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 to 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.