This years Nissan Leaf has battery issues

March 16, 2011 by Katie Gatto, weblog

( -- Only an extremely small amount of new cars go from the lot to the road without owners having some kind of problems. It seems that one part or another will invariably cause problems. As it turns out electric cars are no exception to this rule, and the Nissan Leaf is here to prove it.

Like most new car issues the problem at hand is only effecting a small amount of users thus far, but several reports of the cars simply running out of battery with little to no warning have occurred in the 2011 model year. The stories all go a little something like this:

The owner of one of these new Leaf's will be driving along, usually on a highway, and they will get a notice that they are low on . You will get an estimated number of miles left from the on-board . Whether you stay on the highway, or move onto less populated roads to get to your destination quicker, the car will up and die within the next five minuets, with no extra warnings to give you an indication that you are not going to make it home. There you sit, stranded on the side of the road, unable to even turn your car off.

It's not exactly a pleasant scenario, but it is happening. Many of the stranded are asking the same question. Why is this happening to me?

Well, it seems that according to the company, you are looking at the wrong gauge. The miles left is an estimate, and cannot be relied upon until your car gathers more data about how you drive. The simple solution is to look at the state of charge gauge, which should give you a more accurate reading. So as it turns out this one may be a mix of mechanical failure and human error.

Nissan LEAF Battery technology

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not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
that's their solution? blame the customer for the problem?
not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
If only the Leaf was as good as the presentation vid...
5 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2011
While I sympathise with the auto makers in the respect that car users need to know how much fuel/charge they have, and plan their travels accordingly, if there is no intuitive way of understanding how much further one can travel, as is the case with fuel-powered vehicles, then the vehicle has a flaw.

In this case, if the vehicle does provide information with which one can make those trip estimations, but that information is obfuscated by poor interface, then I'd say that the vehicle is flawed.
not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
When did Steve Jobs start working for Nissan?

Let me guess, "They are holding the steering wheel the wrong way."?

I never trust the estimated range given to me by a vehicle, but if you are going to provide that estimate you had better make sure its always an underestimate!
not rated yet Mar 16, 2011
My Passat has this for the gas mileage. It will go from 55 miles left to 35 in minutes. Like the article says, it may be that the estimated range is based on driving characteristics that are far more conservative than the actual drivers. It may be a fault with the car, but experience has shown me to never, ever, ever underestimate the stupidity of the average person.
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
Maybe it's mentality.

How many of us, drivers, look at the estimate Km and not the gas gauge?

Some think because it has the Km left, and it's told them by a computer then it's correct. After all a computer never makes mistakes....

Maybe the interface should be improved as to not give that much importance to the Km left gauge but instead to the amount of charge left.

not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
I have owned cars that have both a gas gauge and miles left readout. The miles left readout was accurate, the gas gauge was nonlinear but accurate i.e. the gauge might move to half full when the tank is really 1/4 full, then move more rapidly as the remaining gas is used up, but you get used to it and it is predictable and useful. If the Leaf's miles remaining readout does not tally with it's charge ("gas") gauge then it is DEFECTIVE. Fix the car software.
not rated yet Mar 17, 2011
It's funny that the majority here assume the car is defective. I have no idea how it works or what the owners' manual says. I would bet my life savings that most people do not ever read the owners' manual. I've worked in technical support before. People can be really dumb. My own father has run out of gas a couple of times on his way to work. Lots of people do, even people who are experienced drivers and who are driving in an area they are familiar with. When introducing a totally new technology that people are not familiar with, do you expect all of them to be proficient and not make any mistakes? You could design the thing so that it will automatically drive to a charging station when needed and people would still find a way to mess it up. I'd be willing to bet that people are just having a hard time adapting to the limited range of an all-electric car and when they try to go beyond that limit they get stuck. Then because that's really embarassing they say that the gauge is bad.
not rated yet Mar 20, 2011
"The simple solution is to look at the state of charge gauge, which should give you a more accurate reading."

So, if they're saying the charge gauge is accurate, then why isn't their mileage estimate based off of that? It's almost like they said, "We have provided two gauges for you - one you can trust and the other you can't. So, look at the good one." What??
not rated yet Mar 21, 2011
So, if they're saying the charge gauge is accurate, then why isn't their mileage estimate based off of that?

Just like mileage in a gas engine, driving conditions will change the distance you can go. Is the wind going against you, are you driving up hill, are you driving 80 mph, are you stopping every block, did you just pick up your three teenage kids and groceries? If I was driving and the answer to all those questions was "no", and the milage guage said I have 30 miles remaining, then the answer to all those questions changes to "yes" in order for me to get to a charging station, then is it the guage's fault? ..or is my lack of planning to blame? Keep in mind that I'd be in the same trouble with a gas engine as well, in that case, but I could make my teenagers walk to get a can of gas with a gas engine. The electric car is getting towed. Ooops. That's when you realize you made a bad choice and try to blame the manufacturer who talked you into buying an electric car.

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