In a surprise move, Nissan Motors is now establishing an independent board to further study how the automaker would be better able to communicate with its Nissan Leaf clientele regarding issues on performance and other matters. This move was prompted by the collective concerns of seven Nissan Leaf owners who cited loss of charge capacity in the EV’s lithium ion battery array.
Contrary to reports, Nissan is not intending to investigate on the Leaf battery issue. According to David Reuter, Vice President for Corporate Communications for Nissan Americas, in a telephone interview, “There is no issue with the car or the batteries.” Nissan had already evaluated the seven electric vehicles in question at its Arizona facility for battery defects or system’s issues in the electric vehicle. The tests also sought to compare the performance of these vehicle’s batteries compared to that of other Leafs around the world. The tests found that a ‘small number’ of Nissan leaf owners in Arizona had resulted in above average battery drainage due to heavy usage in high temperatures in short periods. According to the carmaker, the batteries should retain an eighty percent charging capacity after five years of usage.
In a message posted in the forum MyNissanLeaf.com, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Nissan Americas said, “While we understand that some Leaf owners are concerned about battery capacity loss, we want all owners to remember that all battery-electric vehicles – and all lithium-ion batteries- demonstrate capacity loss over time. As each user’s operating characteristics are unique and many factors impact battery capacity, we can expect some vehicles to have greater than 80 percent capacity in five years and some vehicles to have less.
There are about 450 Nissan Leafs in Arizona and a total of 38,000 all over the world. After five years, according to Nissan’s Bailo, the battery of the average Leaf in the Phoenix area would have a battery capacity of seventy six percent. She further added, “Factors that may account for this differential include extreme heat, high speed, high annual mileage and charging method. We at Nissan stand by our product and we also stand by our customers.”
The company has sought to have Chelsea Sexton, advanced technology expert who was instrumental in the marketing of the EV-1 back in the 1990’s, to convene an advisory board to make recommendations for Nissan’s actions and improvement. The terms of the arrangement with Mr. Sexton was not disclosed.