Is the Nissan LEAF a Lemon?

Modern Energy Roundup - October 1, 2012

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted October 1, 2012 at 2:27PM

I tell ya, I'm really feeling for Nissan right now.

Last week, we learned that Nissan bought back three LEAFs under the terms of Arizona's lemon law.

Apparently, in the insanely hot climate of Arizona, the all-electric LEAFs in question were suffering from premature range loss.

The folks who are returning the vehicles are clearly unhappy. Although there seems to be this running suspicion amongst the former LEAF owners that the company is trying to keep people quiet with these buy-backs.

Rest assured, my good friends, when it comes to electric cars, there are so many haters out there, anytime something goes wrong, we're all going to hear about it. Even if that which has “gone wrong” may not actually be that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Remember the single Chevy Volt fire in a secured testing location last year? Of course you do.

Remember any one of the nearly 70,000 internal combustion vehicle fires last year? Of course you don't. Because that's not relevant to those looking to trivialize the benefits of electric vehicles that do this amazing thing called helping to displace foreign oil.

Sarcasm aside, certainly if I bought a LEAF in Arizona, and the range loss had been accelerated, I would also seek compensation. But I definitely wouldn't start with a whole big conspiracy theory about Nissan trying to keep this stuff on the down low.

Of course the company doesn't want people to know if there are issues with the vehicle. No auto maker does with any of its vehicles. But do you realize how many vehicles are returned every year because customers are unhappy?

Literally thousands of conventional, non-electric vehicles are returned to dealer lots annually due to a wide range of issues.

My point is that this shouldn't be considered a strike against electric cars – as so many are clearly making it out to be. This is simply an instance of a vehicle manufacturer having to make good on a promise to its customers.

I would also remind those quick to use this as an opportunity to further bash electric cars that this is a very small group of owners here dealing with what seems to be an issue confined to a small number of cases.

Look, we probably have about another ten years of electric cars being the target of aggressive campaigns designed to keep most of us in outdated internal combustion vehicles. There are just too many interests that have too much to be gained from the electric car going gently into that good night.

But that's not going to happen.

Just like those early conventional hybrids that hit the streets in the late 1990s, electric cars will also swim upstream against the backdrop of media bias and partisan slavery in the short-term. And by around 2020, the naysayers will be few and far between – and $5 gas will make a lot of folks a lot more fond of driving around town in vehicles that will be fueled by domestically-produced electrons.