• Leaf battery, 2016-17 Nissan Leaf

Exclusive: Nissan Releases Software Fix for 2016-17 Leafs

Addresses Inaccurate Battery Range and State of Charge Reporting

Nissan released a statement today about a fix for 2016 and 2017 Leaf battery electric cars that are experiencing indications that their vehicles’ 30 kWh batteries were losing range and capacity at an accelerated rate.  Owners of these EVs were reporting that their cars were losing as much as 25 percent of their car’s range and battery capacity in as little as 15,000 miles.  Nissan’s 96-month/100,000-mile lithium-ion battery capacity coverage replaced the suspect batteries. But for some Leafs, one battery replacement was not enough, with the problem resurfacing not long after the replacement, necessitating a second new battery. It was unclear if the Leaf batteries were experiencing accelerated degradation or if there was an issue with the vehicles’ battery controllers. 

Nissan has been criticized for the method it uses to manage the health of the Leaf lithium-ion batteries.

Nissan Leaf battery

Software upgrade tells the battery not to lie

The problem came to Nissan’s attention in the late fall of 2017 and was diagnosed as a possible software issue with the battery controller providing inaccurate calculations that are used to determine the state of charge (SOC) and the range available from the battery.  Analysis and testing by Nissan identified that this was indeed the issue.  Recently a software update was issued to correct the inaccurate calculations.

Clean Fleet Report reached out to Nissan for clarification on the issue, and a Nissan spokesperson provided us with this statement:

Nissan Customer Service Campaign Statement

On June 6, 2018, Nissan began conducting a customer service campaign in North America to reprogram the lithium-ion battery controller in 2016 and 2017 model-year LEAF vehicles equipped with a 30-kWh battery, to correct the calculation used for the battery capacity level gauge and distance remaining of the vehicle.

The displayed vehicle range and battery capacity level gauge on these vehicles are displaying range and capacity that is lower than the actual amount. Reprogramming the controller will result in an accurate display of the LEAFs battery capacity and trip range.

This service campaign is open to all 2016 and 2017 LEAFs regardless of mileage or if they have had their battery previously replaced.  Owners should contact their local dealer to schedule the update. After the reprogramming, the balance of the original lithium-ion battery and battery capacity warranty will remain in effect for any customers who experience warrantable battery degradation.

Update (6/14/2018):

Some Leaf owners are concerned that this software update may contain other updates that may affect the Leaf’s other battery systems.  We reached out to Nissan with this question, and here is their spokesperson’s response:

This software update is just to correct the parameters that the BMC is using to calculate the battery capacity level and distance remaining. No other systems are being modified.

We’ve also heard that all dealers may not be up-to-date on this campaign. Please refer to Customer Service Campaign ID:PC630.

Update: (6/15/2018)

We have not published the documents from Nissan on this action here.

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About Author: Gary Lieber

13 thoughts on “Exclusive: Nissan Releases Software Fix for 2016-17 Leafs

  1. Michael Hahn
    June 19, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    We have a 2017 Leaf. When new and at 100% charge, the range estimate was91% and between 120 and 125 miles. After about six months (and still at 12 bars) the range estimate went down to 110 to 115 miles. At 17k miles, we lost a bar and the range estimate went down to about 100 miles. At 22k miles, (just last week) we lost a second bar and the range estimate went to 90 to 95 miles.
    On Friday 6/15, we received an email about the campaign, and took it in today (6/19) to get recalibrated. I have to say that now it’s REALLY screwy! It now showed that it was back to 12 bars, and after I took it home and fully charged it; it showed an estimated range of 109 miles. But wait – there’s more! After some driving today, the capacity level gauge went steadily down to 84%, but the estimated range didn’t get below 108 miles at 91% and finally leveled off at 100 miles at 84%. I will watch it for a few days to see what it does, but at this point I have NO confidence in the estimated range.
    And, somehow magically back to 12 bars when it was already down by 2? The suspicious side of me wonders if they “recalibrated” it so that they didn’t need to replace the battery after it lost 2 more bars…

    • June 20, 2018 at 12:06 am

      @Michael Hahn – That definitely sounds like you should keep an eye on it.Sounds like a fe electrons are loose. –ed.

  2. Pingback: Software fix for 2016-17 Nissan Leafs may improve battery range – Electric Cars Tips
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  4. Gary Lieber
    June 14, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Jeremy: Owners of 2016 and 2017 30 kWh LEAFs will be contacted by Nissan either my email, mail, or a message through Nissan Connect in the car regarding this campaign. It was announced June 6th, so many dealers may not be familiar with it yet.

    • June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am

      Hi Gary,

      My dealer certainly was not aware of it and I’d rather not wait. Who knows how long Nissan will sit on this before actively reaching out to customers. Our LEAF is sitting at 9 bars and has lost nearly 40% of it’s available range. We’d really like to be able to actually use the car again. I was able to use the bulletin info posted by Michael earlier to get that service scheduled, so I do appreciate Micheal posting that.

      My other point is that if Nissan has “announced” this then one would think that such an announcement would have been made publicly by Nissan, either via the Nissan website, or an official Nissan twitter account or some other “official” place to read such announcements, right? Like I should be able to point to an actual “nissan (dot) com” URL where a copy of this announcement was posted? This seems like pretty basic journalism: Link your source. If your source is a private email from Nissan, that’s not really much of an “announcement”.

      I don’t get how Nissan could have “announced” this by communicating it privately to CleanFleetReport. Where is the official public copy of this announcement from Nissan?

      • June 15, 2018 at 11:53 am

        Jeremy:

        Clean Fleet Report was fortunate to get wind of this update just after it was released nine days ago on June 6th. It is not uncommon for dealer service personnel not to be up to date on individual service update campaigns mainly because so many of them are issued yearly and are usually specific to a particular model, year or VIN. They don’t see them until they type in a customer’s vehicle VIN during a service appointment. We are very happy that we were able to make you and other owners of 2016/2017 LEAFs aware of this service campaign quickly.

        Like you, I believe that this update is a big deal. I have been following this issue since last fall and was excited to hear that the update had finally been released last week. This campaign was confirmed by Nissan when we reached out to them earlier this week and their official response is published verbatim in the story above.

        I am a LEAF owner like yourself (going on my third one), so when I see issues like this update, I use both my LEAF Owner and Journalist hats to make sure that the LEAF owner community is made aware of news like this.

        To your point about Nissan announcing this update, they started doing just that on Tuesday of this week, but only to the LEAF owners that the update affects. This update is specific to 2016 and 2017 LEAFs manufactured between May 19, 2015, and July 12, 2017. Owners of these vehicles are receiving notification by U.S. Mail, in-vehicle messages through Nissan Connect, and by email.

        Manufacturers release thousands of vehicle, VIN, and year specific updates annually, and these are not usually publicized to the general public. Nissan did not privately communicate this information to Clean Fleet Report, rather we proactively contacted them and asked for the details so that we could empower the affected LEAF owners to get their vehicles back up to their optimum performance. I am really happy that you were able to use this information to get your LEAF restored to its real capabilities.

        Clean Fleet Report will be publishing all of the public communications that LEAF owners and the Nissan dealer service centers have received on this update shortly.

  5. June 14, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I see no link to anything official from Nissan. Local dealers are claiming they’ve not heard of any software update. How does a LEAF owner actually *get* this update?

    • June 14, 2018 at 11:28 am

      @Jeremy Akers. Thanks for the follow up. We just posted an update to the story. Here’s what to reference–Customer Service Campaign ID:PC630. Good luck! -ed.

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