Ever since the Nissan LEAF rolled off the production lines and onto dealer lots back in 2010, LEAF owners around the world have begged Nissan to offer some form of battery replacement program, giving owners peace of mind that they wouldn’t be left with some expensive paperweight if and when their car’s battery pack ceased to hold a usable amount of charge.
Last year, Nissan put some owners at ease with the news that it would start a battery replacement program in the U.S. in exchange for a monthly, never-ending $100 battery lease fee. The problem with that, as many owners complained, was that they’d never actually own the battery pack. Stop paying the monthly payments, and the battery would head back to Nissan.
But today, that all changed with the news LEAF owners have been waiting for. When your LEAF’s battery pack reaches the end of its practical life, Nissan will sell you a brand new one for $5,499.
Not only that, but the new battery pack — compatible with all 2012 and 2013 model year cars as a drop-in replacement — will be made with Nissan’s latest 2015 model year battery technology. That’s the new, heat-resistant pack chemistry jokingly called the ‘lizard battery’ by many fans.
While we think this is pretty big news — we actually broke the story live on air on tonight’s show — Nissan hasn’t made a big song and dance of the news. Instead, Nissan spokesperson Brian Brockman quietly posted the news on the MyNissanLeaf owners’ forum. We’ve included the full text of his post at the bottom of this post.
Naturally, there are a few catches to this low, low price battery replacement deal. Firstly, you must be an owner of a Nissan LEAF (Nissan won’t sell you a pack without a valid VIN) and you have to be willing to trade in your car’s old battery pack to get the $5,499 price. In fact, Nissan won’t sell you a pack unless you’re willing to trade in your car’s old one, so put aside all those plans of turning your old LEAF battery pack into a solar panel backup system.
Finally, those with a first generation Nissan LEAF — that’s the 2011-2012 model year cars made in Japan — will need to pay extra on top of the battery pack for a special ‘battery fitting kit.’ That’s because while the 2011-2012 model years look the same as the 2013-2014 model years, there are some subtle differences in the way their battery packs and internal electrics are put together.
But if that means you get to give all-new performance and range to an old LEAF, we think that’s worth the extra money. Do you agree? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
I’m happy to be back to provide a long-awaited update on the Nissan LEAF battery replacement plan.
Last year, I posted preliminary details of the program that we’d created based on early survey data, and it led to spirited discussion (and very vocal criticism). So we went back to the drawing board with your comments and the ongoing guidance of the LEAF Advisory Board. Over the past year, we’ve used owner feedback to create a program we believe will better serve you and our other current drivers. Sorry we’ve been quiet on this topic. I hope you agree that it was worth the wait.
Battery replacements are now available for purchase at your certified Nissan LEAF dealers in the United States. The suggested retail price of the Nissan LEAF battery pack is $5,499. This price includes and requires a return of your original battery pack (valued at $1,000) to the dealer in exchange for the new battery. This price does not include tax, installation fees or an installation kit required for 2011 and 2012 vehicles. The MSRP for the installation kit (which includes brackets and other minor parts required to retrofit the newer pack to original vehicles) is approximately $225. Nissan expects the installation to take about three hours. However, dealers set the final pricing, so we recommend confirming with your local retailer.
We are also continuing to finalize details for a Nissan financing program for those who prefer an affordable monthly payment option, and we expect to keep that monthly payment in the $100 per month range. But to be clear, at the end of the finance terms, you own the battery. It is not a lease or rental. I will post more details here later this year when they are finalized, but we didn’t want to delay announcing the battery price itself any longer.
These replacement batteries are the same battery found in 2015 LEAF vehicles, which are also on sale now at Nissan dealers. As a replacement, this battery is expected to provide similar range and charging characteristics as the battery offered since the launch of the LEAF in 2010. Changes in battery chemistry, however, have been made in an effort to make the battery more durable in extremely hot climates. (So, yes…this is what you’ve been calling the “lizard” battery.) We knew it was important to early buyers to purchase the latest technology. Holding the replacement program until this summer meant we would be offering just that.
Replacement packs will carry similar warranty coverage as a new LEAF: 8 years/100,000 miles against defects and 5 years/60,000 miles against capacity loss.
Below is a bit more Q&A on the topic that you may find helpful.
Thank you all for your patience on this topic. We’ve been hard at work developing a plan driven by your feedback, and we hope you’re satisfied with the results.
Q. Will I own this battery outright?
A. Yes, unless you choose to finance the battery, in which case the finance company will have an interest in the battery until it is paid for in full.
Q. What happens to my old battery? Can I keep it?
A. No. The old battery must be exchanged for the new battery as a condition of the sale of the replacement battery, and Nissan’s suggested retail battery pricing reflects a $1,000 core value assigned to the battery. Nissan will ensure that the old battery is recycled and disposed of properly or possibly reused as part of our 4R Energy business.
Q. For resale, how can I prove that my car has a new battery?
A: Your certified Nissan LEAF dealer will provide you with a copy of the repair order showing your lithium-ion battery replacement at the time the replacement is made. If for any reason you do not receive it, ask your dealer for a copy. Additionally, any authorized Nissan dealer can confirm the battery replacement by reviewing the vehicle’s service history by authorized Nissan dealers which is maintained by VIN.
Q. Is the replacement battery compatible with all Nissan LEAF models?
A. All 2011 through 2015 LEAF models are currently compatible with the replacements being offered in this purchase program. However, a separate installation kit must be purchased at the customer’s expense for all 2011 and 2012 vehicles.
Q. Who qualifies for a replacement?
A. To be eligible to purchase a replacement battery, you must be a current LEAF owner, and you must agree to exchange your existing battery pack for the replacement battery. You must also read, acknowledge and sign a customer disclosure form and trade-in agreement. In order to allow for battery trade-in, and as a further condition of sale, customer must represent by signing the disclosure form that either (1) their LEAF vehicle and old lithium-ion battery are owned by customer free and clear of any liens and encumbrances; or (2) that any lender with a lien on the vehicle and/or original battery consents to the battery exchange. Customer must agree to assist Nissan in obtaining a signed consent from the lienholder.
Q. What are the terms of Nissan’s financing?
A: We plan to release the exact terms of the financing by the end of the year.
Q. Will you offer higher capacity batteries to upgrade my LEAF in the future?
A: Currently, we can only discuss the 24kWh LEAF pack. We are not making any announcements concerning larger potential battery pack sizes for future products at this time.
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