The Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe with over 37,000 sold since its inception in October 2017, 18,000 of which have come in since January this year. However, some UK owners have raised their concerns over the stated battery range and charging times.
LEAF sales have been slow to take off in the U.S. with sales of 9,067 units cross the States and Canada, about half of the sales that have been made in Europe. The high volume of sales in Europe has made the LEAF the continent’s best-selling EV in the first half of 2018.
However, the BBC has reported that some UK customers are unhappy with the 2018 LEAF as the charging can take three times longer with a reduced battery range than that which is stated on the Nissan website. Owners have reported charging times of up to two and a half hours for a second DC fast charge (compared with the 40-60 minutes that Nissan claims) and a range of only 155 miles (compared with the advertised 235 miles). When undertaking long journeys, this reduction in performance can obviously have serious implications on the user.
Gareth Dunsmore, Director of EVs for Nissan Europe told the BBC that the battery charging can depend on conditions such as ambient temperature, the type of driving you’ve been doing and the amount of successive charging that has occurred. The LEAF automatically slows battery charging to preserve longevity. Mr Dunsmore adds that “We make this clear in the owner’s manual”.
With regards to the battery range, the advertised 235 miles is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) which is well-known to greatly over-estimate the realistic range. Automakers are now moving to a different procedure, the Worldwide Harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), giving the LEAF a range of 168 miles. In addition to this, the U.S. testing cycle estimates 151 miles of driving range. This more realistic estimate could be one reason for the discrepancy in sales between Europe and the U.S.
In response to the upset, Nissan has invited disappointed owners to contact them. Jonathan Porterfield, creator of eco-cars.net who brought the issue to the BBC’s attention has said that it’s not his intention for this to damage Nissan’s reputation, but they need to address the situation. This is particularly true if Nissan want to maintain their European sales and reach their target of selling a million EV’s annually by 2022.