leaf02Just like it happened to many respectable automakers (see Toyota), in 2012 a class action lawsuit was targeted against Nissan for its great car, the all-electric Leaf.

The unhappy Leaf owners claimed that their batteries failed after having only a short lifespan, and that the car didn’t perform as in the ads, through they had charged it to 100% each and every time. I repeat: each and every time.

Now, here’s the problem: you DON’T charge an electric car to 100% each and every time because the lithium ion battery it has inside was not meant for that. Either the manufacturer is smart enough and prepares for this by allowing only a partial recharge from the car’s software, or you program the car not to do it. Tesla recommends that, Nissan apparently didn’t, and if you read about lithium ion battery you already know that.

Before purchase or lease, Nissan failed to disclose its own recommendations that owners avoid charging the battery beyond 80% in order to mitigate battery damage and failed to disclose that Nissan’s estimated 100 mile range was based on a full charge battery, which is contrary to Nissan’s own recommendation for battery charging.

However, Nissan offered to give the unhappy Leaf owners a brand new battery in exchange if their battery goes south of nine bars of energy capacity, on the car’s display. They can also select the option of 90 days of free charging (lame, imho, could’ve been for life) at some of the No Charge to Charge locations, or a $50 check if the owners don’t have access to such stations.

Nissan also had troubles with their initial 2011 battery in warm climates, where people used toleaf-battery-pack charge it to 100%. The new and improved battery chemistry supposedly does away with that and any other lawsuits of this kind.

Recently, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would be upgrading the batteries with ones 5% bigger each year, for a fee. Nissan should learn from that – instead of changing your entire car, better change the battery while it’s still in good standing.

While I was writing this, I incidentally talked to Brian Kent, the guy who wants to do world’s first Carbon Negative Road Trip, since he owns a Nissan Leaf with the old battery chemistry. He racked up more than 25k miles since 2013 and only lost 1-2% of the initial capacity. Not much, in my opinion, but he lives in the state of NY and, to my surprise, said he charges the thing to 100% each and every time.

If there are Leaf owners among our readers, please shout out loud on the following question: What’s your opinion? Have you ever experienced battery fading in your Leaf? Provide details, they may be useful to other folks out there.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. I drive my 2012SL Leaf very hard. I have my forth set of tires in my garage waiting for my third set to show threads. I lost 4 bars at 44K and Nissan replaced the battery. Very Nice. I have 19K on my new batteries and they still have 12 bars. Very nice. I’m at 63K now. Great car, best sports car I ever owned. The 2012 has the best performance. 2013 better range with less performance. Tires last about the same as on all my previous 300Zxs, Miata, and 323 GTX. Tough tough car. I do not drive a lot at high speed, just 20 or 30 high speed accelerations everyday embarrassing V8s. I imagine if you drive 90mph everyday for 40 miles in 115F heat it could wear out a battery pretty quick. Fun isn’t it.

  2. I purchased a 2012 Leaf new for a 34 mile each way work ride share commute with my girlfriend. New the Leaf did the round trip on one charge with 20 miles to spare. 10 months later it barely made it home. After that it was charging at work to make it back home.

    About three months ago it became a struggle to make it one way – 34 miles. We were about to sell it (for damn little BTW – no resale value) when the last bar ticked down and we hit the replacement level. 59160 miles of the exact same commute at 3.7 efficiency or better. All level 1/2 charging except for a dozen level 3 charges. San Diego weather and a flat commute at 60 MPH max.

    The car does suck. Don’t believe the hype. Look for the Leaf with the plate MJRLEMN in San Diego as you can see it yourself.

  3. Bought a 2012 Leaf 9 months ago. It only had 11k miles and no battery loss. I have put 7k miles on this car since purchased, and lost 2 bars of capacity driving 40 miles a day 5 days a week. I called Nissan and they told me its because of my driving habits and anyone could have lost a bar in the first week of ownership due to DRIVING HABITS! Really now Nissan! What a lame ass answer. All we intended to do is drive and charge this glorified golf cart so we can make the funds necessary to pay it off and possibly enjoy it without having to worry about it not taking us where we needed to arrive to, to accomplish that goal.

