Our LEAF goes in for its annual checkup
As with most other things in life, we were late getting our LEAF in for its first annual battery checkup.
We took delivery of our LEAF on March 25 of last year, and in that time have managed to rack up a total of only 6,400 miles. Our total is less than many Southern Californian’s as my wife telecommutes and I use a company supplied car for my day job. So for us, the LEAF takes the kids to school, goes to the grocery store, and generally runs errands around town during the week. On the weekends it usually gets a longer workout when we use it to see family or friends in the greater San Diego area.
When I called to make the service appointment, one point surfaced immediately upon connecting with the appointment center. We had not taken the car in for any kind of service in the first year of ownership. Talk about low cost of ownership. Being generally of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school, we never took our LEAF in for the recommended reprogramming of the vehicle control module (VCM). About a year or so ago, some individuals were finding that their LEAF would not restart after stopping. Nissan developed an update to resolve the issue. Since we never had the issue, we never saw a need to take it in. So when they checked out our battery, they also performed the necessary reprogramming. From what we understand, it will change the range remaining indicator to provide a more accurate indication. Since we don’t use this guide anyway, it really will not impact our day-to-day use.
Speaking of the range remaining indicator, our suggestion is that you simply ignore it. We disagree with Nissan’s decision to make it a focal point of the instrument cluster. Most individuals do not drive around focused on the Distance Until Empty selection found in many vehicles’ trip computers. We don’t see why the LEAF should be any different. Look at the 12 bar battery indicator, and use that as a rough guide to your remaining range. Your right foot operation will impact it as much as anything else. Much as it will in a traditional gasoline powered vehicle.
While we were in for service, we asked our service writer what the highest mileage was that he had seen on a LEAF in for its annual checkup so far. He said that one local customer has accumulated about 21,000 miles on his car. He has about a 70 mile one way commute to work. His employer has installed several 240-volt charging docks for employees to use so he just plugs in when he gets to work, and at the end of the day, has a full charge to drive back home again. When he gets home, he plugs in at night and is ready to go in the morning. When more employers realize the advantage of offering this service to employees, we see this becoming more and more common over time. With the advent of increased solar panel usage, there also will be no additional strain on the power grid. This kind of an arrangement can truly be a win-win for the employer, the employee, and everyone that benefits by the cleaner environment.
By the way, the cost of our initial maintenance was – zero. Battery checked out fine, VCM got reprogrammed, tires were checked for proper inflation and Nissan performed a multi-point inspection (whatever that might mean). Cost of first year maintenance – $0.00.