How long will the battery of a Nissan Leaf last?
Anyone who uses a cellphone or a laptop computer knows that batteries degrade over time. Let's be very clear: Your phone battery can be trashed in a year or two--and that is NOT the case with an electric car.
All electric-car batteries are warranted against total failure for either 8 years/100,000 miles or 10 years/150,000 miles, depending on what state you live in. And Nissan improved its warranty coverage for Leafs in spring 2013, making the new terms retroactive to 2011 and 2012 models as well. The changes came in response to concerns over fast battery degradation in a very small number of Leafs in extremely hot areas--Phoenix, specifically. The revised warranty also protects U.S. Leaf owners against battery-capacity loss during the car's first five years or 60,000 miles.
If the battery capacity gauge falls below nine bars (from 12) during that period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured unit, "to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars." Nine bars equates to about 70 percent of remaining capacity--meaning that the effective range of a 2011 Nissan Leaf, originally rated at 73 miles, could be down to something like 50 miles.
Note, however, that very, very few Leafs have fallen to nine bars thus far. In fact, our colleague Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield's 2011 Leaf only lost its first bar (of 12) after 53,000 miles and more than three years.
Our advice: First, insist on seeing a current battery-capacity test
from a Nissan dealer for any Leaf you are seriously considering. Second, you may want to set a minimum level, perhaps cars with only 11 or 12 bars--though it's likely that Leafs with 9 or 10 bars will be considerably cheaper. It all depends on how many daily miles you'll really put on the car, and whether you have access to battery charging at work.
If worst comes to worst, a replacement battery pack for a Nissan Leaf will run you $5,500. And that new pack will have an updated cell chemistry that is far more heat-resistant, Nissan promises.
Within a few years, we'll likely see more daring buyers bargaining hard for the very few Leafs no longer eligible for the capacity warranty and whose batteries may have fallen to 50 or 60 percent of capacity. Less knowledgeable sellers or dealers may simply want to get rid of that car for a few thousand dollars. That may mean that those daring buyers could have a new pack installed, and end up with a Leaf with the range of a brand-new model for $10,000.
Read more at: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/109 ... ectric-car