Nissan defends Leaf over claims buyers were misled

Published 05 July 2018

Nissan has hit back at reports that owners of the electric Leaf were misled about charging times.

According to a report by the BBC, prospective buyers were told they could use rapid chargers at motorway service stations to charge the battery to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes. This was later changed to between 40 and 60 minutes.

>>>Nissan embroiled in new emissions scandal

However, some drivers claim that Nissan didn't make it clear that, if you try to use rapid chargers twice in one day, the second charge could take several hours. Now the car manufacturer has responded saying that this is essential to preserve the battery.

'The 2018 Nissan Leaf has charging safeguards to protect the battery during repeated fast charging sessions in a short period of time,' said Nissan in a statement.

"If Nissan at the start had said what the car is capable of, without exaggerating the fact on their website, I'd have been fine with it" 

'While the safeguards may increase charging times after multiple fast charging sessions, they are important to maintaining battery life over an extended time period.'

John Weatherley told the BBC that he had to wait two-and-a-half hours to charge his Leaf for a second time during a 300 mile trip to the Lake District.

"If Nissan at the start had said what the car is capable of, without exaggerating the fact on their website, I'd have been fine with it," he said.

"They said they could charge in 40 to 60 minutes, so I believed them. But it's not true. The advertising is totally misleading."

Weatherley discovered that rapid charging was only intended for use once in a journey when he wrote to Nissan to complain.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is reportedly looking into the claims that buyers have been misled, but the industry body has refused to confirm whether this is the case.

The Nissan Leaf has a claimed 235-mile range following on electric charge, but some owners are also unhappy that this range is unrealistic. It comes as the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles continues to rocket - despite HonestJohn.co.uk data revealing that ninety-eight per cent of hybrid cars can't match their advertised MPG.

Nissan has admitted to falsifying emission and fuel economy data at its factories in Japan. The admission was made after the carmaker participated in a voluntary internal inspection of working procedures at its factories.

Comments

Andrew Waterer    on 5 July 2018

Nissan know exactly what they are doing. The 30KW Leaf has very real and documented issues with battery degradation (much worse than the 24KW Leaf). This means a material loss of range within 3 or 4 years which is a big problem as the battery cells fail. Battery replacement is expensive. The issue is caused by the lack of a Thermal Management System (TMS) to cool the batteries when they are fast charging or on hot days or when driven faster. So they have introduced software that throttles super charging on the new 40KW Leaf, if the battery is too hot (so if you drive fast (70 mph) on a hot day this will happen or if you have already fast charged the battery once). They are trying to limit what will be a serious warranty financial liability in no time (30KW issues but perhaps otherwise 33% worse) by strangling rapid charging using their software. The 2019 model is rumoured to be a 60 KW battery BUT also has a Thermal Management System = a battery cooling system. Tesla and other players in EV have a TMS to protect battery life, range and avoid murdering journey times (a very big issue on the American market). So...Nissan know exactly what they are doing - making sure they don't drown in expensive battery warranty claims but short-changing 40KW owners who will see the value of their cars free-fall as people realise how limited this model is (its worse than the 30KW version for journey times if your battery is hot) and perhaps a cynical "stop gap" car for Nissan who didnt want to rush the launch of the more expensive 60KW version with the all important TMS.

Check out the very active Twitter hashtag #rapidgate
twitter.com/hashtag/rapidgate?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoog...g

Edited by Andrew Waterer on 05/07/2018 at 19:21

Max Gomila    on 5 July 2018

I did not know about these limitations. They put me off buying an electric car.

This information would definitely affect my decision on whether to buy a Nissan Leaf or not.

How much battery lifespan is lost if rapid charging is used?
It sounds like it must hurt the battery quite a bit.

How often can rapid charging be used without hurting the battery too much? Once a week?

NeedToCharge.com    on 6 July 2018

I did not know about these limitations. They put me off buying an electric car.

This shouldn't put you off buying an electric car, it should just put you off buying a Nissan Leaf.

Manufacturers have a choice of how to handle this sort of thing when designing a car. Nissan chose to protect the battery by limiting your charging of it. Other manufacturers (such as BMW) designed the battery charging to support rapid charging without limitations by using thermal management of the battery (to cool or warm it as appropriate). That way the battery is protected and the user can charge at full speed.

