Nissan agree to refund $1,000 of my recent repair bill !!

A few weeks ago my LEAF’s onboard charger failed and I was left with a $2,581 repair bill. This is just 8 months after replacing the battery. I decided to call Nissan Consumer Affairs and ask for out of warranty assistance.

I must have caught them in a good mood, they agreed to refund me $1,000. The check is in the mail. It should take about 5 weeks to get the check, but that’s fine. I’m relieved they were able to help with the cost.

Newton Nissan were instrumental in encouraging the corporate office to help me by sharing the number of service visits I have made over the last 6 years for both my LEAF and Altima. Newton Nissan do hold the distinction of being the number one rated Nissan dealer in North America.

Thank you Mr. Nissan.

Posted in Customer Service, Electric Car, Nissan LEAF, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Tesla Roadster spotted in Nashville

Tesla Roadster. Click to enlarge.

With only 2,450 Roadsters sold worldwide, it is very rare to see one in person. Anywhere. Never mind Nashville. It’s thought only 1,500 Roadsters were sold in the US. This is a collectors car for sure.

The car is tiny and very low to the ground. I don’t think I could manage to get into and out of the vehicle without help 🙂

The Tesla I saw in Nashville has Colorado tags with Stanford license plate holder. I saw one other Roadster in person while on a business trip to New England. Getting the car to Nashville must have taken some time. Roadsters do not have supercharger capability.

Roadsters were first sold in 2008 and their batteries are now getting to be old. Tesla have made available an upgraded battery pack that will boost the range of 244 miles to over 340, more than the longest range Model S which gets 315 miles. The upgrade to the battery costs $29,000. About the same price as a Model 3 after the $7,500 Federal tax credit. In a departure from Teslas’ exclusive use of Panasonic battery cells, the upgraded battery cells are made by LG Chem.

Tesla Roadster – Click to enlarge

Posted in Electric Car, SuperCharger, Tesla Roadster | Leave a comment

Another expensive out-of-warranty repair

One morning recently when I unplugged and started my vehicle I saw a warning lamp on the dashboard. I had seen this lamp once several years before after charging at a faulty public charging station. I wasn’t too concerned, the car drove fine. I power cycled the car when I got to work and the light went out and stayed out. Problem solved. That is until I tried to plug the car in to charge. It refused to charge even after several attempts.

Error codes from my LEAF

I have a program called LEAFSpyPro that can read the diagnostics codes from the cars computer. I saw 21 problem codes. Uh-Oh I thought, last time this light came on I got just two. With enough miles left to get me back home and onto the Nissan dealer I decided to drop the car off for repair after work.

When I got to the dealer, I shared the problem and showed the diagnostic codes to the service advisor. He asked me if I had replaced the 12v battery. No, never, was my response. Well hopefully that’s all it would be, he spoke of several LEAFs they had worked on that refused to charge and the root cause was a weak 12v battery. However the call I received the next day was not good, the 12v battery was just fine, the fault was with the built in battery charging assembly, estimated cost to repair $2,581. Unable to charge the car and with 19 miles remaining I had little choice but to get the car fixed.

Extended Warranty, good while it lasts. When I purchased the car new I bought an extended warranty good for 8 years or 100,000 miles. The car had been very reliable and and thankfully I didn’t need to use the warranty much. Six months after the warranty expired, this happened. That’s what you call bad luck. I knew that this was a risk but reasoned with the 100,000 miles of trouble free driving and only a year to take delivery of my Tesla Model 3 it should be an acceptable risk. After all I have done all the recommended maintenance. I’ve driven plenty of other cars without a warranty, and had pretty good luck, if you maintain a car it typically is faithful.

Other components in the LEAF such as the main drive motor and the inverter are also expensive assemblies. Driving a LEAF without a warranty is a financial time bomb, there are multiple expensive components that can fail, and few shops that are trained and certified to repair these EV components. With the high voltages in an EV fixing the car yourself without the expertise could prove fatal.

Good for just 100,000 miles.

It seems clear to me now that one should only drive a LEAF with a warranty. Once it gets to 100,000 miles, the car should be traded.

Fact or Myth? EV’s are cheaper to maintain. Err that would be a myth, despite fewer moving parts, the electrical components such as Battery, Charger, Inverter and Motor are all expensive.

Update 2017-07-13 Nissan agrees to refund $1,000

Nissan Consumer Affairs were able to arrange for a $1,000 refund for this repair given that it occurred close to the battery replacement just 8 months prior. See this post.

Posted in Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Newton Nissan, Nissan LEAF | 5 Comments

RAV4 EV Spotted in Nashville

RAV4 EV in Nashville!! Click to enlarge.

Seeing a RAV4 EV is much like spotting a unicorn. Especially in Tennessee.

Toyota sold just 2,492 of the second generation RAV4 EV’s in the US starting in September 2012 until the end of 2014. (A handful were sold in 2015 after production ceased in September 2014). Additionally the RAV4 EV was sold only in California as a compliance vehicle to meet the California CARB regulations. The production run was deliberately limited to 2600 vehicles. Tesla provided the battery and drivetrain for this vehicle.

