Two Nissan Leafs have been bought back from their owners by the automaker, under the Arizona Lemon Law. The move follows claims of accelerated battery capacity degradation in the hot state. Still, Nissan claims no failing.
Owners test battery loss in Nissan Leafs
The two Leafs were among seven tested by owners in the Phoenix area last week. In the test, the Leafs, with varying mileage and battery capacities, traveled a per-determined route until they ran out of power. The results showed their battery capacity had degraded more quickly than the “80 percent remaining capacity after 5 years” claimed by Nissan. The worst made it only 59 miles and had lost more than 60 percent of its charge capacity.
Blame it on the heat
The owners believe that the extreme heat that comes with the summers in the area is responsible for the problem. The issue, they believe, would not occur with a Nissan in Everett, Washington, or some other cooler region. However, Nissan does not own up to that regional “oversight” even now.
One of the two Leafs, from the 2011 model year, was owned by Mason and Andrea Convey. The buyback came only after countless complaints.
Mason Convey said:
“We’re not sure if this is the beginning of their admission that there is an issue, or if this is them trying to quiet a few isolated individuals.”
Scott Yarosh said his Leaf had to go when he could no longer make even the 45 miles he drives one-way to work each day.
“I had to get rid of it. When I turned my car in, I was only able to get 42 miles on a single charge.”
Yarosh had to pay a $700 penalty for turning the leased car in early. Later, however, Nissan paid him pack the full amount. But he thinks that was only to buy his silence. He said:
“I think they’re trying to get me to shut up to be honest.”
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Nissan deflects the heat
Nissan’s vice president of corporate communications, David P. Reuter, sent AutoblogGreen a statement, saying that the buyback was merely a “good will gesture.” He all-but singled out the Phoenix owners as spoil sports:
“Based on internal data, Leaf customers are some of Nissan’s most satisfied worldwide. However, in Phoenix, a small handful of Nissan Leaf customers have complained of gradual battery capacity loss, which is a normal occurrence in battery electric vehicles, is expressly excluded under the vehicle’s warranty and can be impacted by extreme heat, high speed, high mileage and charging method and frequency.”
Nissan’s Mark Perry said in an earlier video:
“We’ve also been very transparent in making sure people know that battery capacity will degrade in very high heat — for instance, if the cars sit out in 110-degree heat for five hours a day.”
‘There’s your problem’
However, the cars are sold without codicil in Phoenix, where temperatures of 110 degrees are not uncommon. Add to that the the heat-amplifying effects of sitting all day on a hot asphalt parking lot, and it’s not too big of a leap to assume that “there’s your problem.”