As a proud Nissan Leaf owner, I try an keep up on any breaking news regarding my beloved car. When I saw the headlines about a new software update for Leaf owners in North America that would allow multiple fast charging sessions, I was exhilarated! As I read further I noticed that these updates are only for second-generation Leafs (or is it Leaves?), so my 2012 model is out of luck. Still, knowing that some of our readers may own newer models, I felt it would be wrong to not share the good news.
According to CleanTechnica, Nissan dealerships will perform these updates for free for cars that are currently under warranty. Unlike updates to the various Tesla models, Nissan cannot send software updates directly to individual vehicles. Owners will have to request this service and will not be notified as they would with a safety recall.
In 2018, second generation (defined as 2017 or newer) Leaf owners in the United States, Canada, and Mexico took to the Internet to launch their complaints about the fact that repeatedly fast-charging their vehicles slowed down significantly if done in short time frames. Using the hashtag #rapidgate on various platforms, angry Leaf owners let Nissan know how disappointed they were, and how the problem was ruining their road trips. Nissan’s second generation Leaf can get up to around 150 miles on a full charge, making fast-charging a necessity for anyone using one to take a vacation.
The controversy surrounding #rapidgate stems from a security feature that Nissan implemented to protect the Leaf’s battery from overheating. As we discussed here, heat generated when the battery is in use can decrease longevity. Second generation Leafs feature a more powerful battery that adds an approximate 40kWh boost to the motor. The problem was first noticed in Europe by Leaf owners using DC fast chargers to travel long distances. Drivers saw a marked difference in the speed at which their vehicles would charge after a hundred or so miles of driving. Several drivers complained that after too many fast charges, their cars failed to fast-charge at all.
Multiple angry Leaf owners lamented their decision not to go with Tesla’s Model 3, which is priced similarly to Nissan’s offering. Tesla has made impressive strides in charging infrastructure across North America. There are currently around 1500 Tesla charging stations with 13 thousand chargers available to owners.
Jeff Wandell, Spokesman for Nissan, provided the following statement in response to the scandal: “In the interest of owner satisfaction, Nissan has released a software update for certain 2018-2019 LEAF vehicles with a 40kWh battery in the U.S. and Canada. This update allows for faster charging during multiple quick charging sessions. Customers can visit their local LEAF-certified Nissan dealership to confirm if their vehicle is eligible for an update and schedule one if needed.”
Are there any second generation Leaf owners out there that have had issues with fast-charging? Do you regret buying a leaf over a Model 3 because of this? Please leave a comment below and vent your frustrations.
Source | Images: Wikimedia Commons