• Jul 17th 2010 at 12:31PM
  • 41
Carmakers don't typically ask prospective customers how long the warranty should be on their new car. That decision is usually made based on how much the manufacturer thinks longer warranty coverage will cost and what its competitors might be doing. However, as we enter the era of electrification we are dealing with a major new factor: the battery packs.

Nissan has priced its upcoming Leaf EV very aggressively, hoping to undercut the still-unpriced Chevrolet Volt. General Motors, on the other hand, is still being cagey about the Volt price but came out swinging with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery. Nissan quickly followed that up with a survey sent out to people who have signed up for the $99 Leaf reservation list to get their thoughts on battery warranties. So, how long do you think the battery warranty should be? Thanks to Chris for the tip!

How long should EV battery warranties be?
10 years / 150,000 miles 992 (45.3%)
8 years / 100,000 miles 979 (44.7%)
5 years / 60,000 miles 176 (8.0%)
3 years / 36,000 miles 28 (1.3%)
battery warranty doesn't matter 16 (0.7%)

[Source: LeafOwner.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      "I want my battery warranty to be 10 years and 200,000 miles. But don't raise the price that you have advertised. Okay?"

      It seems that Nissan has placed the cart before the horse by pricing the car LOW, LOW, LOW to get media hype and dealing with such petty things such as figuring out battery warranty coverage, revealing widely varying driving ranges, or demonstrating weird artificial sounds for what, in principle, is supposed to be a silent car (just to appease 0.01% of the vision-impaired population)...

      ...all AFTER you've convinced 15,000 or so people to sign up for the car.

      Isn't this precious.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a Volvo dealer and we offer 5yr/60k bumper-bumper AND 5yr/60k maintenance on our vehicles. This is a HUGE selling point to almost anyone who walks up on the lot.

      I filled out the survey and said 5yr/60k warranty as long as they also included the maintenance (probably next to none anyway). The Leaf is a car like every other and should be treated accordingly. If I buy a volt and the battery is warrantied for 8yrs but the ICE grenades after 3 (assuming 3yr bumper/bumper) then I'm out the cost for the new ICE. This is how it is with EVERY make. Warranty the drivetrain for a REASONABLE amount of time and if consumers want extra protection then sell them an extended warranty (no more than $1500 for up to 100k, which is also about what you'd pay for a volvo 100k warranty)

      This doesn't have to be a hot-button topic.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Nissan are, from the figures they have given on battery performance, pushing the limits a lot harder than is typical for cars.
        There battery is they say good for 6-7 years and perhaps 100,000 miles if used reasonably.
        Most car engines will do around 120,000 or so miles rather than the 60k under guarantee, and even a replacement engine does not cost $10k.
        Of course there are other parts on the ICE such as the transmission that can go, but especially for a new technology the risk balance seems adverse for the EV.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @David Martin

        For anyone looking at this as a V1 product with unknown risks - lease is the best option. No need to worry about the warranty and performance of a known degrading item.
        • 8 Months Ago
        A volvo dealer wants nissan to offer a short warranty because he wants to sell.... volvos.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I suspect that this survey is part of a marketing strategy that has nothing to do with actually considering buyers' responses, but rather with managing expectations in advance of their warranty announcement. Let's see if the actual warranty isn't the most generous one mentioned in the survey. At the very least, I don't see how they have any choice but to match the GM warranty.

      Besides that, I won't be surprised if five years is plenty of time for the price, range and weight of replacement battery packs to change significantly, all in the consumer's favor. I don't see how the actual cost calculations, for Nissan or the consumer, will amount to much in the end.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I think that the warranty should be tiered like the warranty for solar panels. After x years the car should have 90% of its range...x, 80%,....x, 70%. If it fails to achieve that level of performance, then replacement should be covered under warranty.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Incredibly stupid.
      First Nissan should not even ask the question. They are setting themselves up for a fall.

      There are no conditions on AutoblogGreen's poll so I voted 10 years. However if there were conditions such as so many increasing dollars per year of warranty then that might change.

      Nissan has already set their price and must have done so based on a particular warranty. Now if they don't meet pie-in-the-sky expectations they will look bad. By wording their poll in negative terms of consumer tolerance, they are at least being realistic, but still a very dangerous question to ask. How many responders will be brutally honest instead of responding with what they would wish?

      My best guess is that Nissan was planning on a 5yr/60k warranty and now they are fishing for consumers to state this is acceptable. Instead they now will have to meet GM's warranty of 8yr/100k or look like they do not have confidence in their battery.

      If Nissan just flat out said 5/60 then everyone would accept it, now consumers believe they have been given a chance to set policy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        OR they might be setting themselves up to succeed. They might know that their batteries are going to have the 10 year warrantee, and are just using this as clever tactic to say, "You told us you wanted a 10 year warrantee, and we listened. Here it is."

        You know, not everything has to be negative.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You have to think about the depreciation of the car.
        Who want to buy a used EV when you have to get a new battery which would cost more than the car itself?
        Since many cars get two or three owners, a 5yr/60k would not be enough to convince a second or third used car buyer...

      • 5 Years Ago
      There's going to be a few camps of people:

      Frugal camp: Drivers that will wait until their daily drive is longer than their range, forcing them to take extra time to either find opportunity charging, or quick-charge nearly every day.

      Average camp: drivers that will buy a new pack when the warranty runs out on their old one. Most likely due to pressure from their dealership, who points out that battery tech has gotten better, and for *only* $_,___ they can get a pack with 150 mile range instead of 100, with a longer warranty! Your car would be better than new!

      "I like toys" camp: Drivers that will upgrade their pack to the latest longer range chemistry as soon as it becomes available, regardless of what range they are still getting on their old pack. These are the same people that only use the iphone as a phone, but still get the latest version of it on release day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ABG & commenters - note that the survey is very long. Chris has only posted 3 of the 10 or so pages. There were questions about how much people are willing to pay for extended warranty etc.

      BTW, Volt's "low" warranty of 8 years makes it ineligible for AT-PZEV and $5,000 rebate in California. It is ironic that GM presented that as a great thing ... and was lapped up by the media.
        • 8 Months Ago
        AFAIK the battery warranty is not the only thing that prevents the Volt from qualifying for AT-PZEV rating.

        The pollution from the gas engine is likely to be slightly higher due to more starts and stops. This is a trade-off of economy vs pollution, and GM has decided that the AT-PZEV rating was not worth while.

        They did suggest that future generations of the Volt may achieve that rating. Future Volts will get a designed-for-Volt ICE instead of a variant of existing Cruze motor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't get it. Why would Nissan, a multi-million dollar corporation put out such an oversimplified questionnaire? It just doesn't make any sense
      • 5 Years Ago
      I too took the survey last night and agree with the majority of posters here that Nissan should match GMs warranty of 8 yrs./100K miles using a tiered structure for normal range deterioration. Hopefully by the time eight years rolls around there will be trade-in/resale opportunities in the secondary battery market to help offset the cost of purchasing a new battery.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My $0.03 worth is that it is probably a moot point. We already know that Nissan is developing a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode (whew!) battery, with even better range. My bet is that it will be available in 5 years. If so, as I told Nissan in the survey, I will likely trade in my original pack for the new one --whether or not it is still under warranty. We'll just have to see what options are available in 2016.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder how they managed to get accross the calendaric life time of the batteries....
      • 5 Years Ago
      A good warrantee would really show that Nissan believes in their technology. That would assuage customer fears.

      Go big Nissan. 10 years, 100,000 miles.
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