Nissan, Electric LEAF and the Battery Mess

Nissan launches LEAF
The Los Angeles official Nissan LEAF launch
Nissan launches LEAF
The Los Angeles official Nissan LEAF launch

Nissan is being dragged to court over Arizona heating batteries. Electric car makers need to diffuse problems quickly.

If Nissan was the first on the block with a fully functional and everyday driving electric car, the LEAF takes that honor. We can now see as many LEAFs as other electric cars and Nissan, at least for a certain while used this facelift intelligently, heralding the onslaught of electric cars on the market.

Heat, Batteries & Range.  One thing we are painfully aware of these days is that so-called experts don’t always get it right. Whether Wall Street bizarre prediction or carmaker’s hopeful sales numbers, little to no expert called this economic landscape and matched numbers accordingly. Apparently, most carmaker sales numbers are sprightly picked from the booming pre-2008 bygone days. So selling an electric car becomes a trickier exercise between delivering and promising.

Arizona LEAFs.  If all was smooth sailing for Nissan, something started happening two years ago after its all-electric car the Leaf went on sale. All the sudden, our brazen electric car (EV) giant went quiet for some time, sometime too long apparently. In the meantime, people in Arizona where full takes its toll on anything, battery life was doing well for the Nissan LEAF.

Recalls are numerous and regular but what makes a good car company from another is that of acting swiftly when things go bad. Instead Nissan chose to do exactly the opposite last summer when Arizona LEAF owners started bitterly complaining about their battery life and level. Nissan turned a blind eye on it and didn’t address the situation until it was overblown and had already painted the LEAF as outdated with a week battery management system.

MPGe, kWh/mile, EDA…  One thing is for sure, our current energy efficiency is a mess, something I plan to tackle on another topic. What we are witnessing here are carmakers still stuck in between the future and the old ways of doing PR and Marketing from the past. Indeed, Nissan still advertises a range of about 100 miles, depending on road conditions, weather, type of driving, so on, so forth. The problem is that neither MPGe, nor even kWh per mile can give a brief but accurate description of how much energy does it take to get this car from point A to B.

It’s too bad Nissan didn’t decide to tackle the problem as soon as it happens, much as many other carmakers seem to do these days. In the meantime, Nissan is being dragged into court accused in the U.S. of misleading buyers about its LEAF’s true battery life and driving range.

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart