$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

 

 

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

  1. EV fan Nashville says:

    I am having a problem too. My leaf wouldn’t start one evening while I was out, after charging. Got it to the dealer, and they have had it for over a month now and can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. Trying to get out of the last 2 months lease payments, but NMAC won’t allow me.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      A month is a long time to fail to fix a car. Have you considered having it transferred to another dealer?

      • EV fan Nashville says:

        That has now been done. I just got an email on end-of-lease process. Maybe they’re relenting. Will call Monday.
        Car is now at another larger dealer, but they’ve now had it a week and no news.

    • tparton42 says:

      EV fan, perhaps you should return your LEAF early. If you are planning to turn it in for another Nissan, you may be able to get the last couple of payments waived, especially with the mechanical issue.

      A buddy of mine had some sort of problem with his LEAF’s CHAdeMO port. In the last 12 months of his lease, every time he used it, he would have problems within a few days and usually had to have his car towed to the local dealership. He now has a 2nd gen Volt.

      • EV fan Nashville says:

        The thing quit working when I fast-charged it at a dealership. I don’t know if there is something wrong with that.
        Car is scheduled to be returned to Nissan this week. However it’s still not fixed, so who knows what will happen with the process.

  2. tparton42 says:

    JP, sorry to hear about your problems and that Nissan is not helping you out.

    I had a similar problem with a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid a few years ago. I called Honda corporate, and after 2-3 weeks Honda was kind enough to agree to reduce the replacement cost for the hybrid battery pack from $5k to $1k. That said we had just bought our fifth Honda, a top of the line Odyssey, a month earlier.

    I replaced that Accord with a 2013 LEAF in early 2014. Had Honda offered their Fit EV in the Nashville market, I would have gone with that. Any how, I think I got one of the early 2013’s that had a battery problem. In month 26 of my lease at a little over 12k miles I lost my first bar. For what it’s worth, my vehicle was assembled in May 2013, then sat on a lot until January 2014.

  3. Nate says:

    I’m surprised that Nissan will not cover this under the warranties. It will be interesting to see what this does to prices of used Leafs. How would you compare the price of a 100,000 mile Leaf to a 100,000 Nissan Versa or Toyota Corolla? For the ICE car you might expect some maintenance will be required but for the Leaf it is all but a certainty that you need to shell out the $6,000 for a new battery.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      LEAF’s already have the worst resale value, bar none. I am one of the first to hit this situation due to my high mileage, many more will follow in hot southern states.

      The value will go down more I would guess as the news gets out that these vehicles require a $6,000 repair job sooner in their lives rather than with conventional vehicles.

      As you point out, its too bad that Nissan do not stand by their product better. Its their call and their reputation. No point in being bitter, I’ll just move on.

  4. EVREALITY says:

    Why would Nissan cover this when the capacity warranty on the battery is limited to 60K miles? An extended warranty does not cover this either. Why would this be a surprise that it would not be covered an extra 28K miles? It is also a bit silly to compare a Volt battery to a LEAF since the pack is part of the emissions system and must have a certain capacity warranty. The Volt has extra capacity that is never usable and is released as the pack ages to keep its capacity constant, the pack capacity is not used the same as a LEAF.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      If you read my appeal letter you will realize I didn’t claim under the capacity warranty. As you say it ran out sometime ago, instead I made a claim under the standard and extended 100,000 mile/8 year warranties. I did so on the basis the battery degraded much faster than Nissan’s guidance in official promotional videos and recorded interviews with the media which I concluded must be due to an internal battery fault.They weren’t having any of it and declined my appeal as we can all observe.

      It’s their car, their reputation, their call. The fact they denied my appeal concerned me less than the stated reason for denying the appeal, that for an EV 100,000 miles is phenomenal and that I had got my monies worth out of the car. That wasn’t the message when I purchased the car new. Modern cars routinely hit 250,000 miles before expensive repairs are necessary.

      When choosing a car potential buyers will not want to hear that they can expect to pay $6,000 or more within 5 years of buying the car. Even if the new car buyer doesn’t intend to keep the car 5 years, the anticipated resale value will be low enough to discourage the new car purchase. Failing to stand by their product means Nissan will face an uphill battle selling EV’s in the future even with a competitive or superior product.

      Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

  5. Battery Capacity Warranty is 5yrs or 60,000 miles. I think many get that confused with the other warranties.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    I just now lost my fourth bar, running 4.6 miles per KWH, the best I can do is 45-50 miles. I only have 52,000 miles and Leafstat shows my battery at 65%. Shame. It’s almost 5 years past its original sell date. I’ll have to bring it to the dealership and see what they say. Certainly can’t use the car for much anymore. I’m sorry Nissan did you like that. I feel with this few miles I might have a case. Good luck from Memphis.
    Jeremiah

    • jpwhitehome says:

      It certainly is worth a trip to the dealer and ask for them to try and get a battery under warranty, the worst they can do is say no. You have less than 60,000 miles so there maybe a case to be made.

      Good luck.

      I’m in conversations with 3 GM dealers regarding the upcoming Chevy Bolt. I believe I’m better off putting the $6,000 into a 200 mile EV rather than watch a new battery degrade as I drive in an 80 mile EV.

    • Greg Rodesch says:

      Jeremiah-

      As a Leaf owner that has 58,000 miles and has lost three bars (4th should drop anytime) I am interested in Nissan’s response. In stop and go I am currently having issues going 35 miles on a full charge. New the car did this same commute both ways with 20 miles to spare, not I am gliding in at the end of both legs of the commute and having to charge midday.

      As an early adopter that got hooked full price on this I expect more from Nissan…

      -Greg Rodesch

  7. Marsha Ness says:

    We were early adopters, getting one of the first Leafs in 2011, so we have the original battery pack. Our mileage is very low, only now hitting 8500 miles, but we just lost our second bar (10 left). EVREALITY says that the capacity warranty is 60,000 miles. Is there a time limit on that? Do you think we should just watch and wait for our capacity to fail? It sure looks like it won’t make 60k miles. Or do you think we should regard this battery and Nissan in general as a lemons and move on. As you’ve said, the resale value sucks, and right now the car is still pristine and running well.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      Nissan specifies the warranty limits as 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. I do not think any 2011 LEAF’s will qualify for the warranty replacement anymore.

      If the car still meets your needs all is well for now, there is very little value left to lose by retaining the vehicle. By the time it’s time to replace your LEAF there should be several more options available as new models come to market on a regular basis.

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