Nissan Leaf battery capacity loss .. Nissan launches independent advisory board
There's an issue with the Leaf which has been bubbling for a few months - you can find lots of discussion over on the MyNissanLeaf discussion board. I've been covering the issue with news reports and thought it would be good to summarize the coverage.
Basically.. The owners understood Nissan to promise 80% remaining capacity after 5 years. However, many Leaf owners are suffering from a high rate of capacity loss that in some cases they already are down to 80% or others will be down to 80% earlier than five years out.
This video is the clearest description yet from Nissan of the actual technical problem. Nissan has been cadgey and in damage control mode for months. This is a pretty straight-forward description, though it did take some careful listening to tease apart what he said.
As a related issue - Chelsea Sexton forming Advisory Board to help Nissan learn how to market the Leaf - Nissan and Sexton are working on an "Advisory Board" to help represent Leaf Owner needs to Nissan.
Nissan buys back two Leaf's under Arizona Lemon Law - The title pretty much says it ..
Nissan answers questions about optimally charging the Nissan Leaf This was a video from last Spring in which Nissan said you could quick charge the Leaf as often as you like. It directly contradicts what Andy Palmer said in the video from a couple days ago.
Nissan responds to Leaf owners worries about battery capacity loss
Nissan publishes open letter to Leaf owners over battery capacity loss
Nissan responds to Leaf owners' massive test in battery aging case
As the controversy unfolded, Nissan made several attempts to explain. As I said above they weren't very good explanations and did more to get people angry than anything.
In wake of Leaf battery flap, Coda points to active thermal management - One of the issues is heat - that the battery packs get hot, degrades the lifetime. Nissan uses passive air cooled batteries. Coda uses an active air conditioning system to keep the packs cool.
How many more $$$-centric companies are going to skip the vital step of "making sure the battery pack doesn't get and/or stay really hot" before we get a genuinely reliable, long-lived electric car below $50K? Our Prius both warms and cools its pack as needed. You'd think none of these idiots ever looked at a Prius pack and BMS. Instead they go for one hour quick charges and passive cooling and overheat the car's (or bike's) most expensive component...
Hmmm. Reports like this make me a little worried because I just bought a brand new Nissan Leaf here in Australia for $57k
I've only had the car for 5 weeks so I can't really comment on capacity loss but I have completed over 2000km already, The car is a dream to drive. I usually get around 7.5km to 7.8km (never 8km) from the first bar after a 100% charge, but last week I only got 4.6km from the first bar. I haven't charged the car since Friday last week even though we've done around 80km around town. It still has about 60km showing on the range meter.
After my fantastic year with CHL lithium batteries in my Erider PDT scooter, I thought the batteries would have been just as good in the Nissan. So far they are holding strong. It never really gets overly cold (less than -10c) or overly hot (+40c) in Canberra, and if it does, it's a rare occurance. I was the 3rd to own a Leaf in Canberra and now there are 7 of them buzzing around.
My battery "heat" gauge usually sits on 5/12 bars but after a 130km trip up and down the mountain ranges a few weekends ago, I did see it hit 6/12, but the next day it was back down to 5/12. I am only using the slow Level 1 charger that came with the car (240v@10A, 2400w EVSE). I was considering a level 2 240v 15A EVSE but the australian company raised their price from $999 to $1899 within 3 weeks. So now I'm looking at building my own using the OPEN EVSE project.
You should be able to avoid problems by treating your Leaf much like a Vectrix: don't fast charge it for the full cycle, ever, don't fast charge it when the battery pack is hot, and stick to the 11 hour slow charge cycle except in emergencies. You may even want to use a timer to charge it in Summer.