Nissan LEAF battery more reliable then combustion engines

Statistics show that the Nissan LEAF battery is more reliable than an internal combustion engine. Warranty records reveal that only 3 batteries have failed out of more than 35,000 cars sold in the European market. That’s a failure rate of just 0.01%.

That average is calculated only for Nissan LEAF vehicles registered with Car Wings, Nissan’s software that connects their cars to owners’ smart phones. Approximately 54% of European customers have enrolled in the Car Wings program. By contrast, the failure rate of internal combustion engines during the same time period, according to Warranty Direct, is 0.225%.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, director of electric vehicles for Nissan in Europe, says, “The facts speak for themselves. The rate of battery faults in our vehicles is negligible, even the most ardent critic cannot argue with that. The battery technology is just part of our success story. With over 165,000 customers globally, it’s clear that we’re not the only people who are thrilled by the success of this state of the art technology.”

That state of the art technology includes only 4 main components – the on-board charger, inverter, motor and battery. Such simplicity helps make the Nissan LEAF about 40 percent cheaper to maintain than cars with internal combustion engines.

The Nissan LEAF is enjoying remarkable sales success. There are now more than 165,000 around the world, including 75,000 or more in the US. 2014 saw a 33% increase in global sales for the car. And it has shown itself to be reliable, as we reported recently in a story about a LEAF that has accumulated more than 77,000 in 4 years of driving. They are being used reliably as taxis in various locations around the world as well.

The one caveat we would make is that, as with all statistics, one must be careful to understand the data that goes in to any statistical analysis. The conclusion that Nissan draws excludes 46% of the cars sold in Europe. It also does not address battery failure after the warranty period expires. Early LEAF cars had higher than expected range degradation, as we reported last week.

This is not to say that the LEAF is not reliable. It is. But if one is considering buying a used example of the car, it is wise to know some of the potential pitfalls to avoid purchasing a car that may have a troublesome battery, just as it is important to know what to watch out for when buying a used car with an internal combustion engine. On balance, the LEAF can legitimately claim to be more reliable and cost less to maintain than a conventional car.

Posted by Steve Hanley

Steve Hanley is a car nut and Formula One addict who occasionally drives his Mazda MX-5 on track at HPDE events. He has been known to drive to Nova Scotia just to see the lupins in bloom or to Watkins Glen for a weekend of historic racing. He writes about automobiles, technology and travel from his home in Rhode Island.

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