2011-2012 Nissan Leaf class-action lawsuit finally settled

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In 2012, a group of Nissan Leaf owners sued the automaker in a class-action lawsuit over the "wilting Leaf" issue. That describes the steadily decreasing battery capacity of the electric vehicle's battery pack, which didn't line up with drivers' expectations. At the time, Nissan said the lawsuit was without merit but the legal wranglings continued. A new, $24-million settlement will give Leaf owners a new (not repaired) battery if their current pack drops down to fewer than nine bars of energy capacity. There are also options for 90 days of free charging at some of the No Charge To Charge locations or, if they don't live near any of those, a $50 check.

One of the main complaints of the lawsuit was that the initial ads for the EV were less-than-clear, telling people the car could go 100 miles when fully charged but, and here's the problem, the automaker recommended that Leaf owners not charge their cars up all the way in hot climates. The class action suit was filed on behalf of Leaf owners in California and Arizona. It reads, in part:

Before purchase or lease, Nissan failed to disclose its own recommendations that owners avoid charging the battery beyond 80% in order to mitigate battery damage and failed to disclose that Nissan's estimated 100 mile range was based on a full charge battery, which is contrary to Nissan's own recommendation for battery charging.

Following early reports of the wilting problem in warm climates and the initial filing of the lawsuit, Nissan upgraded its battery warranty. It also improved the EV's battery chemistry. The class action suit says that it's this new chemistry that needs to go into any "wilting Leafs" that are affected by the suit. There's more information at the class-action site. Nissan told AutoblogGreen it does not typically discuss litigation.

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