Nissan Feels The Heat For Degrading Leaf Batteries In Arizona, Owners Feel Unloved

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt


While Arizona is battling its wildfires, Nissan is having its hands full dousing the flames of Leaf owners in the Grand Canyon state. There is a rash of reports about degrading batteries, and owners blame the scorching heat.

“When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip,” a Leaf owner, still an ardent fan of the car, told the Phoenix CBS affiliate. “Now I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge.”

A TTAC reader reports:

“I personally was a 2011 LEAF owner in Phoenix. I lost a battery capacity bar at 10-1/2 months and 10,200 miles. I ended up selling the car out of concern about the battery. I then leased another 2012 LEAF for 2 years to keep driving gas free without the battery liability.”

Owners have banded together at the forum, where the thread stood at 162 pages a t the time of this typing.

From reading the posts, owners still seem to stand behind the cars they believe in, but they “feel somewhat abandoned by the company they’ve supported,” as CBS reports. Nissan has made loaners available to affected owners, and will dispatched half a dozen cars to Casa Grande to conduct extensive testing starting next week.

Contacted by TTAC, Nissan HQ in Yokohama had been unaware on Thursday, started looking into the matter on Friday, and asked on Saturday to wait for the outcome of their investigation.

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jul 22, 2012

    Unless nanotech changes things, I suspect that there are some very real chemical and physical barriers to developing batteries with sufficient power density to be practical for more than urban vehicles. In part we have personal computers because of how hard it is to make a practical battery powered car. The Xerox PARC facility, which invented many of the concepts in the computer you're using to read this, was founded by Jack Goldman. Xerox hired Goldman away from Ford, where he headed Ford Scientific Laboratories. Goldman's personal area of research at Ford was the development of sodium-sulfur batteries for use in EVs. One reason he left Ford is that he became convinced that battery EVs just weren't practical.

  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jul 22, 2012

    If you read any history you will find that governments all over the world have subsidized new technology! I'm not saying that its good or bad...just the way it is....

    • See 2 previous
    • Luke42 Luke42 on Jul 23, 2012

      @Kevin Jaeger: "The idea that this is some innovative technology at the frontier of discovery is utterly preposterous." But batteries *can* be made better/faster/cheaper/lighter/denser. Same physics, better engineering.

  • Obbop Obbop on Jul 22, 2012

    The three button-type batteries in my 1986 Hewlett-Packard calculator are the original batteries and the calculator still turns over and runs.

  • Danwat1234 Danwat1234 on Jul 23, 2012

    Hmm I wonder what temperatures the battery pack is reaching to have this much reduction in range!? Hopefully computer logs will reveal this. Maybe the Leaf should have had liquid cooling for the battery pack rather than just air-flow cooling, or a much higher CFM fan system.