Print 85 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Jul 26 at 8:47 PM

The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery

The Nissan Leaf is a top player in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, but one major issue that sometimes plagues these vehicles is the battery -- and the Leaf's battey seems to be taking a lot of heat.

Leaf owners in Arizona have recently complained that their EVs are losing significant capacity in the desert's hot heat. In fact, Arizona Leaf drivers Scott Yarosh and Mason Convey have both testified to this claim.

"When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip," said Yarosh. "[Now] I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge."

Both owners said they've lost about 30 percent of their battery capacity since purchasing their vehicles. Even when their batteries are fully charged, two to three of the 12 lights on their battery capacity gauge are out.

Both owners are very meticulous about how they care for their Leafs. There is absolutely no sign of abuse, as both were able to produce dealership service records with high marks.

"We want to learn more about what's going on, but it's something we've just been made aware of, and we don't have any conclusions yet," said Perry.

The problem is likely Nissan's air cooling system used for the Leaf's battery. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even predicted that Nissan's cooling system would fail the Leaf at some point back in August of 2010.

Musk said that Nissan's Leaf employed a cheaper air cooling system that would make its battery temperatures jump "all over the place," where cold temperatures would degrade the battery while hot temperatures would shut it down. Tesla, on the other hand, uses a high-end liquid heating/cooling thermal management solution.

But for those who are still avid Leaf fans, there's great news if you live in California or Washington. Dealerships in these two states are cutting about $5,000 off the price tag for a new 2012 Nissan Leaf. The MSRP is usually $37,250, but with the $7,500 federal tax credit, the $2,500 California clean-vehicle purchase rebate, and now the additional $5,000 off, the price for a brand-new 2012 Leaf is only about $23,000.

Sources: CBS 5, Green Car Reports

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RE: What a deal!
By invidious on 7/19/2012 3:10:01 PM , Rating: 4
Chemical batteries just don't recharge as fast as auto consumers expect them to when used as a car's main propulsion, and thats unlikely to change anytime soon. For fast charging you are talking about capacitors which dont have anywhere near the energy density to sustain long trips.

Also the really of the situation is that a chemical battery powered car is not an electric car at all, it's a fuel cell car. Sure a chemical energy can be refilled with electricity, but a true electric car would not use chemical conversions. If you are using chemicals anyway I think a removable fuel cell is a better than a rechargable fuel cell. This way when you need to recharge you just swap one out for a full one (at a gas station lets say) and your done, it would probably even be faster than pumping gas.

The only practical electric car would one that is powered by a connection to the grid from the road that it is driving on. Just like the electric trains that have been in use for decades. The car could still have a battery/capacitors for driving off the grid for short durations, but the vast majority of driving is on roads anyway. The decreased weight of not having huge battery arrays would make the car much more efficient. And the small batteries that the car would have would not be the primary means of propulsion so they wouldn't degrade as fast.

This is all very theoretical and there are lots of technical challenges to overcome. But I just don't see the point of modern EVs and I don't see the point in using tax dollars to subsidize a market for bad technology. I am an electrical engineer and I would love to see kick ass electric cars, but what we have right now does not kick ass. Tesla's offerings are very cool, but they cost 3 to 4 times as much as a gas powered sports car, making them nothing more than a rich man's novelty.

RE: What a deal!
By Dr of crap on 7/19/2012 3:21:18 PM , Rating: 3
Bravo - I agree totally.

BUT to electrify the roads would cost MORE than a Tesla.

Although the fuel savings could be made up in a few years as everyone swithced to the new EV cars and the really reduced NEED for gas!!

Also you could do like the New Deal from Roosevelts age and put people to work building the new infrastructure.
HA, could you see that!!!! Never happen now days!!!

RE: What a deal!
By Ringold on 7/19/2012 10:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
The amount of metals, some rarer then others, needed to electrify the roads of the whole nation.. I got to wonder if that doesn't start to get in to the range of being economically feasible to extract from the Earth's crust in any sort of useful time frame, without also starving the rest of the worlds industry.

RE: What a deal!
By FITCamaro on 7/20/2012 7:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Unless we can make concrete conduct electricity, that just isn't going to happen.

RE: What a deal!
By esteinbr on 7/19/2012 4:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
Fast charging isn't just a matter of having batteries or super capacitors that can handle the charging rate and have the proper energy density. It is also difficult to just provide that much power to the vehicle safely. You end up talking about current and voltage levels that would only be worked with by highly trained electricians in any other setting.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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