    • I would suspect that somehow someone pulled a fast one on you. I have heard of people resetting the odometers or battery bars. I also heard if you leave it uncharged and store it for several months, like on a car lot, it will kill the battery. Sorry for your pains. Touch base with Nissan about history. Start a repertoire with Nissan Leaf after sales. The new batteries are awesome.

        • So the same place you just accused of a “lame ass answer” is “legitimate and checked out the car thoroughly?” Make up your mind.

          • I guess when you decide to wake up and reply months later you make yourself look like an ass….Jack…. especially when you assume it was checked out by Nissan. Have some fun with that.

          • A lame ass answer is a lame ass answer. Just like a Jackass is a Jack ass..A great forum should be a place to find usable corresponding, thoughtful information.
            Not such as your personal spin on matters you think you have the answers to.

          • Well, someone tried to offer you a plausible explanation (Not that it is necessarily the only answer) and your reply was “You must be working for Nissan”. I mean if you want to talk about lame ass answers…. Therefore I figure you’ll pretty much cry regardless of the answer gives so what would be the point of further discussion.

    • If you bought a 2012 a year ago it should have only cost $6000, you should save that in gas in 3 years. Then your driving a free car. If you bought a Celica for $6,500 you spend $2,000 a years for gas and oil. I would be upset about someone tampering with the car, not Nissan.

  4. With my 2011 leaf. it dropped to 8 bars at 43,000 miles, and it was a couple weeks before 5 year deadline. In my head I thought I had 7 year 70,000, so I did not get to dealer until a couple weeks later. Dealer said I was 4 days after 5 year deadline, and they denied me! I asked them and the Leaf Nazi Dept. to please reconsider. I said look at the electronic record of the drop. They brushed me off and would not return calls. So I went to BBB and filed a complaint, suddenly a Nissan lady for corporate consumer affairs, 9or some joke dept. like that,) called me and said they would only replace it if I paid half the $6,040 cost. I requested it go to BBB arbitration, and BBB buckled to Nissan saying it was already decided in Court, and should not be decided upon again! So I agreed to get the 30 kw replacement battery for my cost of $3,020. That was about 6 months ago. I just today looked closely at pictures the Nissan mechanic took for me, and the label on the new battery states 24 kw! I think they pulled a fast one on me! So now I am furious again at Nissan. They lie, and avoid their lawsuit settlement agreement. They don’t honor the capacity warranty, and even after I confirmed with lady in Corp. Office, and Nissan dealer, that it was going to be a 30 kw battery, it turns out it isn’t! I hate Nissan. You can’t trust them. Never buy a Nissan!

    • You are absolutely right! I’m in the same boat. Nissan said they will give me a 2k credit but the warranty with the new battery is only 12mo/12k miles per the dealer. ANGRY in San Diego!!!

      • Sorry to hear that Nissan is still tricking and denying Leaf owners, rather than making good on their failed 2011 and 2012 batteries. feel free to ask me any questions about my case, I will respond. Jeff

  5. I have a 2012 Nissan leaf less than 40K miles on it and my battery/drive range is no more than “68” miles. I have all twelve bars but would not recommend the leaf to anyone who doesn’t own a portable generator. This car is annoying and frustrating. No wonder McDonald’s was willing to give them away as prizes. Batteries should be replaced free of cost because of the unreliable and less than reasonable driving ranges that are only guesses not exact distances. I have spent hours sitting in my car at a horribly slow charging station because I can’t drive the full amount of miles shown on the dash. I ask that Nissan replaces the batteries of older cheaper models free of cost because I am not going to pay for something that I should have had in the first place. In other words buy any other car and let the leaf float in the winds of history as another failure that should be forgotten. (Unless proven otherwise)

  6. I have less than 8 bars on my 2011 and 31,000 miles and they won’t replace the battery. I am an early adopter and sent quite a few people to buy LEAFs and promoted the LEAF in my local area. I think Nissan is really dropping the ball on the early adopters. I am not inclined to recommend Nissan cars at this time mainly due to their service. I’m going to transition to either the Chevy Bolt or a Tesla Model 3 as soon as I can.

