Rapid charging space blocked overnight by EV driver.


Rapid charging space blocked by overnight parker. No, no one was asleep inside.

It’s bad enough when an EV charging space is blocked by an SUV, that’s inconsiderate at best.

What’s worse?

When an EV driver parks his/her EV in a rapid charging space and leaves it overnight. As you can see in the photo above a black LEAF parked in front of a rapid charginging unit, and judging by the dew on the windscreen, it had been there overnight at the very least. There is a “CV” sticker in the window which makes me conclude it is company owned by Nissan.

This is not the first time this particular vehicle has been parked in this way. The photo below is from August.

To cap it all, the driver didn’t even bother to charge the vehicle, on both occasions the car isn’t plugged in!!

C’mon Nissan, you know better than this.


Bad Etiquette from Nissan employee blocking DC Fast Charge Station.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Electric Car, Level 3 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Opinion | Leave a comment

Fifth Capacity Bar Lost at 96,500 Miles

Lost my Fifth capacity bar in double quick time

Lost my Fifth capacity bar in double quick time

Just 8,000 miles and five months after losing the fourth capacity bar my LEAF has lost its fifth capacity bar. The loss this time has occurred twice as fast and after half the miles as it did previously which does suggest the battery is failing more rapidly.

Nissan in their initial guidance suggested that capacity loss would slow down as the battery ages, my battery is showing the opposite trend.

I am due to take the car to the dealer in about 900 miles for its 97,500 mile service, which is just a tire rotation. I will get the dealer to contact Nissan corporate to explain the more rapid battery fade and if this is covered by the original 8 year/100,000 mile warranty. This will be one of the last opportunities I will have to request warranty consideration on the battery pack.


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Nissan Electric Vehicle Initiative collapses in US

Six years ago Nissan were one of only three manufacturers that sold electric vehicles and the LEAF established itself as a leading EV the world over, especially in the USA where sales took off in 2013/14.


US EV Sales First Half 2016  (Charged Magazine) Click to Enlarge

Fast forward six years and we find that in the first half of 2016 Nissan’s electric cars account for just 0.73% of it US sales and now trail other established automakers such as BMW (3.48%), Volvo (2.75%) and GM (0.81%) in selling EV’s in America.

So what happened to cause this fall from grace?

Lack of Choice

Since 2013, Nissan’s electric vehicle program has stood still with no new models coming to market. Even today they still only have one electric vehicle for sale in America, the LEAF. By contrast BMW are selling four plug in vehicles, GM have two for sale with a third (Bolt EV) coming off the assembly line and due on dealer lots by year end. One size does not fit all, not everyone wants a small hatchback.

Other EV manufacturers have vehicles that can go significantly further than the LEAF on a single charge and at a similar price, the LEAF is simply not competitive anymore. If you stand still, you fall behind.

Poor resale values

The Nissan LEAF has the worst resale value of any car bar none. This is a deterrent to new car sales.

Poor Battery Performance

Despite assurances from Nissan that battery deterioration will moderate as the car ages, the LEAF’s have deteriorated continually in the US and by more than any other electric vehicle on the market. Only a  handful of LEAF’s have reached 100,000 miles and all of those vehicles have experienced advanced battery degradation, typically losing 50% of original range. Vehicles from GM and Tesla have driven 150,000 and 200,000 miles respectively and experienced little or no battery degradation or loss of vehicle range.The 200,000 mile Tesla experienced just 6% battery degradation.

By contrast LEAF’s in Europe have fared much better due to the milder climate and sales of the LEAF continue to grow.

The LEAF just can’t take the heat in the US.

With the 2017 Renault Zoe coming to market this year with almost double the LEAF’s 107 mile range, one wonders if the LEAF will still be a hit in Europe. Competition is heating up both sides of the pond.

Low Dealer Inventory

In September 2016 dealer inventory of the LEAF across the US averaged 1,500 units. This is the lowest LEAF inventory in a long time. In December 2014 Nissan sold 3,102 LEAF’s, with just 1,500 on dealer lots today this is simply not possible anymore.

Nissan seem to be retreating from the market. We can only speculate as to why they would reduce inventory.

Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF, Opinion, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nissan HQ Upgrade more Rapid Charging Stations

Upgraded DC Fast Charge Stations at Nissan HQ. Click to enlarge.

Upgraded DC Fast Charge Stations at Nissan HQ. Click to enlarge.

Nissan recently upgraded two of their rapid charging stations located in their employee parking lot. The majority of DC Fast Charge stations now sport the new style push on / pull off connectors which are much easier to use than the clasp style that came with the stations initially. There are just a few dealers left with the old style connectors in the Nashville area, my guess is that they will be all upgraded soon.

Firmware was also changed to allow for a 90% charge in the employee parking lot  vs the 80% available charge at the visitor parking lot at HQ.

It’s good to see the DC Fast charge network get a little TLC. The DC Fast charge units have been very reliable in the Nashville area this summer. In past years they overheated in the summer months, equipment and maintenance modifications have all but eliminated the reliability issues.

