Good morning and Happy Holidays to all our Nissan LEAF owners in the U.S. and abroad.
As we approach the close of 2012, I wanted to provide an update on a subject that has interested a number of Nissan LEAF drivers in the U.S. desert southwest and select other markets. I’m speaking, of course, about concerns regarding the rate of battery capacity loss in the Nissan LEAF’s Lithium-ion battery.
My comments today will be specific to Nissan LEAFs in the U.S., but the actions I will explain will apply and be specifically communicated to each owner worldwide in the coming months in accordance with applicable law.
Throughout the latter half of this year, our technical teams have worked diligently to ensure that the batteries installed in Nissan LEAFs were operating to specification. As we’ve gone through this process, we have listened to your concerns, and have communicated with you in various ways, including through the MyNissanLEAF owners’ forum and other third parties.
Nissan has been taking your concerns very seriously, yet we know that some of you have not been satisfied with the pace of our support activities. Since launch, the Nissan LEAF has garnered some of the highest customer advocacy of any vehicle in the Nissan lineup, so we understand the importance of maintaining and growing that advocacy. And the only way to do that is by earning a high level of customer trust in our product and our support of it.
Simply put, we want to take actions which will further improve our customers’ satisfaction with their Nissan LEAFs while demonstrating industry-leading confidence in the integrity of our battery system. Nissan is fully committed to the long-term viability of electric vehicles and we will continue to demonstrate that with action.
So today, we are announcing that we are enhancing the warranty coverage of the battery system that powers the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.
Under an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, Nissan will protect against capacity loss in LEAF batteries that fall below nine bars, of the available 12 bars displayed on the vehicle’s battery capacity gauge, for the first five years or 60,000 miles in the United States, whichever comes first. For LEAF vehicles whose batteries have fallen below nine bars during this period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars.
A vehicle whose battery has nine remaining bars indicated on the gauge is retaining approximately 70 percent of its original battery capacity. This new limited warranty coverage remains subject to the other terms, conditions and exclusions of the Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, which otherwise remain unchanged.
As previously mentioned, we are also looking at opportunities to improve the precision of the battery capacity gauge that displays remaining capacity in the LEAFs electric vehicle battery, and intend to have more to report on this topic in the New Year.
The specifics of this new limited warranty coverage will be communicated to each owner in a dedicated communication early next year. The expanded warranty coverage will apply in the United States to the upcoming Model Year 2013 Nissan LEAF upon its release. Importantly, Nissan will provide this expanded coverage to all model year 2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAFs sold and distributed by Nissan in the United States to date, effective upon a date to be announced but which is anticipated to be in the Spring of 2013.
Our actions today are intended to put customer minds at ease regarding the topic of battery capacity loss. Even though it is expected the great majority of owners will never have to use this enhanced warranty, we want each Nissan LEAF owner to have the security that should capacity loss exceed this defined threshold, Nissan will cover the repair or replacement of their battery under warranty.
I’m certain that there will be questions regarding the specifics of what we’ve announced here today. The attached ‘Q&A’ is intended to address some of those, although our dialogue on this subject will not end here. We intend to continue communicating with LEAF owners and we hope to add more information early in the New Year.
Also, many of you may have heard about or already read a recent LEAF customer survey that Plug-In America (PIA) administered. The survey, available here, is a valuable read for any LEAF owner concerned about the performance of their electric vehicle battery. I would encourage every LEAF owner to digest PIA’s data, which came from over 240 vehicles, with contributions from over 25 states, two Canadian provinces, and the UK, representing over 3 million miles driven.
Finally, in early January, we will also announce the details of the new, model year 2013 Nissan LEAF for the U.S. As many of you know, this vehicle – and the batteries that power it – will be built right here in the United States at our plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. There are exciting changes coming with the 2013 Nissan LEAF, and we can’t wait to tell you about them very soon.
In the meantime, Happy New Year to each of you, and thank you again for your advocacy and support of the electric vehicle movement.
Executive Vice President – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
For more information about this change in policy, visit nissanusa.com