LEAF Battery capacity loss and battery life

Discussion in 'LEAF' started by jim, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

  2. Lucy

    Lucy New Member

    I have a 2011 Nissan Leaf purchased with 12500km and 12 capacity bars. 2 days after buying it lost a bar and dropped to 11. Today it lost another bar and now down to 10. It's only done 16000km. Is this expected? I only charge to 80%. 100% on days I need to. Drive in ECO mode 90% of the time etc.
  3. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    If you recently bought a 2011 LEAF with 12 bars, it's not surprising that it lost a bar. The 2nd bar might give some pause, though, depending on the length of time from losing the first.

    Still, from what I understand, the speed at which you lose bars won't be uniform. It may take a long time to lose the next, depending on environmental conditions and your charging patterns. Are you in a hot part of the country?

    The thing that seems to degrade the LEAF battery the most is heat. So, if you live in Phoenix it will degrade faster than if you live in Washington state. Or, if you use ChaDemo fast charging a lot, as opposed to charging at home. Out of an abundance of caution, one of our members here (@Lou Grinzo) I think charged his on a 110-volt circuit to keep the heat down during charging.

    As far as I know, driving in ECO mode won't extend the life of the battery. It supposed to just help get the most miles per charge.
  4. Lucy

    Lucy New Member

    Thank you for your quick reply. I live in New Zealand and the temp averages 20C. Lately it's been low teens and my temp bar only has 4 bars when usually it has 5. Heat isn't an issue with my battery. The SOH is 77.69% and AHr 50.96. It seems to lose .2% of SOH every 3 days or so. Only had 13 QCs too. I really hope it is a long time until I lose another bar. We are coming into winter here and the temp very rarely goes above 22C at the most.
  5. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I can't predict the future, but I think you should be ok. Certainly the climate where you are is pretty LEAF battery friendly. Time can also be a factor in lithium battery degradation, but I'm sure others probably have a better knowledge of exactly how much and what to expect.

    I would consider joining this Facebook group of New Zealand Nissan Leaf owners and asking what their experiences have been. As I understand it, LEAFs in New Zealand are generally bought used by way of Japan, and may be slightly different from the ones built in England and the U.S.

    Please let us know how things go, if you can.
  6. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    There is no way any 2011 Leaf anywhere still has 12 bars. There is a trick dealers do where they reset the computer which brings the display back to full bars so the battery looks in better shape than it really is. Then someone buys it and it loses three or four bars very fast. I don't know where you bought it but whoever you bought it from was trying to pull a fast one. It may not drop any more bars as the computer has had time to readjust itself. If the range works for you then you will probably be fine but I have read a lot of stories just like yours from people buying used Leafs.
  7. Paul K

    Paul K Member

    I note that even with the mileage showing, it still has all the capacity bars.
  8. Paul K

    Paul K Member

    Ssssshhhhhhhh! Don't tell my car. It's a 30kwh 2016 now at 30,000KM. Still have all my capacity bars. And with the temperature now going
    a little above freezing I seem to have all of my range back even with the winter tires.
  9. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Hopefully the cooler weather up there will help keep things under control.
  10. Paul K

    Paul K Member

    Should have put this post here instead of 2018 reviews. On the first hot day this year I drove my 2016 30kwh Leaf as fast as I dared on the freeway to see if I could raised the battery temp. Started out with 5 bars and still only at 5 when I reach my client. BUT after almost 2 hours at client's when I returned to the car there were now 6 bars showing. It looks like the wind underneath the car while moving managed to maintain the temperature but once the car was parked the remaining heat in the cells had no way to vent. Similar to ICE engines when you shut them off right after leaving the highway. The coolant temp really goes up.

    So I can see where this would be a problem on a high speed freeway run where one exits to top up at a DCFC. The residual heat build up plus the heat of charging would add up in a hurry I think. This is not my typical situation however and I still have all 12 SOH bars showing and with the warmer temps and the winter tires off I seem to have all my original range. (a tad over 200K around town and 160 to 170K at "moderate" highway speeds).

    I didn't pay much attention to temp bars the previous two summers but will watch them more carefully this year as the dog days of summer settle in and will report my findings. That is unless the 2018 I have placed a deposit on comes in.
    Domenick likes this.
  11. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I hadn't thought of that , but it makes sense. It's like a traditional engine. It will stay (relatively) cool, but when you turn it off, the heat continues to build with no coolant circulating and the fan turns off.
  12. buddyO

    buddyO New Member

    I had a 2013 Leaf (24kWh) that never lost a bar in 3 years. Loved it so much, I bought a 2016 (30kWh) and after 18K miles and 22 months, I'm down 3 bars. Only charges to 75-ish miles range. Took it to my dealer to check it out and like nothing was wrong, with a chipper voice, my service rep said, "Hey, everything checks out fine. You're good to pick up the Leaf." My response, "But what about the battery degradation?" He replies, "Nissan won't do anything until it's down 4 bars. You just have to tough it out." Really?? Nissan, through FB, said to message them directly with info, which I did. No response. I am now going to make it my mission to publicize this problem and Nissan's lack of abiltiy to address it and make good. It is a documented fact that Nissan knows about the problem. Nissan called me after my tweets and FB posts but reiterated that it the warranty is invoked when 4 bars are lost. I am so frustrated!!!

    I'm in San Diego, but it has not been that hot, so that shouldn't be an issue.
  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    This unfortunately seems to be typical; there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to why some Leafs experience little if any battery pack degradation, and others experience a significant amount. In your case I presume you had the same driving and charging pattern for both cars, so that's probably not the cause.

    Unfortunately there is some evidence that the 30 kWh Leaf's battery pack degrades significantly faster than the older 24 kWh packs, so sadly your experience probably isn't unusual. :(

    See: "Nissan LEAF 30-kWh Battery Degrades More Rapidly Than 24-kWh Pack"

    I don't know that it's as cut-and-dried as that article indicates; the trend shown in the article may be biased by a small sample size.

    But it certainly is a troubling issue.

  14. buddyO

    buddyO New Member

    I had posted that article to Nissan's FB page and referred to it while speaking with them, but they said that their warranty comes into effect when it hits four bars. Obviously, they don't consider this a defect. What's so frustrating is that they touted the greater range over my last Leaf and now a full charge yields fewer miles than that 2013 Leaf got after 3 years of use.

    I am trying to get Nissan to do something, but I imagine their logic is, "If I fix his, I'll have to fix all the others and that's too much money and bad publicity." I don't understand why their competitors haven't used this to move people to their cars.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It looks to me like many or perhaps even most Leaf "owners" (or lessees) are aware of the issue, or at least those informed enough to post about it on Internet forums are. A very common comment is "Well, that's why I'm just leasing the Leaf. If the battery pack goes bad, I can just trade it in." From what I've read, the vast majority of Leaf sales are leases.

    I admit I don't understand how that works for Nissan; a customer leasing a Leaf for only 2-3 years, and then Nissan has to sell it as a used car at a ruinous discount. Used Leafs are very cheap. How can Nissan make a profit that way?

    And yet, logically they must be making a profit, or they wouldn't sell so many of them worldwide.

    Color me confused! o_O

  16. Yanni

    Yanni New Member

    Hi Leaf owners!

    I'm trying to figure out if Nissan ever put liquid cooled batteries into any of their models? If so, what year did that start? I see that many, many people in hot climates have complained about the older models.

    I did see on some owners forum/website that in 2015 Nissan changed their temperature/control battery system to one called "lizard" but I couldn't figure out what, exactly, that means. I'm looking for a definitive answer. Talking with folks at Nissan dealership I get the run around with fancy lingo that I don't understand. I ask a question like "does the xyz car have a liquid cooled battery?" and I don't get a YES or a NO, I get Jabberwocky back. :-(

    Also--for folks with a 2015 Leaf--how much degradation have you experienced at this point (3-4 years out)?

  17. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    It's widely expected that Nissan will use a liquid-based temperature management system on the 60 kWh battery coming to the LEAF next year.

    Regarding the "lizard" designation, I believe that was meant to indicate it was more tolerant of heat.
    Yanni likes this.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'm not a Leaf owner, but I can answer some of your questions. This subject has been heavily discussed on EV forums.

