Apparently, some Nissan Leaf owners are finding the crispy weather in Phoenix, Arizona a bit too severe for the batteries in their electric cars.
The CBS affiliate in Phoenix reports that a growing number of the area's Leaf owners have lost large chunks of battery capacity, and the forums at MyNissanLeaf.com indicate that similar complaints have been recorded in other parts of Arizona, Texas and California. A table of battery capacity losses is being kept online here. We contacted Nissan regarding the issue of reduced capacity in hot climes and received this response from spokesman John Schilling:
Nissan North America Director of Product Planning Mark Perry said in a recent video, "Heat is definitely not a friend of batteries. But I'm talking about severe 130-, 140-degree Fahrenheit kind of heat... Don't park your Nissan Leaf – or any electric vehicle – where it's going to be more than 120 or 130 degrees."
"We are aware of the handful of customers that are concerned; we are studying their individual situations and experiences."
In the same video, which you can find embedded below, Perry says, "In just normal conditions, you don't have to worry about it." Thing is, "normal conditions" mean different things to different people, including those who live in Phoenix, Arizona, where daily high temperatures average over 100 degrees several months of the year.
According to CBS5, Nissan "does not consider the issue a problem" but is "investigating five complaints about the rapid loss of battery capacity... all of them in Arizona."
It's interesting to note that the issue of the Nissan Leaf battery's lack of an active thermal management solution was brought up way back in January of 2010. At the time, Nissan's Perry said, "We don't need thermal management in the U.S. ... We've gone on record saying that the pack has a 70 to 80 percent capacity after 10 years."
As you'll see in the video below, however, Nissan's warranty only covers the output of the Leaf's battery pack, not its capacity. Where that leaves heat-drenched Leaf owners remains to be seen. Scroll down for videos from both Nissan and CBS5.