This is Jeff from Nissan.
Today I'm bringing you a note from Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Company. In this letter, Andy addresses issues that you – LEAF owners and members of the mynissanleaf.com community – have brought to us through the forum, discussions and our dealers.
The first thing about this note is that it is formal, to say the least. I understand this, as does Andy. In his note to me earlier this morning, he said that it was “understandably formal”, but he asked if we could provide a more friendly and engaging introduction (that's what I'm attempting to do here). I hope that you can appreciate why the letter is in the more “formal” style. It has to be. We live in a world where every word is parsed and dissected by lawyers and regulators. Andy is addressing issues in this note that relate to regulated and contractual matters, issues that are regulated by hundreds of different organizations in the various countries where we sell the Nissan LEAF. That said, understand that Andy has signed this note.
The second thing about this note is what it is not. It is not a notice for any owner to take action at this time. In this letter, Andy announces changes to Nissan’s LEAF warranty coverage that will go into effect during the Spring of 2013. Why does it take so long to implement the changes? It will take time to formally notify each customer, as is necessary by regulation in most, if not all of the countries where we sell the LEAF. Also, we need to insure that every dealer is prepared to welcome and assist a customer when they arrive at the dealership.
Finally, in this note Andy does not attempt to address every question that you have raised. Foremost, he wants to announce the warranty changes that will be coming in the next few months. He realizes that there are other issues to address.
I want to take this opportunity to announce that we will host an open house in the Phoenix area on Tuesday, January 8th. I am working with Tim Gallagher, who I think most of the west coast MNL people know well, to arrange this event. I will come back to you shortly with the details, but you can count on Andy Palmer attending, as will Billy Hayes, the newly appointed Vice President of Global Sales for the Nissan LEAF. Tim, Dave Reuter and I also will be there. Just as a heads up, this may be a breakfast event due to the various schedules that we’re attempting to juggle. If so, we would start at around 8 or 8:30 a.m. Let me know your thoughts on that. Tentative location is the Valley Ho in Scottsdale. Tim will have a quick charger on hand for those who require it.
In line with the Phoenix event, Chelsea – as a part of her advisory board efforts – has asked a few member to help ensure that the right questions are asked. I believe that Tony Williams and Phil Sadow are among those she is working with on that topic.
I didn’t intend for this “introduction” to be so long, but I think that we had a number of issues to cover. Below is Andy’s note. I look forward to your comments on it, on the event and on other issues that you would like to bring to me.
Let me close with my best wishes to every one for a happy and health New Year.
Special announcement regarding the Nissan LEAF
from Andy Palmer, executive vice president, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Good morning and Happy Holidays to all our Nissan LEAF owners in the U.S. and abroad.
As we approach the close of 2012, I wanted to provide an update on a subject that has interested a number of Nissan LEAF drivers in the U.S. desert southwest and select other markets. I’m speaking, of course, about concerns regarding the rate of battery capacity loss in the Nissan LEAF’s Lithium-ion battery.
My comments today will be specific to Nissan LEAFs in the U.S., but the actions I will explain will apply and be specifically communicated to each owner worldwide in the coming months in accordance with applicable law.
Throughout the latter half of this year, our technical teams have worked diligently to ensure that the batteries installed in Nissan LEAFs were operating to specification. As we’ve gone through this process, we have listened to your concerns, and have communicated with you in various ways, including through the MyNissanLEAF owners’ forum and other third parties.
Nissan has been taking your concerns very seriously, yet we know that some of you have not been satisfied with the pace of our support activities. Since launch, the Nissan LEAF has garnered some of the highest customer advocacy of any vehicle in the Nissan lineup, so we understand the importance of maintaining and growing that advocacy. And the only way to do that is by earning a high level of customer trust in our product and our support of it.
Simply put, we want to take actions which will further improve our customers’ satisfaction with their Nissan LEAFs while demonstrating industry-leading confidence in the integrity of our battery system. Nissan is fully committed to the long-term viability of electric vehicles and we will continue to demonstrate that with action.
So today, we are announcing that we are enhancing the warranty coverage of the battery system that powers the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. With this action, Nissan becomes the first and only manufacturer in the automotive industry to provide limited warranty coverage for battery capacity loss for electric vehicles.
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.
A vehicle whose battery has nine remaining bars indicated on the gauge is retaining approximately 70 percent of its original battery capacity. This new limited warranty coverage remains subject to the other terms, conditions and exclusions of the Nissan New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty, which otherwise remain unchanged.
As previously mentioned, we are also looking at opportunities to improve the precision of the battery capacity gauge that displays remaining capacity in the LEAFs electric vehicle battery, and intend to have more to report on this topic in the New Year.
The specifics of this new limited warranty coverage will be communicated to each owner in a dedicated communication early next year. The expanded warranty coverage will apply in the United States to the upcoming Model Year 2013 Nissan LEAF upon its release. Importantly, Nissan will provide this expanded coverage to all model year 2011 and 2012 Nissan LEAFs sold and distributed by Nissan in the United States to date, effective upon a date to be announced but which is anticipated to be in the Spring of 2013.
Our actions today are intended to put customer minds at ease regarding the topic of battery capacity loss. Even though it is expected the great majority of owners will never have to use this enhanced warranty, we want each Nissan LEAF owner to have the security that should capacity loss exceed this defined threshold, Nissan will cover the repair or replacement of their battery under warranty.
I’m certain that there will be questions regarding the specifics of what we’ve announced here today. The attached ‘Q&A’ is intended to address some of those, although our dialogue on this subject will not end here. We intend to continue communicating with LEAF owners and we hope to add more information early in the New Year.
Also, many of you may have heard about or already read a recent LEAF customer survey that Plug-In America (PIA) administered. The survey, available here, is a valuable read for any LEAF owner concerned about the performance of their electric vehicle battery. I would encourage every LEAF owner to digest PIA’s data, which came from over 240 vehicles, with contributions from over 25 states, two Canadian provinces, and the UK, representing over 3 million miles driven.
Finally, in early January, we will also announce the details of the new, model year 2013 Nissan LEAF for the U.S. As many of you know, this vehicle – and the batteries that power it – will be built right here in the United States at our plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. There are exciting changes coming with the 2013 Nissan LEAF, and we can’t wait to tell you about them very soon.
In the meantime, Happy New Year to each of you, and thank you again for your advocacy and support of the electric vehicle movement.
Executive Vice President – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.