal management and other issues

According to the Tucson Citizen, the Leaf’s battery capacity is also affected by cold temperatures and by running the car’s heater.

Torque News said:

“One of the biggest engineering flaws in the Leaf, some in the industry have pointed out, is the lack of thermal management for the batteries.”

The U.S. taxpayers have paid out $1.4 million inĀ auto finance loan guarantees to subsidize the Leaf.

Several of the test participants were engineers. Its results seem pretty hard to dismiss. The next move is up to Nissan.


Tucson Citizen
Green Car Reports
Torque News


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