Barry Precious    on 5 July 2018

Great car, had none of these problems but not driven more than 100 mile trips in it. Realistic range is about 160 miles unless motorway and then drop to about 115. Overall though, greatly improved over original and very nice to drive. Tekna well equipped.

Andrew Waterer    on 8 July 2018

Thanks Barry, this is a great car for lots of folks who dont need range, but not if you want to do longer journeys by motorway. The issue is motorway speeds eat range (and who wants to be stuck in the slow lane at 60 for hours on end?), as do hills, very cold days and very hot days. So a motorway journey with two lots of 115 miles or 230 miles is the real limitation here and why rapidgate is limiting time wise for anyone travellling any real distance occasionally or regularly. I just cannot understand why Nissan left out the TMS on this great car, given the issues with battery degradation on the 30KW Leaf, prefering to make their customers suffer extended charging times with their charge throttling software.

   on 6 July 2018

I would second Barry's comment. I have done 2000 miles in 2 months. I regularly rapid charge, but have never needed to rapid charge twice in a day. I get about 170 per charge. If going on a long trip I would start with a full charge from home charger. Rapid Charge at about 150 miles giving me a range of 320 miles. Enough to get me from London to the Scottish border. This would be such a rarity if I had to wait 2 hours to charge it would not bother me that much.

My first 1000 miles cost me under £10 due to free chargers. The second has been more because local rapid charger now costs. But still it has come in at £50.

I have been so impressed with the Leaf. It's semi autominous driving, great cameras allowing me to get into parking spots I would never have attempted before, and the epedal. Anyone critising the car just can't of driven it.

Sure it is not perfect but welcome to the future....


davethesteam    on 9 July 2018

I would second Barry's comment. I have done 2000 miles in 2 months. I regularly rapid charge, but have never needed to rapid charge twice in a day. I get about 170 per charge. If going on a long trip I would start with a full charge from home charger. Rapid Charge at about 150 miles giving me a range of 320 miles. Enough to get me from London to the Scottish border. This would be such a rarity if I had to wait 2 hours to charge it would not bother me that much. My first 1000 miles cost me under £10 due to free chargers. The second has been more because local rapid charger now costs. But still it has come in at £50. I have been so impressed with the Leaf. It's semi autominous driving, great cameras allowing me to get into parking spots I would never have attempted before, and the epedal. Anyone critising the car just can't of driven it. Sure it is not perfect but welcome to the future....

I have considered an EV - the Leaf in particular being the only EV in my price range witha class leading range. Howvere, that range (as any EV) is totally useless to me - I will reconsider when ranges top my diesel of 500miles plus per charge (tankful).
I am also unsure what the tarrifs are at the rapid charging stations - I'll bet it ain't cheap

Wyatt Earp    on 6 July 2018

Can't understand why he needed 2 rapid charges
for 300 miles trip? Was the car not fully charged
when he set off?

Brit_in_Germany    on 6 July 2018

Wyatt, it would make sense to charge close to the final destination if the charging situation at the destination were unknown, hence a second slurp.

Wyatt Earp    on 6 July 2018

Good point I always plan my trips so I know where charge points

are at my destination. What I couldn't understand was why his range

was so low? I'm still interested in 1 though

bernardric    on 6 July 2018

Many thanks for this information Andrew. I'll stick with my smell (65MPG - if my wife's driving) diesel.

And to think I was mocked recently after saying that for our regular300+ trip to relatives we needed greater range for an electric car to be viable.

Vpx    on 6 July 2018

Nissan need to reconsider their comments and join the 21st century

Battery preservation it may be but it is clear that other EVs are not needing to do this. And today, if a petrol car shipped without a radiator fan, it would be considered a design fail and there would be a recall. Cooling has been part of car design for decades and not in as way that tells consumers they should have expected it after less than 200 miles done.

This could easily turn into a slow burn class action lawsuit, which they could nip in the bud if they wanted to take action now on the name of good customer service.

BMW Enthusiast    on 6 July 2018

Electric cars are a total false economy. Useless for high mileage drivers and very expensive for low mileage drivers.

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

More and more is based on politics, and less on common sense and good engineering logic.

Dorset123    on 8 July 2018

And we are told these things are the future god help us !

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

The fundernental technolgy is not advanced enough.

