Sunday, December 7, 2014

**UPDATE** The Saga of VIN #222; RESOLVED!!

A while back I wrote about a neighbor, Jennifer who purchased a used LEAF last Summer. It has 12 capacity bars and was a good deal. Not a great deal, mind you. Just a good deal.   She soon lost her first bar which we told her was likely to happen in the first year. Now keeping in mind the first bar represents a capacity nearly three times larger than the next several bars, it would not be extremely unusual for only a short period of time to pass before losing bar #2.

But the Pacific Northwest's weather is nearly tailor-made for battery health. Our climate is tempered by Puget Sound so its rarely very cold or very hot.  My first LEAF, VIN 258 built nearly the same time but having the advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest went 44,958 miles with all 12 capacity bars intact. At 57.11 ahr, it probably would have lasted all Winter before losing its first bar in mid Spring. So it had at least a few thousand miles to go.

But Jennifer's bars continued to disappear at the rate of nearly one per month! Something was not right.  Further digging found that this EXACT same car was reported as a 3 bar loser by its original owner in Southern CA back in November of 2013.

Obviously, someone was trying to pull a fast one here. She posted her dilemma on Facebook and we encouraged her to get the car inspected and research its history.  When the history of the car was reviewed it was immediately obvious that all was not as it was represented to be.

She was able to get it tested and guess what?? During the test, she LOST ANOTHER BAR!!


As a result, a new battery pack is on its way. It will  be a "Lizard" pack so it will be coming from Tennessee but the adapter kit is on back order and will take several weeks. She is in a loaner until then so looks like everything will work out for her and she will soon be driving a better car than she thought she was purchasing!

There still remains a question of how all of this even happened. How the depleted capacity bars were restored. Why she was not advised they had been restored. Who knew what and when?

Having been in the car business, car dealers have no more protection at auctions than we do, so its very much buyer beware. But in this case, the dealer, Tacoma Nissan should have been able to access the car's warranty history just like the dealer who is helping to get the warranty pack.  But auctions frequently have time limits, limited information in advance, etc. So it can be conceivable that Tacoma Nissan would have known very little in advance before bidding.

But they would have had ample time to have discovered the true nature of the car well before it was sold. The price they sold it for does not suggest they were open about the battery's degradation level. Either way, it is pretty obvious that laws need to be written that REQUIRES the true nature of the battery pack to be documented and accepted by the buyer.

Because this is such a new concept and still very much under the radar in most areas, we REALLY need to rely on you people to get the word out to your legislators.  The first post concerning this issue has links from Facebook and www.mynissanleaf.com detailing the history of the car.

Finally, this issue would have never come to life if not for the actions of several people.

Kudos to Jennifer, the Washingtonian who bought the car from Tacoma Nissan and alerted our Facebook group to her plight and also for completing the escalation process!

Kudos to Aaron (The Tech) for investigating the history and testing the car AND being insistent with Nissan who first stuck with the claim that the car had 12 capacity bars in Jan, 2013!

Kudos to Nissan Motor Corporation for having the insight to create the paper trail that allows us to know the true nature of the battery's health. It was the warranty history on the car that provided the proof to warrant the test needed to complete the escalation process.

and finally....

Kudos to Nissan of the Eastside  in Bellevue, WA for giving Jennifer the "proper" loaner while she waits for her new batteries


***EDIT***

Edited to update that it appears Jennifer will be getting the Lizard pack after all.  Normally, it would be OEM for the 2011/12 model year but as expected, the packs from Japan have apparently run out so she will be getting a better pack than the car was originally equipped.  As mentioned above, the Lizard pack requires a adapter kit to make it work. Some components of the 2011 pack were moved to the front of the car so the adapter is required.

Also want to make it clearer that the information surrounding this situation is still coming in. There is some details of the story that some parties to the story want to keep under wraps for the time being, so stay tuned. We will have more updates as they come in.

16 comments:

  1. Any idea why Nissan is going with an non-Lizard replacement? I was under the impression that, once the Lizard battery was shipping, all warranty replacement would be Lizards.

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    1. Probably to use up the stock of the old batteries to areas where the climate doesn't require the lizard battery. There was rumours that the first 2015 Leafs that came to Canada didn't have the lizard battery either.

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    2. Very might get a Lizard battery but pretty sure they were not part of the warranty process. Keep in mind; a Lizard battery would also require an adapter kit to work on a 2011. But with a 4-6 week shipping time, we are "guessing" a Japan origin

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    3. Battery is from Tennessee , 4-6wks is because some adapter parts are on back order ;)

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    4. Thanks for the clarification! This is even better although it appears the adapter required to make the pack fit is on backorder so will be a bit of a wait but definitely worth it!

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    5. As for Lizard replacements, I think that only applies with a purchased replacement battery. As with most warranties, the warrantor reserves the right the recondition/repair/replace at their discretion.

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    6. JP; you are correct but since the original Japan pack was only in a limited number of models undergoing a major reconfiguration after, there was only a few left for the warranty process and they have apparently run out so Jennifer will be getting a better pack than the car originally came with the Lizard pack. It has slightly more range and should last several years longer than her original pack especially since the pack will spend all its life for the foreseeable future in the Pacific Northwest

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. The question still remains, how did the capacity bars get reset to 12 bars?

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    1. There are more details to follow. I was waiting on them but other people wanted some info quicker, so I decided to post this and update the "legal" part of the story later. Hoping to get some legislators to act on this. Frequently litigation is the only thing that generates enough noise to get things moving. Hoping all that won't be necessary

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  4. There is a way to enter the diagnostic mode on the navigation screen. I don't remember how right of hand, but it's in the service manual and has also been discussed on mynissanleaf. Once in diagnostics, it is possible to reset the battery computer. It warns that it should only be reset when the battery pack is replaced. I'm sure it then takes a while for the computer to learn the new pack.

    My guess is that an unscrupulous dealer or wholesaler, or perhaps an unscrupulous owner, went into diagnostics and reset the battery computer. My belief is that this would then erase the history and the computer would start displaying all 12 bars at first. Then, as the computer learned the pack, it started dropping off capacity bars and will do so until it reads what it was reading before the reset. I've never tested my theory, but I believe it's the most likely explanation.

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    1. You are exactly right. I've heard from owners who have had that experience after their dealer reset their battery computer in an attempt to diagnose a problem.

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    2. This has been documented on MNL as well. I have to say, I am not at all comfortable as to why this occurs. What reason is there that prevents to pack from giving out its correct or "near" correct status after only a few charges? This is one of the questions I hope to get an answer for

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  5. How did the pack amp-hours read during this process?

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    1. Don't know. Not sure that she has ever used any monitoring device like LEAF Spy.

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    2. Never used leafspy. We have iPhones so we need a droid.

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