Nissan hopes to attract customers with a battery warranty boost for the Leaf EV

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 3, 2013

Nissan Motor Co. hopes to make consumers believe in the durability of the electric Leafs so the company is planning to reinforce the warranty of their battery modules. Early next year, Nissan will send out notices to current owners and dealerships to tell them that it will make the warranty retroactive to cover all existing Leafs.

Nissan said that if the car’s lithium-ion battery loses over 30% of its ability to hold a charge after five years or 60,000 miles, the company will fix or replace the battery. Previously, the overall warranty of the car had no mention of the battery life. So now, the warranty extends to new model Leafs in 2013. We learned about this plan from last Thursday’s letter written by Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan Motor Co. in Japan.

The letter was uploaded on the U.S. Leaf owner Web site mynissanleaf.com. Nissan makes this move after several months of a heated discussion between the company and a few owners in Phoenix who complain that the batteries in the Leaf are aging quicker than expected.

The Leaf is entirely different from conventional vehicles that use simple lead-acid starter batteries since it’s totally dependent on its integrated lithium-ion battery system, which makes up the biggest portion of the car’s value.

Nissan had made a claim in 2010 during the car’s launch that the Leaf’s batteries will behave a lot like cell phone batteries. It’s expected that after years of driving, the batteries will slowly lose their ability to hold a full recharge.

Nissan had stated that according to normal driving patterns, the car is subject to a 20% loss of charging capacity after five years of driving. These complaints have led to the cropping up of concerns just as Nissan is working to offer the Leaf in all 50 states this year.

Nissan had predicted that it will sell 20,000 cars this year but it’s likely to conclude the year with less than half of this figure. In the U.S., Nissan sold 8,330 Leafs through November, a 5% drop from the same period in 2011.

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