The vehicle is registered to someone in Davidson County Tennessee. Where the owner gets this vehicle serviced I’m not sure. It was only sold in California so trained mechanics will not be available here locally. The vehicle was purchased at Carvana. Carvana have created themselves quite the niche in second hand EV sales. I’m pretty sure this was transported from California by Carvana to make the sale.

An electric SUV is such an obvious car to make in the US where SUV’s are very popular. Very few electric SUV’s have been made, the Tesla Model X being the most popular despite its steep price tag of over $100,000. The RAV4 EV sold for about $50,000 new and has a range of about 120 miles in extended range mode, which back in 2012 was a market leading range. Toyota still have a webpage dedicated to the RAV4 EV, which assures owners they can still get service despite the car being discontinued. A brief paragraph on the RAV4 EV is followed by advertising for the Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle, also a California only compliance vehicle.

An electric SUV powered by Tesla technology before Tesla made their SUV

 

Posted in Carvana, Electric Car, Tesla Model X | Tagged | Leave a comment

BMW 330e spotted in Nashville

BMW 330e spotted in Nashville. Click to enlarge

It seems hardly a day goes by without me spotting another type of electric vehicle on the streets of Nashville. Today I saw a BMW 330e plugged in at work. This car has Florida tags so may just be visiting. I’ve now seen 3 different types of BMW EV’s in Nashville, the most of any manufacturer.

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New Battery – 6 Month Status Check – Looking Good

Leaf Spy Pro Android App

At the end of November 2016 I took my LEAF in to get the traction battery replaced as it had worn out. I have been tracking the status of the new battery using an application called LEAF Spy Pro. This app uses the OBDII diagnostics port to read data every 5 seconds on hundreds of parameters and logs them into my dropbox folder each day as I arrive home.

At six months I decided to look to see if the new battery is holding up or wearing out. The outcome looks favorable, compared to the capacity of the new battery it has lost 1.4% of total capacity. It’s dangerous to extrapolate forward so early but just for fun this would mean the battery has a 10 year life. Much better than the original which lasted just 5 years.

New Battery AHr over time. Click to enlarge

The new battery has exhibited interesting swings in capacity over the last 6 months. On January 23rd this year the capacity was down  4.5%. Indicating a projected life worse than the original battery. I was concerned I had bought a dud. However by mid March the battery was back to full capacity showing no loss whatsoever.

Another interesting observation is that the capacity has never exceeded 66.141 Ahr, it seems to return to this value occasionally and seems to “stick” at this value for a week or two.

Hx over time. Click to enlarge

Another battery parameter named Hx, the meaning of which is uncertain, is thought to reflect overall battery health. It doesn’t appear to have a maximum value, it moves up and down freely. This parameter has varied by over 7% in the last six months.

The battery appears to lose some capacity and somehow regain all the lost capacity, then lose it again and regain again. This is very odd behaviour for a rechargeable battery, one expects a short term initial gain as the battery matures then a continual gradual capacity loss; certainly little to no gains after the battery has reached its maximum capacity.

This behaviour has been observed by other LEAF enthusiasts who have monitored their new batteries closely as I have. What is going on isn’t clear, the most credible theory is that Nissan have added some “Hidden Capacity” that the battery management system keeps in reserve without reporting its presence and occasionally taps into this reserve when capacity is permanently lost. It’s just a theory, but it does match the data. LEAF enthusiasts that have had the new battery for more than a year report that the battery eventually stops regaining capacity and then loses capacity at a more consistent and predictable rate. This suggests this regaining of capacity will be short lived.

I’ll report the batteries status again at one year, which will be the end of November.

Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why did this Audi park in an EV charging space?

IMG_20170524_114418

Because it’s an EV!!

IMG_20170524_114350

This is the first sighting for me of the Audi A3 e-Tron plug-in hybrid car. I was surprised to learn they start at $38,900 which is pretty decent for an Audi which one expects to be very pricey compared to an equivalent car from a regular auto maker.

I see Audi have chosen to put the plug at the front of the car like the LEAF. It hides nicely behind the front four circle emblem.

I have seen a wide variety of EV’s at work recently. Here’s a list of what I have spotted.

Car Type
Audi A3 e-TRon PHEV
BMW 330e PHEV
BMW i3 BEV
BMW i8 PHEV
Chevy Volt PHEV
Ford CMax Energi PHEV
Ford Fusion Energi PHEV
Nissan LEAF BEV
Tesla Model S BEV
Tesla Model X BEV
Toyota RAV4 EV BEV

I regret not taking a photo of the RAV4 EV, it was bought locally from Carvana, so I might see it again one day. If you are in the market for a second hand EV, buy it from Carvana, they have quite a good stock of EV’s and sell them for less than Carmax.

Posted in BMW i3, Carvana, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S | Leave a comment