DrTeeth    on 9 July 2018

When is somebody going to do an impact study on the use of an increasing number of these cars on the increased production of pollution at power stations?

When the time comes to replace the batteries, it will be so expensive that the car will have to be scrapped according to HJ. That environmental impact also needs to be addressed.

Electric vehicles are just snake oil for the scientifically challenged. I am keeping my pre-DPF Merc v6 until it dies. It is 10 years old and still perfect.

NeedToCharge.com    on 9 July 2018

An electric car doesn't care where the electricity comes from that you put in it. Many people opt for the electricity to come from 100% renewable sources - e.g. Ecotricity when using public charging, or one of the numerous residential providers for home charging that are 100% renewable.

Then you've got to consider that producing petrol is very electricity intensive - the refineries have their own electricity substation (and you get no say where that electricity comes from, and how dirty it is). Then they need to transport the fuel to filling stations using tankers etc. Then, after all that, you very inefficiently need to burn the fuel in a combustion engine.

Then of course you need to consider that if there is any pollution caused by creating electricity, then it's not where you walk and your kids play in the towns and cities, unlike combustion entines.

If you're thinking about the life of batteries... I suspect the same battery will be going much longer than most combustion engines. It's not unreasable to expect a battery and motor to last half to a million miles. And then the batteries aren't scrapped, they're repurposed, and if you want you can swap in another battery.

And even if it wasn't for the fact that it's a lot cleaner than a combustion engine car, the performance is a huge step up. I was sad to let my 5.0 XKR go... but the i3 is just so much quicker, I've never looked back.

Edited by NeedToCharge.com on 09/07/2018 at 17:23

Nick Allen    on 9 July 2018

Any one who thinks batteries will last a million miles is living in cloud cuckoo land,ev's are just toys to go shopping in.

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

Renewable sources infrastructure has to be manufactured, and because thses devices are low energy density, you need a lot of them. You made no considereation of the rescources required to produce this political correct nonsense.

aethelwulf    on 9 July 2018

I always thought these cars were toys and this has not changed my views. I reckon those that buy them have money to burn or get someone else to pay. They are not a viable alternative to a proper petrol engine car of reasonable size a economy. Any of the Kia range are perfect.
i would not be willing to spend such a large amount of my money on a test bed of a car and that goes for all electric cars.
Hybrids do warrant some consideration as my neighbor owns a Prius taxi and it is proving very robust and economical. the way to go next time I change cars.(ensure it is a reliable make with long warranty)

NeedToCharge.com    on 9 July 2018

As something of a petrol head, I switched to a bmw i3 and have never looked back. I can honestly not find a single reason to buy a diesel/petrol car. They're so much more expensive to own and maintain, and so much less reliable.

Don't judge all electric cars by a single make/model, just as I don't assume all combustion engine cars are the same as a robin reliant.

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

From 34k for a little thing like that? No thanks.

NeedToCharge.com    on 12 July 2018

Remember the government will give you £4,500 towards it, and then remember you don't have the costs of fuel, there's significantly less maintenance, they last longer, there's no road tax etc.

You can't just compare list price.

Senexdriver    on 9 July 2018

I’m happy for everybody to keep buying electric cars. That way, by the time I can no longer buy an ICE powered vehicle the technology will have improved and my money will have less chance of being wasted. There was a time when the bodywork on all metal cars rusted within 4 years from purchase and it became a matter of patching up until the car would no longer pass an MOT test due to rust. That is almost unheard of these days and electric vehicle technology will evolve similarly, I’m sure.

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

It's going to need some major step-changes in technology.

Trevor G Jones    on 9 July 2018

I would have thought that if NeedToCharge.com was something of a petrol head he would know that it should be a Reliant Robin.

NeedToCharge.com    on 9 July 2018

Sorry - they were before my time - my first motor was a Fiat Uno at the ripe old age of 17. Not a petrol head car still I grant you, but never really saw any Reliant Robins on the road.

i3 Driver    on 9 July 2018

I also am a bit of a petrol head and I also bought an i3 range extender, in 23000 miles I have used the extender three times. I can also honestly say I would never buy a petrol or diesel vehicle again as a main car. Over four years i should save more than £8000 on fuel, pay no car tax , saved my company £6000 in company tax and used my solar panels to provide 20-30% of the electricity needed for free.

