Nissan rankled a lot of feathers when it announced that its first electric vehicle, the Leaf would have an air-cooled battery pack. Now that decision may come back to haunt Nissan. This past weekend a group of Leaf owners conducted a test proving that Leaf battery pack is losing range at a more rapid rate than advertised.
A group of Nissan Leaf owners in Arizona had begun reporting that their Leaf electric cars were showing less and less range on the battery bar gauge. Nissan claimed this was an issue with the gauge, not the battery, prompting a dozen Leaf owners to conduct a private investigation. Controlling for things like air conditioning, speed, and wind resistance, the Nissan Leaf owners all had varying degrees of battery bar loss. Their aim was to prove that the battery packs are in fact losing range at a much more rapid rate than Nissan is letting on.
The results are clear. While the newer Leafs that still had 11 of the 12 bars on the battery gauge managed between 73 and 80 miles, in line with EPA estimates, six Leafs with just 10 bars only managed 72 miles. Meanwhile, the Leaf that had lost 4 of the 12 bars, or 33% of its battery life, managed to make it just 59 miles before the battery pack declared itself totally empty.
Furthermore, not a single Leaf owner in the Phoenix, Arizona area reported 100% battery capacity, including a car that was just a month old.
This is a huge, and I mean huge problem for Nissan, especially since they recently doubled down on the issue and declared the battery gauge to be at fault. While the decision to go for an air-cooled battery no doubt helped keep costs down, it does not appear to be sufficient for dealing with the extreme high temperatures in areas like Arizona. Just wait until conservatives get their hands on this info…
Any Leaf owners experiencing similar battery loss issues? Or is this an issue isolated to Arizona?