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Published on May 10th, 2019 | by Jennifer Sensiba


Sign This Petition Asking Nissan To Fix Early 2018 LEAFs In North America

May 10th, 2019 by  

Normally, as journalists, we report on things others are doing or offer our opinion in op-eds about current events. This issue is a lot more personal than usual, and I wanted to disclose that right up front. I am the owner of an early 2018 Nissan LEAF, and this petition is my petition. I’m hoping that other LEAF owners, the wider EV community, and everybody who cares about accelerating the world’s transition to clean energy will help us by signing this petition:

Change.org — Nissan North America: Fix #Rapidgate for Early 2018 LEAF Buyers

When there are electric vehicles out there with fixable issues, it sets the whole movement back.

For those who haven’t previously heard of #Rapidgate, it’s basically a software bug that early 2018 LEAFs came with. The new 40 kWh battery pack does build up heat faster than the 30 kWh and 24 kWh LEAFs do, mostly because of increased battery density. For this reason, Nissan initially programmed the 2018 LEAF to charge much slower than previous years’s models did once some heat builds up, ostensibly to protect the battery.

I knew of this issue not long after purchase, but for in-town driving with lots of breaks, it didn’t affect me much personally. When Electrify America installed more stations in the Southwest US, and I had a chance to really test the capability on road trips, I struggled to make the car perform.

After gathering more data on battery longevity and fielding many complaints, Nissan did partially address the issue late last year.

First, the company created a new version of the battery firmware and started including the update in new LEAFs that came from the factory. From what I’ve seen in forums and Facebook groups, this started sometime around October 2018 builds (as verified by LeafSpy). All newer 2018 and 2019 40 kWh LEAFs, as well as the new 60 kWh models, do not seem to suffer from this issue nearly as bad.

Second, they offered European buyers of the earlier LEAFs a software update to give them the newer software. We have independently verified this with the LeafSpy app and know that this is indeed the case.

But North American buyers have thus far not been given the software update. Some claim this is because we live in a different part of the world, or that our early 2018 vehicles have different battery hardware, but the facts don’t support that assertion. Later North American models got the update, and the early European buyers who had the old software obviously didn’t have older hardware, as they were able to get the update installed. If climate were the issue, newer 40 kWh LEAFs would still suffer from #Rapidgate.

The only thing we are asking Nissan to do is give the early adopters who had faith in them the software update needed for the car to perform as we all expected it to. This software update should be given to customers free of charge, regardless of warranty status or mileage, because it affects an important vehicle component that doesn’t perform as it was advertised or as LEAFs of previous years did.

I sincerely hope Nissan Corporate and Nissan North America can prove to us that they’re still committed to their biggest fans — the early adopters — by doing right for us what they did for their European customers. 
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About the Author

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals.

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