In 2016 I purchased a Nissan Leaf. Given the technological progress in electric vehicles, now it’s almost a joke but it had a 30kWh battery with around 110 miles of range. Including everything (tax, registration, etc.), it cost 44,142 dollars. My employer subsidized 10,000 and I received 7,500 federal and 2,500 state tax credits, so at that time I thought it was not a bad deal. 110 miles of range seemed enough to do daily chores, and for road trips we had been renting a gas-powered vehicle. This was our only vehicle in the household until 2020, when we bought a Tesla Model Y.
Over the years, the battery capacity of the Nissan Leaf had been depreciating, and these days the range is around 67-70 miles as we can see in the picture. The Nissan Leaf came with an 8 year/100,000 miles battery warranty, meaning that if the battery gauge loses four bars it would be replaced. That point came in December 2022, which is about 6 years after purchase. I brought the vehicle for service and the dealer ordered a new battery. At that point I was told it would take about 20 weeks (4-5 months) for the battery to arrive from Japan.
As Hiro said in the Thomas the Tank Engine film “Hero of the Rails”, I waited, waited, but the parts never came. It has already been 8 months since the battery was ordered, but I am still waiting. I think a problem with Nissan, or pretty much any traditional automaker, is that the manufacturer (Nissan) and the dealer (Mossy Nissan) are separate business entities and responsibilities are ambiguous. I suppose they are both interested in selling cars but not much interested in honoring warranty. The consumers may get the false sense of safety by hearing that the battery is covered for 8 years, but obviously Nissan doesn’t promise they will replace the battery within a day or a week or 4 months. Perhaps it will take 10 years. Maybe they are delaying on purpose to save money. But by doing so, they have just lost another customer.
With the kids’ schools, afterschool activities, and all the family playing tennis (sometimes twice a day), the range anxiety with Nissan Leaf has become too painful, so I have just bought my second Tesla. This time it’s a 2023 Model 3 with a 272 miles range. Including everything, it cost 43,731 dollars. I will get 7,500 federal and 7,500 state tax credits, which I think is a pretty good deal. In contrast to my dissatisfaction with Nissan, for now I am happy with Tesla. I drove my Model Y for over 60,000 miles now but I haven’t noticed any battery depreciation. The only maintenance cost I paid during the past three years are property taxes, insurance, replacing tires (once), and replacing the cabin air filter (once). No more need to waste a day bringing the car to the dealer for maintenance and hearing sales talks.
Until the battery arrives, the Nissan Leaf will stay in the garage. When my son gets his driver’s licence in a few months, it may be just good enough to commute to school, regardless of whether the battery arrives or not.