Nissan Leaf Range Loss Issues Persist In Arizona

Owners of the Nissan Leaf in Arizona have been chronicling complaints with Nissan whose representatives were initially said to be explaining away substantial range degradation, but now it appears Nissan is responding further to the heat.

And perhaps that is appropriate as the heat of Arizona was what presumably created issues that have prompted a thread now 169 pages long on the forum.

As you can see in the video report, some owners have reported unacceptably significant degrees of range loss compared to their original range and are collecting stories and banding together to commiserate, and try to get a satisfactory response.

“When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip,” a Leaf owner, still an ardent fan of the car, told the Phoenix CBS affiliate. “Now I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge.”

Some report feeling let down by a company that they supported as early adopters – and many yet support Nissan’s all-electric efforts, but do not want their problems swept aside or portrayed as acceptable, and within strict warranty limitations.

Like GM did with its Volt fear of battery fire issues – which were arguably more a problem of perception, rather than actual problems experienced – Nissan is reportedly supplying loaner cars.

At this point, it is on a case by case basis for around a dozen Leaf owners so far, whereas GM nearly opened the door to Volt owners with “concerns” and was exceedingly liberal in its policy to allay concerns at all costs.

Nissan appears to be increasing its efforts, but initial reports were said by some Leaf owners to be disappointing, and in cases reportedly still are.

If you have a Leaf experiencing range loss – in Arizona or elsewhere – we’d be interested in hearing your story.


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  • Van

    You can find articles on the Internet where Nissan explained that routine everyday charging had to be limited to about 80%, or the battery would become degraded. Here you have a story of someone charging to 100% most days to be able to travel about 90 miles. Now the battery will only provide about 44 miles of range on a single charge. Go figure.

    Bottom line, the Nissan Leaf needs the second generation battery, due out supposedly in the 2015 model year with the NMC battery and an initial range of 186 miles. This car could then be routinely charged to 80% and still go 90 miles day in and day out.

    This has been painfully obvious for quite some time.

  • Sarah

    Van: Read the myNissanLEAF forum before posting conclusions. There are numerous topics on this. EXTENSIVE (diagnostic) data collection has been done and reported by many LEAF owners. This is not about 100% vs. 80% charging. This happens to those that only charge at 80% and does not happen to those who habitually charge at 100%.

    Bottom line: Something else is going on.

  • Van

    Hi Sarah, my post is based on the article which documented a case of a high charging usage resulting in degraded performance. Folks that did not follow instructions might be tempted to claim they did. We do not live a world where most people cling to the truth. Witness the fictitious stories of Toyota acceleration.

    Lets see what Nissan says when it completes the Casa Grande investigation. Something else could indeed be wrong. Time will tell.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Nissan needs to put in liquid cooling for its battery. Fast charging at L2 level in a hot climate will generate a lot of heat where the passive or fan based cooling is NOT sufficient…

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    How about adding the Liquid Cooling to the Leaf? With the new 6.6KW charger coming up, it will be even worse with more heat…

  • Houstondav

    Vin# 870 I have taken my car to dealer twice complaining of excessive range loss. At the time of last check I still showed 12 status bars then the next day when i brought it home I lost my first status bar. Dealer talked with Nissan and they said battery was 5 star rated and dealer told Nissan they were not able to duplicate the rapid loss of bars/charge I was experiencing. Yet I don’t know how they simulated the loss of charge as car was not driven and battery not discharged any. They did charge it up for me but never tested range but reported unable to duplicate range loss, how? I even told them to drive it one lap of 610 loop they will see what i saw, they said they couldn’t do that. Next day after fully charged I drove it to empty taking a photo after losing each charge bar showing how much was driven how long it took and range estimate. I got 55 miles before going getting the —, I used to get over 75, lots of highway miles here in Houston, Tx. I would give them the photo series but don’t feel it would make a difference. I feel this is too much of a loss after 14 months and 18k miles. BUT NISSAN SAYS ITS PERFECTLY FINE……..I DON’T THINK SO. Car reports I have lifetime 4.0 miles/kw with carwings reporting upto 5.2 miles /kwh.

  • Sarah

    Sooo very sorry. I hope you are on this list:
    and/or in the wiki:,_Charging_System#Real_World_Battery_Capacity_Loss
    If not, get yourself on. The LEAF owners community cares and wants to know.

  • defiancecp

    I hope Nissan steps up to make this right for the customers impacted, but I think many media sources and many commenters are incorrectly latching onto an incorrect conclusion – I’ve seen several articles and comments discussing liquid cooling added to the battery. Adding a liquid cooling system would be a significant increase to the customer, and would not combat this issue – at least the Arizona version.

    Think about it – a liquid “coolling” system is more accurately called a temperature equalization system. It works wonderfully when ambient temperature is lower than the item being cooled. However, in this case, the problem is that the ambient temperatures themselves are getting high enough that long-term exposure is causing damage. Without refrigeration of some sort (which I assume would be prohibitively power-hungry), it cannot cool more than ambient, and so this problem would likely persist even with liquid coolilng.

    Now, if problems arise where usage or charging is driving the battery temps into damaging temperatures, a liquid cooling system will be a perfect solution – but based on the fact that this issue is presently confined to areas with very high ambient temps, liquid cooling would likely only add to customer expense to no avail.

  • John K.

    @defiancecp: Ha! Good point. Too many are thinking of batteries like they were an ICE that would be “happy” operating at the ambient temps of AZ — not true.

    Too bad A123 doesn’t expect to get its nanophosphate EXT Li ion batteries on the market until next summer. They could solve this problem. If they could be made w/Wash State U’s tin anode technology (which is claimed to almost triple energy capacity and will come on the market next summer too), that would be a major leap ahead in battery technology.

  • JohnG

    My suggestion for Nissan, at least for most of their customers, might be to air condition the garages that they park in – since most owners charge up their vehicles at home, and most do so in their own garage. As things stand now, the batteries and the charging systems generate a lot of heat, and that just makes it worse when it comes to getting some juice in there. Then, at least during the morning, the batteries and the car overall will be cool, so that would buy them some range, and less degradation. And, at several, thousand dollars (at most) per house, air conditioning is not all that expensive, compared to other options that Nissan must be considering.

  • Shootist

    Dudes, you buy a battery powered car you get battery powered range. Silly you.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    Evidently these ostensibly “green” (whatever that is) drivers have no idea where electricity comes from.

  • Richie

    Somehow “Not ready for prime-time” comes to mind.

  • Art Vatsky

    I am an auto technologist on vacation with a son living in Phoenix. I believe I have a potential solution – easily implementable – to the high temp range loss problem but I have been unsuccessful reaching the proper Nissan email address or website to reach a responsible person. Is there anyone who can give me a name, phone number, or website to go to? Thank you.

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  • Chris Penrose

    Three months of driving a Leaf has been amazing, but we are blessed with the moderate clime of Portland, Oregon. I an blessed by a 15 mile round trip commute, which is well within the sweet spot of the vehicle. Should I somehow lose half the range I have now, I will still be happy. An absolutely wonderful car for Portland.

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