Leaf owners: Your thoughts on the battery pack?

Discussion in 'Nissan/Infiniti Hybrids and EVs' started by daniel, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Hill, your interpretation that the EPA would require replacement of any Leaf battery pack that failed to provide 100 miles of range after 100,000 miles is an unconventional one. The conventional interpretation is that the battery (and drive train, I think) must be guaranteed against DEFECTS in material or workmanship. Nissan specifically disclaims "gradual reduction" in range, and without defining "gradual" you don't have a leg to stand on against Nissan's stable of lawyers if your battery has 50 miles of range in 3 years.

    The car does indeed perform without flaw in hot weather. It's been tested for that. But heat degrades batteries. Keeping them cool (or more precisely, keeping them within optimal operational temperatures, since some battery chemistries operate at hundred of degrees Fahrenheit) prolongs their life. And maybe the Leaf does not need cooling. But just saying "Trust us, our battery doesn't need it" is not an explanation. It's a demand for blind trust. That trust may in the end prove to be justified. But after a year of lies and broken promises, I am less inclined to trust Nissan than I was when I placed my order. And the fact that they state openly that frequent fast charging will shorten the life of the pack is an admission that the pack does degrade when it gets hot.

    The Leaf is an excellent car. Nissan showed contempt for its customers in the way it handled the roll-out and the way it refused to explain issues of serious concern to those customers not inclined to trust Nissan blindly. BTW I was told by someone at the Nissan dealership (treat this as hearsay) that the people in charge of the Leaf roll-out have been fired due to the way they screwed up the process, and the fellow who told me this was as angry at Nissan as I was, since they treated their dealers as badly as they treated their customers.

    I have forgiven Nissan. In the end I'm glad they screwed up my order and lied to me about it until I gave up on them because it pushed me to get the car that I now consider to be the best EV you can buy today. I will never buy a car from Nissan. But I've forgiven them. (Just because you've forgiven the person who pushed you down the stairs, doesn't mean you'll turn your back on them again.)

    Nice weather. Time to go for a drive in the country.
     
  2. evnow

    evnow Active Member

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    I'm bringing this from the other thread.

    That is the wrong question.

    Will a lower quality LG battery with cooling retain the same capacity as a better quality Leaf battery without the cooling ?

    Neither of us know the answer - so lets not pretend we do.
     
  3. evnow

    evnow Active Member

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    I think you are mixing up several things.

    First, EPA doesn't rate Leaf to 100 miles - it is rated to 73 miles.

    Second, EPA says nothing about 100K miles warranty.

    While EPA does require certain emission standard, Leaf will meet zero tailpipe emission standard, whatever be the range or battery capacity.
     
  4. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    One doesn't have to go against any company's stable of lawyers (btw, after working for one I might add that most big corporations farm out stuff like that anyway), because as you know, there are TONS of plaintiff's lawyers and class action firms that are a lot hungrier. Warranties are NOT just about the junk in the boiler plate. Nissan does have to meet EPA expectations. For that matter, ALL products have to meet a customer's reasonable expectations. Do you know why your dinner chairs were built strong enough for large people to stand on? Because its required. Because we deem that it's expected and reasonable. That's the nature of product manufacturing. Does the chair have to emphatically state in no uncertain terms that the original purchaser may use the chair as a ladder? ... even though it's meant to be sat on? No ... they don't even have to allude to it. In fact, the chair may even state "DO NOT" stand on it, and if it's likely that folks WILL stand on it ... Manufacturer beware.

    Now, enter EPA / Nissan. Despite saying in a nebulous way that degradation eventually happens - written claims are made to the contrary, and mileage 'expectations' are stated in writing. If the EPA had no teeth, there would be no point for its existence. Should traction pack failures begin, EPA would go to work. Batteries may fail. Nissan may balk. Nissan may weigh future bad P.R. and fold. Nissan may fight, and then fold. In any event, and talking from experience with product liability, eventually Nissan would have customers with a remedy. Nissan knows it's reputation rides on its product, and one way or another, they're not about to let the Leaf become the next Yugo or Vega. Think of it THIS way ... Glass half full? ... or half empty. You mentioned it your self. VAGUE - nebulous - 'allusion-to-iffy' - maybe the Pack might not last wording. Just what DOES that mean?!? From experience in the legal world, I know that uncertainty in terms means nothing ... except to brush off the less informed.

