Monday, December 31, 2012

Nissan Adds Warranty Coverage for Run-Down Leaf Batteries


Anyone with old electronics knows all too well that batteries lose capacity as they age: Start the day on a full charge and that old BlackBerry is running on empty by midafternoon. It's more vexing when it happens with your electric car, though, and certain Nissan Leaf owners in hot climates have seen significant drops. Now the Detroit News reports Nissan will expand warranty coverage to include batteries that lose too much capacity.

The coverage applies to all Leaf owners, and the Detroit News reckons it will likely kick off next spring. Here's how it works: If you charge your Leaf to maximum capacity and find it tops out at fewer than nine of the 12 charge bars — around 70% of the original capacity — Nissan will repair the battery or install a new or remanufactured unit that holds nine bars or more. The coverage lasts five years or 60,000 miles, and it augments the Leaf's existing 96-month/100,000-mile battery coverage, which covers other failures but not decreased capacity.

Remember, all batteries lose capacity over time. One government study last decade found the first-gen Toyota Prius lost more than half its capacity after 160,000 miles. Automakers seldom extend warranty provisions to cover such issues; in fact, Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said Nissan is the "first and only" automaker to offer such coverage, according the Detroit News.

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