Nissan Leaf start-up problems affecting unknown number of vehicles in U.S., Japan

2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

When you start up an electric car, the first thing a new EV driver notices is the silence. For some Nissan Leafs, though, things are a little too silent – as in, the car isn't starting at all.

According to a report in Reuters, Nissan is getting complaints that some Leafs randomly don't start, a problem caused by something in the air conditioning system. This is happening to an unknown number of Leafs in the U.S. and Japan. Spokesman Toshitake Inoshita told Reuters that the problem could be a particular component or a programming issue. Since there is no safety hazard – if the car doesn't start, how can it cause a problem? – for now, there are no plans to issue a recall. This might change once Nissan figures out what's wrong. You can read Nissan's official statement after the jump.

Meanwhile, Leaf owners are working on their own to identify the problem, and it appears the A/C unit is most certainly to blame, and often in conjunction with pre-cooling the car. If your Leaf dashboard flashes on a bunch of warning lights, don't do the first thing you think of and turn the car off, because that's when the real problems start. The short version, taken from the helpful Leaf drivers over at My Nissan Leaf, "if your car throws the exclamation point car error with the yellow triangle, don't turn it off, drive to your nearest dealer or risk requiring a tow."

[Source: Reuters, My Nissan Leaf via All Cars Electric]
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Nissan has recently become aware of an issue on a small number of Nissan LEAFs with a sensor in the air conditioning system. If this sensor is activated it will illuminate a warning light on the instrument panel and may cause the vehicle to not restart once it has been turned off. We are actively investigating to determine the root cause and what action is necessary to address the issue.

This is not a safety issue as the vehicle will not stop running while being driven but may not restart after being turned off. Nissan is committed to a high level of customer service and satisfaction and is working to promptly address this issue.

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