    In addition to stating the Leaf traction pack doesn't require liquid cooling, Nissan has published a chart/graph showing what kind of multiple/excessive battery temperatures will degrade it's pack. So Nissan isn't saying, "trust me". They've already charted out the likely expectation, should folks quick charge daily. That's why the Leaf's firmware logs such things. To keep track, it the drivers are abusers. But abuse has nothing to do with air versus liquid cooling. I'm hoping/thinking that issue is put to bed after mentioning liquid cooling may just be a product if necessity for some battery chemistries.
    Would you have them hide that fact ... that daily/multiple quick charges is detrimental to longevity? They never did that. Check back at the post I left regarding battery "no-no's". It's not just daily/multiple quick charging, it's many other things. Even so - batteries and heat dynamics is not new news. How is that anything but forth coming?
    Contempt for customers is a lot more volitional than a multi national corporation instituting a crummy system ... then being stuck with it ... a crummy system, because it's impossible to instantly do things a different way. Considering the hard hits that the whole of Japan took (see earlier thread) in the midst of the early roll out - I don't know what more individual employees, or for that matter small groups of employees could have done. My experience is that enough corporate decisions are made "several tiers higher" so that even if large volumes of leaders wanted to do things better/differently, it would be impossible. Many hands are tied on many levels in the corporate world.

    I hope your new ride - the Tesla, is everything you expect, and more! Good EV'ing!
     
  5. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    For a friend of mine, who canceled his Leaf order after Nissan refused to make information available, the right question is: Would the Leaf battery pack last longer if it had active cooling than it will last the way it presently is built? For him, the choice is not between a Leaf and a Ford Focus EV; the choice is between the Leaf and the PHEV Prius when it comes out. And after all that's happened, he has a LOT more confidence in and respect for Toyota than Nissan.

    I am not talking about catastrophic failures. Those would presumably be covered by the warranty. I am talking about "gradual" degradation that is more rapid than buyers expect. Nissan already promises a large network of fast chargers, at the same time as it warns people not to use them! If that's not covering your a$$ I don't know what is!

    My reference to lies and broken promises does not refer to this. It refers to promising December delivery, and then DECIDING AT THE CORPORATE LEVEL to break that promise. I'm referring to a customer service line that never once gave me an answer that turned out to be true. I'm referring to a PROMISE to deliver cars in order, and then, when they incompetently lost a bunch of orders, DECIDING to put them at the back of the line. I'm refering to putting ON THEIR WEB SITE a VIN that was supposedly my car, and telling me that my car was in Portland and would be delivered the following week, and then DECIDING to send that car somewhere else instead. I'm referring to then assigning me a car in port, and promising it would be shipped "next week" for a month and a half.

    Nissan has shown itself to be an untrustworthy company. They've built an excellent car. Had they been willing to sell me one I'm sure I'd have been delighted with it. Instead, they put me (and many others) through hell. I've forgiven them, but I know them to be untrustworthy and I won't buy from them in the future.

    Thank you. It is, in fact, everything I've ever dreamed of in an EV ever since I experienced the joy of electric mode in the Prius, and more. Today I drove just over 100 miles, mostly north of here, out in the country, with the top off. I had an estimated 70 miles of range left when I got home. And that was in Standard mode (which only uses 80% of the pack's capacity) and driving moderately hard. I have no doubt that I could go 245 miles on a charge if I charged in Range mode and avoided flooring it at every opportunity.

    I hope your Leaf is everything you expect of it, and more, as well, and I do sincerely hope that my concerns about the Leaf's battery pack are unfounded. We need more EVs, and we need them all to be successful.

    In the end, I live alone, and I still have the Prius, so I don't need my daily car to be a sedan. The ostentatious bright orange color, the range, and the power are all great fun, and the two seats work for me. When AC Propulsion built the t-zero I coveted one. The Tesla is, I think, an even better car. When Zap was promising to bring the Obvio to the U.S., I thought it looked like the car Roger Rabbit would drive, and I wanted one. The Tesla is as eye-catching, and actually exists. I haven't had this much fun driving a car since I got the Zap Xebra, and first drove gas-free.

    I hope the Leaf is the same for you and all the others who drive them.
     
  6. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Ah - I stand corrected;
    [​IMG] That's what I get for reading as fast as I forget. EPA actually DOES say 99/100 average range ... but as you point out - it doesn't say 99 mile range for 100,000 miles;
    From my warranty:
    I must admit, that when I read how Nissan expects owners to do regular battery checks at 12K mile intervals up to 84,000 miles - coupled with the above, it certainly seems acceptable to interpret battery life at (up to at least) 80% at 5 years (ie; 75,000 - 100,000 miles) ..."
    Couple that with the following, listed on several pages:
    Follow-Up: Nissan LEAF Battery Warranty

    but definitely not from CARB ... Cal EPA or Fed EPA. After thousands of miles racked up ... I can live w/ it.