    • Same with my 2011 leaf. it dropped to 8 bars at 43,000 miles, and it was a couple weeks before 5 year deadline. In my head I thought I had 7 year 70,000, so I did not get to dealer until a couple weeks later. Dealer said I was 4 days after 5 year deadline, and they denied me! I asked them and the Leaf Nazi Dept. to please reconsider. I said look at the electronic record of the drop. They brushed me off and would not return calls. So I went to BBB and filed a complaint, suddenly a Nissan lady for corporate consumer affairs, 9or some joke dept. like that,) called me and said they would only replace it if I paid half the $6,040 cost. I requested it go to BBB arbitration, and BBB buckled to Nissan saying it was already decided in Court, and should not be decided upon again! So I agreed to get the 30 kw replacement battery for my cost of $3,020. That was about 6 months ago. I just today looked closely at pictures the Nissan mechanic took for me, and the label on the new battery states 24 kw! I think they pulled a fast one on me! So now I am furious again at Nissan. They lie, and avoid their lawsuit settlement agreement. They don’t honor the capacity warranty, and even after I confirmed with lady in Corp. Office, and Nissan dealer, that it was going to be a 30 kw battery, it turns out it isn’t! I hate Nissan. You can’t trust them. Never buy a Nissan!

  7. I have a 2011 LEAF with 134,000 km (83K miles). I just lost my 3rd capacity bar. My range in winter from 100% charge to LBW is 60 to 70 km (37 to 44 miles). My commute one way is 60 km. I naively believed Nissan when they said the range was 160 km or 100 miles. I figured, well, even at half that in 10 years I’d be at 80 km. Well, I’m here at just over 4 years with less than that. I used to diligently charge to only 80%, but now with the capacity loss, unless I have a tailwind and it’s warm (> 60 degrees F) I have to charge to 100% just to do the one way to work or back (I have a L2 charger at work). I still love the car, but I need to replace the battery at some point or the car may not be viable for me. The state of the battery doesn’t allow me to make a warranty claim. Now if only Nissan Canada and my dealership can get their s#!t together and figure out how to sell me a replacement pack like they can in the US I’d be happy(er). Sigh

  8. My 2012 has 68k and battery pack is down 2 bars. Expect to lose the 3rd bar soon putting me on the edge of warranty repair for time limit or mileage. 60 miles range now with AC/heat on.

  9. i have 9 bars showing on my 2011 leaf and 42k miles. There has to be an additional metric to determine when an owner would qualify for a replacement pack. Something like the age of the car. Anyone know?

      • Also, Nissan only stated that they would REPAIR the battery up to the minimum level (9 bars/meeting mileage quote) NOT replacement. Read the warranty.

        • Nissan have been replacing batteries with new, unused batteries to this point.

          The warranty states the minimum they will do. As a business practice they have consistently exceeded the minimum standard set-forth in the warranty.

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    • Most of them actually violated the warranty by quick charging multiple times a day for months. Which is stated in the warranty as guaranteed to void the battery warranty.

      Some of them just could not read the manual.

      • I quick charged my 2011 Leaf 5 times in 5 years, and verified this with Leaf Spy. I had only 43,000 miles and it dropped to 8 bars 2 weeks before deadline. My Carwings updated the drop to Nissan, yet they denied the claim because I was at counter 5 days after deadline! Piss on Nissan for a failure in doing the right thing for people who bought their defective cars, that they knowingly sold that way for 2 years!

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      • I quick charged my Leaf 5 times in 5 years. My battery dropped to 8 bars at 34,000 miles and at least 10 days prior to the 5 year deadline. I ask you this? How did I abuse my car? I also ask, why did Nissan install a D.C. Fast charge port, if us Customers are not to use it? What is next? Adding a third row of seats, but if you use them we don’t honor the drive train?

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