So when GM detailed just how their warranty would work in practice (which was basically that the pack was covered to not lose anymore than 10%-30% of its total capacity0depending on the age/mileage of the vehicle), we wondered if Nissan would offer something similar in the LEAF.
During a seemingly innocuous interview with Autoblog Green late last week, Mark Perry, who is Nissan’s Director of Product Planning, seems to have given us the answer. And unfortunately, the answer is no, it does not work the same:
“The warranty is not related to battery capacity. The warranty is related to motor output. So if the battery has degraded to a point where the motor can’t get enough power from the battery, then it’s a warrantable event. But if someone abuses the battery – parks it outside in 140 degrees and all that – and they have 60 percent capacity after eight years, that’s on them. They abused it.” (As FYI, the LEAF has a expected retained capacity of 70%-80% at the 8 year mark)
And that is it…no further explanation given. From the sounds of that, you could theoretically have a LEAF that is only getting 50 miles range in year two, but if you took it to Nissan to say there was a problem, they basically test the car to see if the battery can still operate the motor at optimal performance for those 50 miles, and if it does, you are out of luck. /ouch
Now to be fair, sometimes quotes get twisted, or misinterpreted. Curiously, the title of this Autoblog story was not about the warranty at all…it was simply entitled “2011 Nissan Leaf – Some things you probably didn’t know.”
Generally when news of this magnitude turns up that really doesn’t pass the ‘common sense’ test, we like to inquire about its validity before going to press…to avoid disseminating misinformation. And most every time there is some return clarification that a mistake has been made along the way. This time, we were met with no comments/no explanations. Silence. So does this mean the report is accurate? Maybe. Or it could mean that Nissan has not yet fully decided/articulated the warranty? Again, who knows. However, December deliveries are coming fast and consumers need to know to be able to make a informed purchase.
The only specific information was had heard previously from Nissan was that they “… plan on providing a warranty coverage suitable for a major component of an automobile,” and that seems to still be inline with Mark Perry’s latest quote on battery warranty. Namely, if it is broke, we will fix it. If it functions, we won’t.
Until we hear otherwise, our suggestion is to treat your LEAFs with a lot of care. As for Nissan’s suggestion to not park it outside when it is really, really hot, because that is abuse…we beg to differ with their definition of abuse. (I’m glad I don’t live in Phoenix).
For myself personally, if this report is indeed confirmed accurate, Nissan has just converted my purchase into a lease. /and I will not guarantee the range when I turn it in either
(Original quote – ABG)