    .
     
  7. evnow

    evnow Active Member

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    That is not 99 mile range - but 99 MPGe. This is calculated using the 33.4 KWh of a gallon of gas - and calculating how far Leaf would go on 33.4 Kwh.

    EPA range is 73 miles.
     
  8. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Not to tangent too much but the 33kWh energy in a Gas gallon - that doesn't count any of the innumerable kWh's necessary to create the gallon, right?

    (From EVnut's web site quoting government web page)
    http://www.evnut.com/gasoline_oil.htm
    If true, we're now down to the low 20kWh's of electricity per gallon ... which would mean the leaf goes farther than a gallon's true 'energy value' (not even counting a miniscule fraction of military/defend freedom costs).
    I just wonder how the EPA reconciles the cost to create factor.
     
  9. kammssss

    kammssss Member

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    You can afford a 100k car and you have complaints? Wth! Tesla Roadster eat my dust and fumes: BMW 850CI V12
     
  10. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    It's fair to compare the pump-to-wheels efficiency of a stinker with the wall-to-wheels efficiency of an EV. If we try to figure the well-to-wheels efficiency of the stinker, then we must compare with the source-to-wheels efficiency of the EV, and with electricity coming from so many different sources, many of them renewable and costing nothing but installation cost, and others coming from coal, others from natural gas, etc., it's very hard to get an accurate average cost. My electricity comes almost entirely from hydro, with a little but of wind in the mix. Darell's comes entirely from his roof. Etc.

    So, at the very least, if you factor in the cost of producing a gallon of gas, you need to make an attempt to factor in as well the cost of making electricity, keeping in mind it will be very different for different people. Zero for Darell, low for me, higher for someone in a coal region.
     
  11. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    Daniel,

    I think Nissan does not think you are a good customer of the Leaf because you asked too many questions about the pack and would likely be disappointed with the capacity lost over time. They decided not to sell you the Leaf and snubbed you by putting you at the end of the line.
     
  12. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Actually, it was a friend of mine who was concerned about the pack. I asked no questions about it because I just wanted an EV that would go on the freeway. Whenever I did mention the pack in any conversations with Nissan, it was in the context of how wonderful it would be to step up from my 35 mph 40-mile range Zap Xebra to a full-on electric car.

    The multiple screw-ups with my order were pure Nissan incompetence, and it was their refusal to put it right, and the long string of lies and broken promises that made me so angry that now I will never buy a Nissan car. And a lot of people on the MyNissanLeaf web site said that they will never buy another Nissan either, though most wanted the Leaf badly enough to buy the car.

    I've been told by someone at the Nissan dealership (this is mere hearsay) that the top person in charge of the USA roll-out has been fired. If they'd done that six months ago, maybe someone would have taken the lost orders seriously and a lot of people who now hate Nissan would love Nissan instead. I'd probably be driving a Leaf instead of a Tesla now. I'm sure I'd have loved the car. But probably not nearly as much as I love the Tesla. Whisper quiet and lightning fast.
     
  13. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    daniel; now that you have your Tesla and the Leaf's long term issues are no longer an issue the question about the way each company handles battery pack maintenance is still there.

    but to be honest with ya, its like illustrating the difference between maintenance of a high performance 12 cylinder car and a 4 banger. one needs $1000 tuneups about every 1500-2000 miles the other needs an oil change every 5,000 miles and has spark plugs designed to be replaced every 7 years.

    let me put it another way; two managers. one manages a workforce of 48, the other manages a workforce of 4,000+. both use computer systems to monitor workflows, employees logged out for breaks, etc.

    which manager do you think would need the most monitoring help?

    The Leaf does have active cooling where they felt they needed it and since you had a Zebra, you can probably understand it. the Leaf's inverter is water cooled and water circulates to keep it cool the entire time its plugged in. now my inverter on my Zenn only had passive cooling (vaned heat sinks) and would literally get hot enough to burn your skin. this caused the charger to run out of spec and was directly contributable to the battery issues i had with the Zenn.

    so, we now need to look at what heat is generated, how much and where. the Leaf with a much smaller # of modules naturally requires a much smaller footprint, much less wiring (all of which causes heat due to electron movement) and it generally charges at a much lower current level which also reduces its cooling needs.

    to me, its all relative. the Leaf does not need the cooling of a high performance vehicle simply because it is not a high performance vehicle.
     
