In an interesting move, Nissan announced the availability of a new LEAF battery capacity warranty via the online forum MyNissanLEAF.com rather than through their typical press release format. We see this as an indication by Nissan that the voice of the owner via these types of avenues is being listened to, and that Nissan is interested in providing a direct response to those owners.
We will write more about this in a few days after we have had some time to review the announcement more closely and check out general owner reaction. A poll has been established on the site in response to the announcement and over 80 percent of respondents view the warranty in a favorable or neutral way, with only 17 percent viewing this negatively. So the majority view this as a positive event.
In a nutshell, battery capacity is now warranted based on the bars displayed on the LEAF instrument panel. There are a total of 12 bars. These bars will fail to illuminate on an individual basis as battery degradation occurs indicating reduced battery capacity. Nissan has agreed to replace a battery that has lost four bars as follows:
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.
Nissan will offer this LEAF battery capacity warranty retroactively to all 2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAF owners, and future 2013 LEAF owners. The term of the warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles.
Nissan also took the opportunity to announce an open house in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 8. We expect fireworks as this is ground zero for the greatest battery degradation thus far, and we are assuming that a majority of that 17 percent will try to find a way to get to that meeting. Andy Palmer, an Executive Vice President with Nissan Motor Corporation (the parent company of Nissan North America) will be in attendance, as will some other high level executives. Unfortunately, our schedule will not allow us to attend.
Look for our analysis of this announcement soon.