Since the issue of premature battery capacity loss began to surface last May, Nissan has taken a number of steps to investigate the problem and reassure LEAF owners – it tested affected vehicles, established an independent board to improve communications, and even bought back a couple of LEAFs. Now the company has announced that it will upgrade the LEAF’s warranty to cover capacity loss.
Nissan Executive VP Andy Palmer announced the new policy in a message on the MyNissanLeaf.com online forum, saying in part:
We are enhancing the warranty coverage of the battery system that powers the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.
Under an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, Nissan will protect against capacity loss in LEAF batteries that fall below nine bars, of the available 12 bars displayed on the vehicle’s battery capacity gauge, for the first five years or 60,000 miles in the United States, whichever comes first. For LEAF vehicles whose batteries have fallen below nine bars during this period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars.
A vehicle whose battery has nine remaining bars indicated on the gauge is retaining approximately 70 percent of its original battery capacity.
The new warranty coverage will apply not only to the upcoming 2013 LEAF, but to all model year 2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAFs sold in the US. Palmer noted that Nissan is “looking at opportunities to improve the precision of the battery capacity gauge.” He also approvingly referred to a recent customer survey by Plug In America, which seems to confirm that the problem has affected relatively few LEAF owners.