Nissan LEAF Battery Warranty Repair: What’s Involved

Battery capacity loss — the usually slow, gradual reduction in how much energy a battery can store — is an everyday fact of electric vehicle ownership. In most situations however, it happens so gradually over time that you probably won’t notice it, even if your car covers large distances every year.

If your Nissan LEAF's capacity bars look this low, you'll need a new battery. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart)

If your Nissan LEAF’s capacity bars look this low, you’ll need a new battery. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart, from YouTube video)

More rapid capacity loss, which is often caused by excess heat, is more of a problem and is covered under your electric vehicle’s warranty to ensure you’re not left with a premature ageing battery pack.

But what happens if you’re an electric car owner whose battery pack has suffered dramatic battery capacity loss and your car’s maker has agreed to replace your battery free of charge under its battery warranty program?

Over the past few years, we’ve heard of the occasional electric car undergoing battery pack replacement, either because of manufacturing defects, recalls, or premature capacity loss. But we’ve never seen a video explaining exactly what happens — until now.

The new battery pack arrived from Japan without the external case. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart)

The new battery pack arrived from Japan without the external case. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart, from YouTube video)

Enter Californian Jonathan Stewart, whose 2011 Nissan LEAF’s lithium-ion battery had suffered some serious capacity degradation after just over 47,000 miles. Under Nissan’s retrospective Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty from last year, Nissan LEAF battery packs are warrantied against a capacity loss of 9 bars (approximately 70 per cent of the battery pack’s original capacity) for a period of 60 months or 60,000 miles. With eight bars of capacity remaining, translating to just 46 miles of range on a full charge, Jonathan’s LEAF well and truly qualified.

Thankfully, Jonathan documented the process as best he could in a very informative YouTube video.

While Jonathan wasn’t able to watch the process take place due to health and safety concerns, he did manage to talk to some of the service staff who were responsible for the swap.

Apparently, his replacement battery pack — a brand new, 2015 model year ‘lizard’ battery pack — arrived from Japan in a specially-designed package. Built with updated battery chemistry, the lizard packs are supposed to be more resistant to extreme heat, meaning they don’t lose their battery capacity as quickly in hot climates.

As the parts manager in the video explains, the battery pack for Jonathan’s car came without the external battery case, meaning the service centre had to follow some pretty careful high-voltage precautions when unpacking the battery.

Once unpacked, the battery was then inserted into the battery case from Jonathan’s car — after service technicians had removed the faulty pack, of course — and the new pack then fitted onto Jonathan’s car. As his car was a 2011 model, Jonathan said his car needed a special retrofit package to make the new battery fit, since Nissan subtly changed the battery pack design back in 2013 when it began production of the 2013 model year LEAF.

In the video, Jonathan shares some of the photographs snapped by the service staff of the swap. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart)

In the video, Jonathan shares some of the photographs snapped by the service staff of the swap. (Photo: Jonathan Stewart, from YouTube video)

Impressively, the service centre were able to replace the entire battery pack in less than a day, and Jonathan reports his new battery pack has made his beloved LEAF feel like a brand new car. Range is also far improved, back up to triple-digit figures on the car’s guessometer.

It’s also worth noting that while Nissan’s battery warranty only requires it to replace a low-capacity battery with one that has a battery capacity greater than 70 percent, Jonathan was treated to a brand new battery pack — something we’d guess Nissan will want to continue to keep its current LEAF owners happy.

And while there are very few LEAF owners in the world who have sent their cars in for a battery replacement, we’re happy to see that technical staff are well-versed, and well-trained, to make sure if your car needs this transplant it will be as quick and painless as possible.

Have you sent your car in for a battery replacement under warranty? How was your experience? Leave your stories in the Comments below.

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  • Surya

    This is great stuff. Nissan is making good on their promises. This should take care of most questions and negative feedback they got in the past.

    • vdiv

      A happy customer indeed! This is very encouraging.

  • Esl1999 .

    Wouldn’t it be great PR for a car company to change batteries at the 40-50,000 mile mark with new batteries. You can kill two birds with one stone.nA) Happy new car owner. Range issue is no longer a concern for a very long time.nB) Used battery pack goes into cheaper new EV model. Then, that car gets 2nd used battery pack at 45-55,000.nC) Really depleted batteries get recycled or used as cheap energy storage.nIn case your wondering, the first car has a little bit of cost built in to make up for the 2nd battery and let’s not forget that the cheaper model is getting a free battery pack so profit can be made there. Gigafactory plus my idea means EVers can rejoice.

  • Dennis Pascual

    Such a contrast to the experience that Kevin Sharpe’s been reporting with his Roadster and Tesla Europe.

  • MyLeaf

    This is NOT the 2015 model year u2018lizardu2019 battery pack u2014 These are being manufactured in Smyrna, TN. The date on the box label states 2013 not 2015. Also, the Part number is the old Battery part number.

  • Chirag

    My care lost the 9th bar just yesterday at 44K miles. I have been told that i will get a replacement. which will arrive in 4 to six weeks after that i can let everyone know. I did ask the service personal he said it will be the same kind of 2011 battery pack. It seems they have one issue every month.

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