Bad Etiquette from Nissan employee blocking DC Fast Charge Station. Click to enlarge.

Bad Etiquette from Nissan employee blocking DC Fast Charge Station.

Unfortunately some drivers choose to park their LEAF in a charging space without plugging in and charging their vehicle. This denies someone else from charging their vehicle. Tut Tut Nissan employee, you know better.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Level 3 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF | Leave a comment

$6,000 to replace worn battery, Nissan say 100,000 miles for an electric vehicle is “phenomenal”.

Quote for new Battery. Click to enlarge.

Quote for new Battery. Click to enlarge.

For those of you following my LEAF blog you may recall I predicted that my LEAF would need a new battery within the year. Well that was a year ago and it needs a new battery, The fourth capacity bar went out at 88,000 miles. Even with a full charge the low battery warning goes off as I get close to work.  I used to be able to get 80 miles or more out of a full charge, 45 miles is about the limit now.

Dealer Horrified

My local dealer, Newton Nissan of Gallatin were horrified to learn that Nissan will not replace the battery under the 8 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty or the 8 year/100,000 miles extended warranty I purchased from them when the car was new. Having followed the LEAF forums and press articles this was no surprise to me.

Appeal made to Nissan Corporate

I decided to appeal the decision anyway and contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs and opened a case with them on the basis that if you don’t ask you don’t get. After opening the case I sent a letter explaining the basis for my appeal. Here is the letter… NissanLeafWarrantyDeclineRebuttal

The appeal went much further than I anticipated over a period of 10 days. The Consumer Affairs agent told me that the glowing reference my dealer, Newton Nissan of Gallatin gave of me as a “model customer” made a difference and they did seriously consider a goodwill action on my behalf. However the process did not bear fruit and the appeal was ultimately denied.

Nissan feel that since I have got 90,000 miles out of the car, I have got my monies worth. I respectfully disagreed with that assessment. More alarmingly the Consumer Affairs agent said that “for an electric car” 100,000 miles is phenomenal. Presumably if I had purchased a traditional gasoline car I could expect much more from my investment? So it seems Nissan do not rate the durability of their own electric vehicle batteries and that a $6,000 repair bill every 100,000 miles is OK.

By comparison – Chevrolet Volt, 100,000 electric miles with no signs of wear.

A Chevrolet Volt owner has over 280,000 miles on his vehicle of which 100,000 have been in full electric mode, with no reported signs of battery degradation. The Volt’s owner said “This is the only vehicle I ever purchased that I feel like I got more than I paid for”. It’s a shame I can’t say the same.

What Next?

Battery durability issues aside, the LEAF has been an excellent car with almost no issues to speak of. I prefer to drive electric and my next car will be electric. Once you have driven electric there is no going back. GM with their Volt have proven that it is possible for an EV to go over 250,000 miles without a huge repair bill.

I do have a reservation for a Tesla Model 3, but that will not be available for over a year at the earliest. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait quite that long. A used Model S as also a possibility, however they are still a little expensive at $50,000 used.

Chevrolet are releasing their Bolt EV which will go over 200 miles per charge this coming October. Given Chevrolet’s durable batteries, this might be a good trade, if it comes to Tennessee.

$139 per month. Click to Enlarge

$139 per month. Click to Enlarge

Nissan are selling LEAF’s in California with $11,600 off with NMAC financing resulting in a lease cost of just $139/month. This is appealing given that I save between $100-$200 per month in fuel costs (depending on the price of gas). The availability of such a deal in Tennessee is unknown. $6,000 would pay for a lot of $139/month lease payments. At the end of the lease a good number of 200+ mile EV’s should be on the market, maybe even some pre-owned.

I plan to drive my LEAF to 100,000 miles on the small chance the battery fails altogether, in which case it will be covered under warranty. That will take me 4 more months, so I have some time to decide what to do. My employer plans on occupying a new office building in October which will cut my commute in half. “EV parking” has been promised. It’s not clear if “EV Parking” is the same as providing charging stations, one assumes so. I’ll find out soon enough. If there is charging available I should be able to make the 20 mile drive each way even with a degraded battery.

I may even decide to go ahead and replace the battery after 100,000 miles anyway. Here’s hoping for a price reduction.

Thanks Newton Nissan

Thank you Newton Nissan for being so supportive!! You have provided excellent service for my LEAF and my wife’s Altima over the last 5 years. I’ve enjoyed interacting with Jamie and David in service and Kelsey in marketing.

Update:2016-09-24 – Another Owner gets the cold shoulder from Nissan

I read the story of another LEAF owner who’s car needs a new battery at 58,000 miles but is just 3 weeks past the 5 year capacity warranty. It seems Nissan are being hard nosed, have in fact abandoned their early adopters and will not make goodwill efforts for them.

Read more at Torque News

Update:2016-10-06 – Model S travels 200,000 miles and experiences only 6% battery degradation

I read recently that a Tesla Model S has been driven as a chauffeured vehicle for over 200,000 miles with minimal battery degradation. The owner of the vehicle, Tesloop a startup high-end chauffeur service, charges the Model S to 100% every day, which is against Tesla’s battery management guidelines and it has still been very durable.

