Nissan to Extend Leaf Warranty to Cover Battery-Capacity Loss
Nissan has announced plans to beef up the warranty on the lithium-ion batteries used in its Leaf EV. The change is being made to address owner concerns regarding long-term durability.
Prompted by a vocal group of Leaf owners in the Southwest United States concerned that the heat may be negatively affecting battery packs, Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer took the uncharacteristic approach of communicating to owners directly via the website MyNissanLeaf.com. Although Nissan says the specifics of the warranty will be communicated directly to owners early next year, Palmer’s statement essentially says the warranty will come into play if a vehicle’s battery pack loses more than 30 percent of its total capacity in the first five years or 60,000 miles. It covers all 2011, 2012, and upcoming 2013 Leafs sold by Nissan.
According to Nissan, owners suffering from reduced battery capacity would notice a steady decline in mileage and the inability to fully recharge, as indicated by achieving eight bars or less on the twelve-bar scale of the charge-capacity gauge located in the Leaf’s dash. Hyundai made small ripples earlier this year when they announced a “lifetime warranty” for their hybrid battery packs against failure; Nissan claims this is the first EV warranty to cover battery-capacity loss.
Nissan makes their liability crystal clear, stating “any repair or replacement made under this Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity Coverage may not return a Lithium-Ion battery to an ‘as new’ condition with all 12 battery capacity bars, but it will provide the vehicle with a capacity level of nine bars or more on the battery-capacity level gauge.”
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Nissan contends gradual capacity loss is normal and expected in all lithium-ion batteries with time and use, and owners will be “assured a minimum level of capacity” throughout the warranty period. So if you’re scheming up devious ways to get a brand-spanking new replacement battery on Nissan’s dime, you’re out of luck; the announcement does mention, however, that customer pricing for replacement battery packs will be made public in spring of 2013.
Warranty coverage for 2013 Leafs will go into effect upon delivery when the cars go on sale next spring; details of warranty coverage for the 2011 and 2012 models and cars sold outside of the U.S. will be announced around the same time.