Its not the vehicles which are the problem it is the public charging infrastructure, on long journeys arriving at a point to find it is not working is a real issue. This is why the range extender sadly is in my view a must have option allowing a 300 mile journey with one stop to fill the massive 9 litre fuel tank.

This car is not going to cost me more than a 1 series ICE but it is a much nicer car to be in.

NickNike    on 12 July 2018

You still have to pay for solar cells and how much has the electricity cost you? You don't say. Still a lot of money for a small car..

Pembroke    on 9 July 2018

Why are all electric vehicle manufacturers not getting together and using the same easy change battery cells for their cars? It would then be a simple procedure to pull into a facility, that could also be your local garage forecourt and change out the flat battery for a fully charged one. You could then be on your way while the garage recharges your battery for the next customer.

That way every forecourt in the land would be able to accomodate every type of vehicle whether electric, petrol, diesel or LPG and there would be no need to hang around to charge a vehicle, or indeed charge it up outside your house with the inherent danger to pedestrians or having the cable stolen for it's metal content.


soldierboy000    on 9 July 2018

This sort of thing would hinder the indivdual design of each vehicle and chassis.

Alsn Palmer    on 9 July 2018

For the oast two years, I've averaged about 650 miles per month in my 24kw Leaf. I've never used any but my home charger and 5 days out of 7 I usually charge just to 80%.
I've a strong feeling I'll get a long life out of its battery.
Meanwhile, I'm saving about £1200 a year on running costs. I bought it with 1800 miles on the clock at about 50% of the original price, so depreciation is not a big worry

What's not to like?

Malcolm Lewis    on 9 July 2018

Something that many comments here seem to fail to address is the cost of leasing/replacing batteries.
I am far from convinced that either the cost or the running costs of a Leaf are a feasible proposition.
And to any prospective buyers- just wait until you see your electricity bills! An acquaintance of mine has just bought a Tesla. His bills have rocketed by nearly as much as he was spending on diesel-admittedly before the recent price hikes.
From a personal view my AUDI A8 regularly achieves 40+ mpg with ease so on 8000 miles a year I spend less than the cost of leasing a Leaf battery on fuel.
One day a realistic solution will be found to replacing ICE cars but I really do not think electric cars are it.

NeedToCharge.com    on 9 July 2018

I think Renault is the only company that treats the batteries separately (and therefore you have to lease/buy it) - I don't think any others do. In my mind, treating it separately makes no sense at all - they're just adding complexity.

Electricity costs are pretty easy to work out. My i3 does around 120 miles on average of a full charge, and it's about 28 kWh battery, and my electricy company when charging at home charge me 12p/kWh, so that's 28 x £0.12 = £3.36 for a full charge from empty to cover on average 120 miles, or 2.8p/mile. If you're doing 8,000 miles a year, that would be around £224 if you charge only at home.

In reality though I charge when I go to the supermarket, or when I park the car, and that's usually free, so it would be a lot less than that.

A 40mpg car would require 200 gallons to drive 8,000 miles, which is 909 litres. With disel at around £1.30/litre, that's £1181 a year. That would get you over 35,000 miles in an EV.

Then consider all the tax benefits, and the fact that there's a lot less maintainance - there's no gears so no transmission to go wrong, rarely if ever have to replace brake disks/pads, no congestion charge, vehicle tax etc.... and above all that, it's a lot of fun to drive.

soldierboy000    on 9 July 2018

Looks like the Apple story in an Ev by Nissan.

ROB BURROWS    on 15 August 2018

I'm issuing a Letter Before Action to the dealer as I said what I wanted the 2018 Leaf for and was mislead.The brochure made no reference to #rapidgate. IS anyone else taking legal action?

Add a comment

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car

Amount to borrow
Sorry. The minimum loan amount is £1000
To pay back over

My credit score

Best available rate 9.20%

Total repayment £9,304.93

Total cost of credit £1,804.93

£155.08

60 monthly payments

Apply now

Representative example

The Representative APR is 13.2% (fixed) so if you borrow £7,500 over 4 years at a rate of 13.2% p.a (fixed) you will repay £199.21 per month and repay £9562.20 in total.

CarFinance 247 Limited is acting as an independent credit broker