    Nissan has never, ever put any active TMS (Thermal Management System) into any of its Leafs. Not liquid cooling, not even forced-air cooling. I don't know about older test market EVs from Nissan, but not the Leaf.

    A lot of sources -- including, reportedly, at least one of Nissan's suppliers -- are saying that the next generation Leaf will have two sizes of battery packs, and that the larger battery pack will have an active TMS, presumably with liquid cooling. But Nissan refuses to verify this, and (presuming it's true) we don't know when that will go into production.

    The so-called "lizard" battery pack was said to have improved battery cell chemistry which was claimed to be more heat resistant. (It still did not have an active TMS.) While the consensus is that this seems to be true, it was only a moderate improvement. It made the problem less frequent, but didn't actually solve the problem.

    * * * * *

    The above is a pretty well-established consensus of well-established fact and expert opinion. I'm now going to go beyond that to express my personal opinions, but I need to make a clear separation between the above well-established facts and/or well-sourced consensus opinions, vs. my personal (and perhaps minority) opinions below.

    It looks to me like Nissan chose the wrong battery manufacturer (NEC) to partner with when they formed a partnership/subsidiary, AESC, to make battery cells and packs for the Leaf. It looks like NEC has an inferior battery chemistry, and then Nissan compounded the problem by cheaping out and not using an active TMS. Note that Volkswagen's e-Golf also has no active TMS, but we don't see widespread reports of premature battery aging as we do with the Leaf. Apparently the e-Golf uses battery cells with better chemistry, more resistant to heat.

    Note further that recently Nissan tried to sell off AESC, but failed to do so... perhaps because nobody wanted to buy a battery maker with inferior technology. Note also that Nissan has turned to a more reputable battery maker, LG Chem, for batteries for the newer Leafs. We can hope the next generation of Leafs will be more resistant to premature battery aging, but we'll have to wait for at least a year or two to see if that comes true.

    Again, this section (below the * * * * * separater) is me expressing my personal opinions, not necessarily facts.

    Domenick and Yanni like this.
  19. Kenneth Bokor

    Kenneth Bokor Member

    Hi good points. However Nissan has sold off AESC and yes, they are all about cost savings. In order to build mass market quantities and keep pricing lower, something has to give. The e-NV200 in EU has active cooling, btw.

    I think the comparison with the e-Golf is viable, however VW has not made nearly as many Leafs globally as Nissan has, so the widespread reports would be lower than with the Leaf, since there are not as many e-Golfs out there as there are Leafs.

    You failed to highlight that the 2018 40kWh pack has newer chemistry again to assist in heat protection, however the verdict is still out on how effective this will be over the long run as we don't yet have any significant history for this pack. Have to wait a couple more years to see how it hold up.

    Also you failed to mention that even though we have cases of pack issues with the Leaf, the amount overall is relatively small versus the number of delivered Leafs on the road globally - over 340,000 Leafs sold since 2010 and even if we look at 1% issues, that is only 3400 world wide. There are recalls for all other manufacturers that dwarf this number alone. So let's put this into perspective. And I believe the issue rate to be lower than 1%. Otherwise, we would have had a recall or more mass reports of pack failures, than the few that we see posted on forums and the like.

    Plus, like all the other BEV manufacturers, Nissan has a warranty for the pack as well so I would believe that the vast majority of any issues reported would have been dealt with - maybe not as smooth as others would like - but nonetheless handled.

    This perception that Nissan has bad batteries and packs is just not the case and everything needs to be looked at from a wholistic viewpoint. Yes, they cheap out and don't offer active thermal management; that is purposeful as they see a market for this and obviously they are correct given the fact that the Leaf is the single largest BEV model sold globally. If the car was a bad as a few report, I would have thought sales would have tanked long ago.
    Yanni likes this.
  20. marshall

    marshall Member

    I would feel much better if I saw a large amount of hard data on the Leaf batteries. Plus, these batteries still haven't been on the road for ten to fifteen years yet.

    This is really the only data that I've seen so far. I looks to me that some folks have seen significant loss and others not so much.


    Nissan hasn't done themselves any favors by not releasing any data that they have collected so far on capacity loss of these vehicles.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    Yanni likes this.

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