$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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29 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.

  8. sub3marathonman says:

    I would suggest, if possible, to continue using the battery as long as possible before buying a replacement, especially at $6000. At some point the 8 year battery defect warranty might be able to be claimed.

    It is true though, for the LEAF, getting 88K miles with 8 remaining capacity bars is fairly good. Unfortunately that is a testimonial to how bad the original batteries were/are.

    I ended up losing 7 capacity bars, within 60K miles and at about 4.5 years. I somewhat would have kept going just to see about the 8 year/100K mile battery defect warranty, but of course made the claim under the 5 year / 60K mile battery capacity warranty. I ended up being able to drive about 26 miles from “full” to LBW, and could have gone a bit more before turtle mode. But if you drive a bit slower you might be able to go that bit further and get some more use from the battery.

    Why don’t you drive it there to the Nissan Headquarters which is fairly close to you and let them look? They might offer at least a partial offset for a new battery.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      Good advice, I did run the old battery about as long as I could before it wasn’t practical anymore. I ended up replacing it at 98,000 miles which was just 2,000 miles short of the original defect warranty. It had lost 5 capacity bars by then.

      I used to charge every morning outside Nissan Headquarters, and did in fact drop off my written claim for warranty consideration at reception, alas to no avail. When it comes to examining a vehicle, Nissan HQ always refer you to a dealer.

  9. michaelb says:

    I have a 2012 Nissan Leaf. I notice battery degradation early on. The gauges in the leaf tell you nothing and I wanted more granular information. I put the Leaf Spy Lite app on my android phone and took screen shots on a daily basis. The information indicates that Nissan adjusted the computer in the car which had the effect of preventing people from qualifying for the warranty. They did this in two ways. I do not have sophisticated battery analysis equipment and I do not have information on what the computer in the car is doing. The document below shows what the computer in the car reported. You can judge for yourself. https://www.dropbox.com/s/bn9h8qmh3f3boex/Leaf%20Battery%20Warranty.pdf?dl=0

    • jpwhitehome says:

      The increase in battery capacity you saw after the software upgrade was temporary. This as a result of the BMS being initialized and having to recalibrate the battery capacity. Many other LEAF owners saw this jump in apparent capacity shortly after the software upgrade, but the battery quickly returns to the previous capacity as the software settles down.
      Notice in your screen shots that the Ah capacity of the battery increased. Without replacing battery cells the Ah rating of battery can’t be increased.

      When the magical 4th bar goes out is somewhat of a mystery and does vary from car to car. It isn’t triggered by a specific State of Health or Ah capacity that’s for sure.

      Since the mileage was so close to 60,000 miles, call Nissan Consumer Affairs and ask for out of warranty assistance. Nissan have got generous in their old age and are helping numerous owners with the cost of repair.

      • michaelb says:

        I have spoken to Nissan on several occasions. They have not shown much interest in helping me. I believe I need an adapter that will cost around $1000 plus the cost of the battery. They told me they would pay for one third of the battery. I have been on the phone with Nissan customer service many times during my ownership of the car. They have never helped me. Initially I was very nice but after a while of getting nowhere, I became very frustrated. I do love driving the car. Unfortunately I have to be very careful to plan my day as to where I will drive. I supported them when the car came out. They made a lot of statements that turned out to be false. I am afraid I will have to live with the idea that I paid $41,000 for a car that will serve me for around 80,000 miles. As to the Ah quickly returning to the level prior to the computer adjustment, for me, that was not the case. The Ah decrease has been fairly steady at all times. The other point I made in the PDF file attached was that the bars prior to the computer adjustment dropped in accordance with the Ah levels stated by people in forums on the internet. After the adjustment, they bars dropped three quarters of a percent lower. Had that change not been made, I would have qualified for the warranty.

  10. Nissanaltimafan says:

    On a whim, I was considering buying a used Leaf. I own a 2012 Altima and I am quite pleased with it. After reading these postings, I will definitely look elsewhere. Maybe a used Chevy Volt or a BMW i3. A Leaf is not a car for the long haul. It may be better as something for a short term lease.

