Nissan to buy back two of seven Leafs involved in aging battery issue

Article by Anita Panait, on October 1, 2012

Nissan Motor Co. has reached an agreement to reacquire two of the seven Leaf electric vehicles whose owners in Phoenix, Arizona have publicly expressed concern over aging batteries. Nissan’s actions could help appease a small group of Leaf owners and green-car enthusiasts who have been questioning the ability of the electric vehicle’s battery to hold a sufficient charge as it ages.

In response to their qualms, Nissan has announced that it would commission an independent, global panel to conduct a study that would find out whether the Leaf’s batteries are aging on a rapid pace, hoping that it would prove that there is nothing wrong with them. Dave Reuter, Nissan chief spokesman, said that the carmaker is not happy that there are customers with concerns.

He also said that the company has been working hard to improve its customer communications to better meet their expectations. Reuter noted that they have sold around 450 Leafs in Phoenix, with majority of the new electric vehicle owners being very satisfied. He also noted that worldwide, Leaf customers are some of Nissan's most satisfied. Reuter remarked that the perceived issue should be placed in context.

The concerns by the owners, which are posted on environmental web sites and online forums, came as Nissan is about to commence the mass production of the Leaf at a Smyrna plant in Tennessee. Nissan will soon start the operation of the plant, which has an annual production capacity of up to 200,000 lithium ion battery modules.

Smyrna plant will be supporting a new Leaf assembly plant built to supply dealers in the United States with 150,000 electric cars annually. This project, which costs Nissan around $1.6 billion, is part of a worldwide, multi-site $5 billion Leaf manufacturing program.

Nissan LEAF proves to us that the smallest details, when combined, create the most marvelous effects.

With a sharp, upright V-shaped design, the LEAF’s frontal styling is further enhanced by long, up-slanting LED headlights with a blue internal reflective design, a special tag indicating that “This car is special”. But of course, these headlights are not just a fashion statements but also have important functions. It is actually designed the way it is to reduce wind noise and drag by splitting and redirecting airflow away from the door mirrors. Also, these headlights save more electricity, consuming only 10% of electricity used by conventional lamps, supporting Nissan LEAF’s goal for world-class range autonomy.

Nissan LEAF’s interior has a pleasing and stylish cabin environment thanks its bright trim colors. The eco-friendly “blue earth” color theme takes its inspiration from the Aqua Globe body color of the introductory model; this theme extends onto its interior with its blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination.

Connected to a global data center, Nissan LEAF’s advanced IT system provides information, entertainment and support to its drivers 24/7. A monitor on the dashboard displays the vehicle’s remaining power (or “reachable area”) as well as nearby charging stations. Nissan LEAF also has a special feature wherein mobile phones can control air-conditioning and set charging functions even when the vehicle is turned off. Batteries can be pre-programmed to recharge using an on-board remote-controlled timer.

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