  14. GeekEV

    GeekEV Member

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  15. oldasdust

    oldasdust Member

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    What really sucks is when a great product comes out these days ,if the company does not stick it in your back side the dealerships do. I guess they really have us all by the short hairs.
     
  16. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Agree for the most part. If they don't think the battery needs more cooling than it has they are likely right.

    On the Nissan site Nissan says they expect 80% capacity after five years. They also recommend an 80% charge most of the time. So is 80% the expected capacity after five years of 80% or after five years of 100%? I assume the former. I do think that within five years there will be a pretty noticeable drop in range and unlike a Prius it seems using just Nissan's numbers there that it would certainly need a new battery in 8-10 years (batteries typically lose capacity at an accelerated rate, so it won't lose 80% each five years, but probably speed that loss up).
     
  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    What with Volt battery packs catching fire as of late - it seemed like a good time to pull this Zombie thread (about what Leaf owners think of their traction packs) back from the grave.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/b...gate-chevrolet-volt-battery.html?_r=1&src=twr
    Passive battery management? Or Active.
    Liquid cooling? Or air.
    Complex/expensive temp management? or K.I.S. (keep it simple) ??

    Often, people will say that "time will tell". We're a few more months down the road with new EV experiences now ... thousands more Leafs and at least 1,000 more Volts. Perhaps, there may be possible negative side effects of liquid battery cooling in an EV. . . perhaps, in an accident, the introduction of liquid (battery coolant) into the Lithium can have somewhat unexpected results - al la flame out(s) ... perhaps.

    That said, eliminating the need for liquid battery coolant seems like a preferred approach, just if one considers simplicity. The LEAF's battery seems to do fine with no thermal management, even as thousands and thousands more Leafs hit the roads.

    I understand GM either hadn't completed "battery handling protocol" prior to the 2nd Volt fire - or they had not communicated to the storage folks what the protocol is/ or would eventually be. Maybe the Volt's more complex liquid cooled battery issues is indicative of GM rushing a product to market. Air works for the Leaf. Air works for the Prius. Worked for RAV4-EV's. Coda is soon to be out. It to just uses air. Iduno ...Just a thought . . . this is just a kind of battery pack post mortem, based on reflections of current events.
     
  18. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I will say again, as I said before: The Leaf's battery chemistry has been shown to operate very well at extreme temperatures. What remains to be seen, is whether extreme (hot) temperatures will shorten battery life, compared to batteries operated at cooler temperatures.

    And I will also say again, and on this my opinion has not changed: I think the Leaf is an excellent car, and I think I'd have been very happy with it. I expect the battery to do very well in the long term. But this is by no means certain. I'd have happily bought one and I'd have trusted the car to do well. But only time will tell if that expectation, and the expectations of Leaf owners, will prove correct.

    Tesla chose a different route than Nissan: Tesla chose a readily-available battery technology with greater energy density and lower cost per kWh of capacity, to assure the batteries would always be available, and to pack more range and power into the car. The "cost" of this older but more available and understood battery chemistry is the need for active thermal management.

    As for GM "rushing" to bring the Volt to market, it seems to me they delayed the Volt as much as they possibly could. They could easily have marketed the Volt five years ago, and I'd have bought one in a heartbeat back then, to have 35 miles of EV range. They could have stuck a range-extender in the EV1 and had a 100-mile REEV, even if it was a two-seater, and I'd have bought one. They could have just continued the EV1 itself while improving the pack from year to year, and I'd have bought one. But they waited until the competition had EVs on the road before they brought out the Volt.

    As for the battery fires, I am inclined to believe that the Volt fires will not change Leaf owners' feelings about their packs, as the fires do not change my feelings about the Leaf. I think this is related to specifics about the Volt itself, and not generalizable to other EVs.
     
  19. chris75sf

    chris75sf New Member

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    Hi all,

    As a former Prius & Prius plug-in (Enginer kit), and new LEAF owner, I would like to share my driving experience with you;
    Please see my profile for the link

    Regards,

    Christophe
    Paris
     
  20. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    just a quick note on this topic. a Leaf owner in Kent, WA rolled 35,000 miles on his Leaf yesterday. he does two 100% charges daily on his 120 mile RT commute. has had zero signs of range degradation. now, it might be because the battery has not had enough time to degrade. he took delivery of his Leaf may 11, 2011.

    so he is Nissan's version of 2Fas4u
     
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