Perhaps this is where some of that excess battery manufacturing capacity in Smyrna, TN will be used. Nissan announced a new battery replacement program for the all-electric Leaf today at a cost of "approximately $100 per month." The offer is in addition to the standard Leaf battery warranty that already covers the battery for against defects for eight years or 100,000 miles (and was upgraded late last year to cover capacity loss for five years or 60,000 miles).
Here's how it works. At any time, like when the warranty is about to end – so, at 4 years, 11 months or 59,999 miles – or even after the warranty ends, a Nissan Leaf owner can sign up for the battery replacement program. At that point, you start paying $100 a month (or whatever the final cost will be) and immediately get a new battery pack that has a full 12 bars of capacity.
Even after the warranty ends, a Nissan Leaf owner can sign up for the battery replacement program.
Nissan's senior manager of corporate communications, Brian Brockman, told AutoblogGreen that "Owners can opt in at any time. When they opt into the program, they will receive a new battery pack with the latest available technology that is compatible with their vehicle. Then, Nissan provides assurance that the replacement pack will maintain 9 bars or more capacity for the time that they own their car and make monthly payments. If their battery drops below 9 bars, we will repair or replace the battery pack."
So, basically, the new program provides a reasonably priced piece of mind to Leaf owners. On top of that, anyone with an older Leaf who wants to take advantage of newer technology (as long as it's compatible) can get a newer pack using this program. So, if you buy a used 2012 Leaf today but want a 2015 battery pack in a few years (should it fit in the car) you can get one for $100 a month. This cost is transferable to the new owner if you later sell the car.
Which brings up the questions about what happens If you stop paying after, say, six months. Brockman said the situation would be similar to what happens to anyone who stops paying their car loan and Nissan is currently trying to determine "if there is an end point" to the payments. We'll know even more when Nissan releases more information "later this year," including how the program will work outside the US, and there are also more details below.
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Nissan says it asked Leaf owners around the world what they wanted to see in a battery replacement program, and a small monthly charge was the winning option. The key security they wanted was a guarantee that the battery will maintain a certain capacity level. The current Leaf battery warranty kicks in if the capacity drops below approximately 70 percent. Specifically, here's how Nissan describes the new program:
All Leaf batteries installed under this program will enjoy coverage similar to the terms of standard battery coverage under the Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty and be assured to maintain at least 9 bars capacity, or approximately 70 percent and protection from defects in materials or workmanship for the time they own their Leaf and remain in the battery program. If necessary, Nissan will replace the battery with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of 9 bars, much like the existing expanded battery capacity warranty.
If that sounds familiar, then perhaps you are thinking of the details of the expanded battery warranty from December:
Basically, what Nissan's offering here are three levels of security (defect warranty, capacity warranty, replacement program) with its still-new EV.
Under an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, Nissan will protect against capacity loss in Leaf batteries that fall below nine bars, of the available 12 bars displayed on the vehicle's battery capacity gauge, for the first five years or 60,000 miles in the United States, whichever comes first. For Leaf vehicles whose batteries have fallen below nine bars during this period, Nissan will repair or replace the battery under warranty with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of nine bars.
The replacement program is a bit of a change of heart from Nissan, which used to proudly say that the Leaf packs might need some maintenance or individual module swaps, but not a full replacement. Nissan's Erik Gottfried, the director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, said in a statement that "the great majority of our current LEAF drivers will never need this battery replacement option" but at least it's available. Who's going to sign up?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan, the world leader in zero-emission vehicles, today announced plans to offer a battery replacement program for U.S. LEAF customers who wish to replace their original equipment, lithium-ion battery pack.
The program, which will begin during the first half of 2014, will work in tandem with the Nissan standard battery warranty for LEAF – which includes industry-leading five-year, 60,000 mile coverage against battery capacity loss (below approximately 70%) and 8 years/100,000 miles against defects – to provide multiple layers of assurance for electric vehicle owners.
Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing, said: "Nissan anticipates that the great majority of our current LEAF drivers will never need this battery replacement option. However, this program is yet another example of Nissan's commitment to deliver peace of mind for our continually growing community of LEAF drivers."
Nissan conducted a global survey of LEAF owners and prospective electric vehicle customers and reviewed publicly available industry data to help shape the replacement proposal. Owners and prospective owners voiced a preference for a monthly payment program, and that they wanted assurances that the battery will maintain its capacity at a certain level.
"Technology is evolving and battery prices are projected to decline as EVs become increasingly mainstream," said Gottfried. "Therefore, this new battery program today affords more flexibility for the future so that customers can both upgrade to the latest available technology for their LEAF and enjoy more predictable vehicle operating costs."
The battery replacement option is being modeled after aspects of both competitor and Nissan Europe battery leasing programs. The majority of the EVs bought in Europe involve battery leasing separate from the vehicle.
All LEAF batteries installed under this program will enjoy coverage similar to the terms of standard battery coverage under the Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty and be assured to maintain at least 9 bars capacity, or approximately 70 percent and protection from defects in materials or workmanship for the time they own their LEAF and remain in the battery program. If necessary, Nissan will replace the battery with a new or remanufactured battery to restore capacity at or above a minimum of 9 bars, much like the existing expanded battery capacity warranty.
The Nissan LEAF battery replacement program pricing is consistent with Europe and will be approximately $100 per month. The replacement program will officially launch during the first half of 2014, and all Nissan LEAF vehicles will be eligible. It will be administered by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation.
"The battery replacement option will provide the peace of mind that customers have an economical option should they choose to replace the battery for whatever reason," says Gottfried.
Nissan will announce additional details of the battery replacement program later this year, including other global markets.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 267,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.