Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nissan Leaf range only 44 miles in hot weather; dealerships slashing price

10 comment(s) - last by jharper12.. on Jul 19 at 12:39 PM

  The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery

The Nissan Leaf is a top player in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, but one major issue that sometimes plagues these vehicles is the battery -- and the Leaf's battey seems to be taking a lot of heat.

Leaf owners in Arizona have recently complained that their EVs are losing significant capacity in the desert's hot heat. In fact, Arizona Leaf drivers Scott Yarosh and Mason Convey have both testified to this claim.

"When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip," said Yarosh. "[Now] I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge." [Note:  it takes 21 hours to fully recharge the Leaf on 110 volts, and 7 hours on 240 volts.]

Both owners said they've lost about 30 percent of their battery capacity since purchasing their vehicles. Even when their batteries are fully charged, two to three of the 12 lights on their battery capacity gauge are out.

Both owners are very meticulous about how they care for their Leafs. There is absolutely no sign of abuse, as both were able to produce dealership service records with high marks.

"We want to learn more about what's going on, but it's something we've just been made aware of, and we don't have any conclusions yet," said Perry.

The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even predicted that Nissan's cooling system would fail the Leaf at some point back in August of 2010.

Musk said that Nissan's Leaf employed a cheaper air cooling system that would make its battery temperatures jump "all over the place," where cold temperatures would degrade the battery while hot temperatures would shut it down. Tesla, on the other hand, uses a high-end liquid heating/cooling thermal management solution.

But for those who are still avid Leaf fans, there's great news if you live in California or Washington. Dealerships in these two states are cutting about $5,000 off the price tag for a new 2012 Nissan Leaf. The MSRP is usually $37,250, but with the $7,500 federal tax credit, the $2,500 California clean-vehicle purchase rebate, and now the additional $5,000 off, the price for a brand-new 2012 Leaf is only about $23,000. 


  1. While I admire and respect Musks' accomplishments, he was very wrong about the LEAF. The LEAF battery temperatures are very steady, even with DC quick charging. Phoenix black-top temps get over 150F in the summer, no li-ion can behave normally in that. Active cooling will be activated 100% in Phoenix summers, draining the battery but will help.
    I have 23k miles on my Nissan LEAF, no degradation in So. California LA area.

  2. There are rumors that Nissan rolling out with a more affordable base model with Leaf that will be a lot more affordable than the current version.

  3. Are there other reports regarding this? I heard there will be some enhancements to some of its parts, though not sure if there are available in nissan nyc soon.