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Nissan publishes open letter to Leaf owners over battery capacity loss
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wrote on September 27, 2012 - 12:53am
Chris, thank you for your posts and for trying to get the point across. I'm sorry that you found MNL hostile, it's a tightly-knit demanding group, that's for sure, and you have to establish and prove yourself before you will be taken seriously. That said, I have seen your posts, here and elsewhere, and while what you say is generally true, I'm afraid that I have to agree with posters on MNL. I don't think that it's particularly helpful, even though you appear to mean well. The number one problem Nissan has is communication. They oversold the car, did not set proper expectations, and are now reaping the rewards. Yes, batteries degrade over time, and Nissan has disclosed this upfront. What's problematic here is that they have never specified what the usable battery capacity should be when the vehicle is new, and only provided a vague idea of how far it would travel in a few typical scenarios. Combine that with a highly erratic and downright useless distance-to-empty empty meter, and you have a recipe for creating angst among the Leaf driving population on a daily basis. It appears that their batteries degrade much faster than anyone would have reasonably assumed: 10% drop in the first year is something that one would expect from a laptop battery, not an automative-grade pack. Although they never shared projected battery lifecycle graphs, it would appear that degradation should level off. Owners will reportedly only see only a 5% drop in the second year, a 3% drop in third year, etc. What is the problem with that, you ask? Well, few are going to believe it. After the many half-truths and misleading statements Nissan has broadcast over the last couple of years, they have earned this privilege in spades. And to top it off, there is a daily reminder not to trust their predictions: the guess-o-meter. So, yes, while your well-meaning posts have a kernel of truth in them, the situation is not as straightforward as one might think. This is not a case of a simple component failure, it's failure to live up to expectations on many fronts, and accurate vehicle instrumentation and sensors is just one of them.
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