  11. Kevin Kayden says:

    That is somewhat unfortunate. The LEAF can be a car for the “long haul,” as far as years of service, just not the “long haul” as over 100 miles per day.
    Just because people lose the fourth capacity bar doesn’t mean the car stops dead. I lost seven capacity bars and it was still going, just about 30 miles but still going. If I had to, I could have kept using the original pack for at least another year, but the time-limit on the warranty was expiring.
    Another factor is the location the LEAF will be in. Somebody in the Pacific Northwest is going to see the LEAF as a spectacular car, somebody in Phoenix is going to be disappointed that the batteries can’t withstand 110° for several months out of the year.
    The batteries could last longer, but Nissan somewhat did the best they could at the time. I wouldn’t have been able to drive an EV all these years but for Nissan. Toyota was the leader in innovation and technology, but they squandered it, and Nissan stepped in.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      You make salient points regarding the car is still functional with a degraded battery and that degradation of LEAF’s has varied widely depending upon the climate where it is driven with cooler climates favoring the LEAF battery.

      I don’t agree that Nissan did all they could. Other manufacturers have implemented active thermal management due to the tendency for Lithium Ion batteries to degrade in hot climates. Nissan chose to go with passive cooling which just didn’t pan out. I don’t think they knew they were making a mistake and I believe they were sincere in believing their battery technology was fit for purpose in all climates where the LEAF was sold. However that doesn’t mean they did all they could, they did all they thought was required, which turned out to be inadequate.

      It’s interesting that recently Nissan have been much more cooperative with out of warranty assistance enquiries. I’ve read of several people getting new batteries at vastly reduced cost in the last year. Recently my onboard charger failed, less than a year after paying for a new battery which stung financially. Nissan consumer affairs were very co- operative and got me a partial refund of $1,000 in double quick time. The LEAF has dropped from being a sales leader in the US to now being fifth so far in 2017. I believe the erosion of market share is what has prompted Nissan to stand behind their product more, albeit a little late, in an effort to maintain/reclaim a strong market position in the US.

  12. Jules says:

    I have the 2016 30kw battery in Arizona. I lost 4 bars within 25,500 miles. I have been waiting a week to see if Nissan will replace the battery. I am told by customer affairs if I am approved, it could take 8-10 weeks for a replacement. By that time, I will be down another bar and my distance will drop to 55 miles on a charge. I am regretting my $34k purchase.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      It’s a shame to hear that the new battery packs are not any more resilient than the originals when used in Arizona. The good news, if there is any, is that the 30kWh LEAF battery comes with an 8 year/100,000 mile capacity warranty, so the replacement pack is still covered until one of those milestones is reached. You should be good for another two warranty replacements before you hit 100,000 miles.

      It sucks that an owner has to go through this even though Nissan warrant their gear.

  13. Kirk Hilles says:

    That’s disappointing to hear. I bought a 2012 recently used for super-cheap so I have NO rights to complain but I’m getting close to dropping from 9 bars to 8 bars and I was hoping for a free or heavily discounted battery.

    I will say that its a good thing your dealer pushed hard for you as they definitely took advantage of you as a customer with those “X Mile Services” for $300-$565. Rip off! You certainly don’t need an alignment every year (MAYBE needed every set of new tires) and brake fluid should be replaced AT MOST once every 3 years (many people have never replaced their brake fluid).

    Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, the reality is that when it comes to expensive repairs NO COMPANY out there takes care of you anymore. It’s the same for problematic Transmissions & Engines in ICE vehicles. Honda denied problems in the early 2000s, German companies will say that a qt of oil needed every month is “normal” or that sludge in the engine is “your fault”.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      The brake fluid repair is called for in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule every 15,000 miles, which for me is annual. Nissan have added these brake fluid replacements to many of their vehicles, not just the LEAF. Whether it’s necessary or not is debatable, I simply followed the schedule. By contrast my wife’s 2007 Altima maintenance schedule never calls for brake fluid replacement. It’s been replaced twice since we had it.

      Recently Nissan have been helping LEAF owners with the cost of battery replacements, so when the time comes, be sure to call Consumer Affairs, you may find them much more accommodating now. They recently helped me with the cost of replacing the on board charger and I had 107,000 miles on the clock. Never hurts to ask.

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