Tesloop started to notice odd behavior when the battery reached a low state of charge and the car simply shutdown. Tesla confirmed this is a software defect associated with high mileage batteries. Tesla will fix the defect in the next 3-4 months. But rather than have their customer wait for the software fix they swapped out the battery at no charge even though the battery itself isn’t faulty, just a tad worn. Compare that customer service experience to the one I received at Nissan’s hands.

Read more at Inside EV’s



Posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Charging Infrastructure Maintenance, even Nissan Struggles

DCFC at Nissan HQ Out of Order

DCFC at Nissan HQ Out of Order. Click to Enlarge

Keeping EV Charging equipment operational takes time, money and effort. Many of the charging stations are five years old now and showing signs of wear. Companies that are based solely on EV revenues struggle to keep up. Blink (Car Charging Group) is an example where revenues are inadequate for the company to keep its charging stations operational at all times; with units out of service for weeks, months and sometimes years.

Companies that don’t rely solely on charging revenue fare better but it still takes a commitment of time and money. At Nissan HQ, 2 out of 10 charging units are out of order in the visitor and adjoining employee parking lot and have been that way for several weeks. At Nissan HQ there are plenty of units so the redundancy reduces the impact of the failures, many locations have just one or two units which can leave a car without a charge.


Mapco Mart DCFC Out of Order for 6 months. and counting……. Click to enlarge

We’ve all seen gas pumps taped off and out of order at the gas station, stuff happens. However gas pumps rarely remain out of order more than a couple of days. At the Mapco Mart in Hendersonville TN, the DCFC charging unit there has been out of order since December 2015. When was the last time you saw a gas pump out of order for 6 months? Charging stations going weeks and months to repair reveals a reduced level of commitment or ability to repair the charging equipment. This stations owner, NRG eVgo is struggling to keep equipment running. Recently NRG energy spun the eVgo unit off as a separate entity. Charging revenue is inadequate and already the cracks are beginning to show.

Now the honeymoon period is over for EV charging networks (when the networks could rely on government sponsorship) keeping the charging stations up and running is going to be a challenge. Without the money, spare parts and desire to keep these networks up and running, they could fall into disrepair. And that would not be a good thing.

Level 2 Charging unit and pedestal have been removed in visitors section.

At Nissan HQ Level 2 Charging unit and pedestal have been removed in visitors section. Traffic cone covers stubbed up wiring. Click to Enlarge.

Update: 2016-06-23

A few weeks after I posted this article, Nissan have repaired both of the faulty units and are now back up to full strength. The CHAdeMO was fixed first by a Schneider Electric repair crew. The Level 2 unit near the front entrance was fixed on the 23rd June. I spoke with the repair crew who installed a brand new Aerovironment unit; apparently a visitor had driven over the parking space block and demolished the charging unit rendering it inoperable.

Posted in Blink, Carcharging, CHAdeMO, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Level 3 EV Charger, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Model S owner blocks ChargePoint EV charging space


Tesla Model S 70 and Toyota TAcoma block both EV Charging Spaces at the McEwan building in Franklin TN. Click to enlarge

There is a brand new charging location in Franklin TN at the McEwan Building. It went live last week so I ran over there to check it out and see if there is a fee to use the stations or not (there isn’t they are free).

The Toyota Tacoma blocking one space was no surprise, however I was sorely disappointed to see a Tesla owner use the space as a parking space close to the buildings front entrance. The Tesla was neither plugged in nor charging. EV etiquette is to move your car after charging is complete. Parking in the space without plugging in denies another owner from getting a charge. Better signage would discourage a courteous driver from parking in the spaces. A driver may not notice the charging station if they are in a hurry.

The Tesla had temporary tags, so I assume the owner is new to EV’s and may not have learned EV etiquette yet. I returned after getting lunch at Whole Foods and the space was open so I tested the unit and it worked just fine.

The good news is that the stations are free to use (at least for now). The station is so new it doesn’t show up on the ChargePoint map yet. (Another reason to use Plugshare which is updated by the EV community faster than the station owners do).


Charging Station is free to use!!

It’s good to see more ChargePoint stations come to Tennessee. Blink (owned by Car Charging Group) are slowly going bankrupt as did the networks previous owner ECOtality. ChargePoint have good reliable charging stations, a great website and you can start a charging session without one of their RFID cards if you need to with a smart phone or if you call them. One feature of ChargePoint stations I like is that the plug is locked and won’t release unless you initiate a charge session, this reduces the likelihood of petty vandalism.

Update: I’ve been by a few times in the past few weeks and every time the Tesla is in the space not plugged in. The owner is unaware of the EV etiquette or doesn’t care. I have a polite note for when a GAsoline car parks in an EV space. I’ll have to devise one for when an EV blocks an EV space.

Posted in Blink, Carcharging, ChargePoint, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S | Tagged , , | Leave a comment