In response to criticism from people that own the Nissan Leaf electric car, the company has decided to provide a more extensive warranty on the battery.
In a letter to the Nissan Leaf online owners forum, executive vice president, Andy Palmer says, "Since launch, the Nissan LEAF has garnered some of the highest customer advocacy of any vehicle in the Nissan lineup, so we understand the importance of maintaining and growing that advocacy. And the only way to do that is by earning a high level of customer trust in our product and our support of it. Nissan is fully committed to the long-term viability of electric vehicles and we will continue to demonstrate that with action."
The move comes in response to criticisms that the battery doesn't re-charge fully, especially in hot climates.
When it updates warranty policies this spring, Nissan will be the first electric vehicle maker to cover battery capacity loss, repairing or replacing batteries that fall below nine of the 12 bars displayed on the car's battery capacity gauge.
A vehicle whose battery has nine remaining bars indicated on the gauge is retaining approximately 70% of its original battery capacity, says Palmer.
The coverage applies for the first five years or 60,000 miles and is in addition to the Leaf's existing 100,000-mile coverage against battery defects.
The new policy will apply to owners of all Leafs, whether they purchased the car in 2011, 2012 or the new 2013 model.
About 20,000 Leafs have been sold in the US so far and about 43,000 have been sold globally.
In his letter to the Nissan owners forum, Palmer suggests that several factors are responsible for increasing electric vehicle battery loss:
- Quick-charging the vehicle more than once a day
- Sustained high battery temperatures that could come from either ambient temperatures or extended highway driving
- Leaving the battery at a fully charged level for too long or from frequently topping it off up to a 100% charge
- Driving more than 12,500 miles annually
In related news, a survey conducted in Germany finds that it costs 35% less to maintain an electric vehicle compared to a conventional one.
Maintenance for electric vehicles costs about $3071 over eight years for drivers that log an average 5000 miles a year, compared to $4770 for a conventional small car that needs oil changes, brake conditioning, spark plugs and other routine maintenance costs, reports GreenCarReports.
The EPA rates the Leaf at 99 miles-per-gallon equivalent (combined city/highway).
Read Nissan's letter: