Nissan LEAFs made Arizonians Angry. Arizonians throw cacti, and guns.
By Zack Klapman
The Nissan LEAF is pissing off owners in AZ, and you don’t want to do that, because they have guns. Lots of them. In two days of filming there we were handed: an AR-15, a .45 caliber semi-auto UZI (yeah, an Uzi), an FA91 .308 assault rifle, and a mother fucking Barrett M82 .50 caliber sniper rifle. That last one isn’t even technically a sniper rifle (as it’s commonly called). It’s actually an anti-material rifle, because it was designed to destroy things; Engines, cars, houses, bunkers, planets, not people. Big, scary, guns.
And right now, the people of Arizona are none too happy with Nissan.
According to Scottsdale CBS affiliate KPHO, LEAF owners in Arizona are reporting that cars are seriously under-performing during the summer months. This is because, during the summer, the landscape of Arizona is exactly the same as that on Mars, rising to hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit (The only things that can survive such temperatures are sand, turquoise jewelry, and golfers). Owners are reporting a loss of 25-40% of battery capacity, which is a huge loss for just pulling out of the garage when you consider a LEAF’s range is -at best- 73 miles. Enough owners complained that execs flew in from Japan (along with special parts for an orange Supra ; ] ) to hear the grievances in person. Make the jump for the video report.
CBS 5 – KPHO
We’re not surprised battery life is being hurt by the heat; Arizona is hot as hell in the summer. I’m surprised normal gas cars don’t just spontaneously explode. But I am a little surprised that Nissan didn’t find a way to prevent this situation. Look at the kind of hot weather testing Porsche does. Now imagine you’re bringing brand-new technology to the world: a plug-in 5 door. You’re trying to get in early on the EV game, telling people 73 miles per day is 4x what the average person drives. It’s a big gamble, a big sell, and a huge project. Wouldn’t they have thought of the people living on the sun (Florida, AZ, Nevada, parts of CA)? The big push-back against electric cars is range. With that concern comes the sub-points of how a car’s range is affected by: driving at night, using accessories (radio, NAV), and by the outside temperature.
If you live somewhere cold, on particularly frigid days you’ve probably watched your phone sluggishly change screens. Same thing when you leave your phone on the dash on a hot day. I’ve had my iPhone power itself down after sitting in a hot car, to prevent damage. It stands to reason an electric car could suffer from the same hurdles. Nissan says they’re under-writing the warranty, and they’ve bought back a few cars from particularly
armed unhappy customers.
I know hindsight is 20/20, but it seems to me that more development is needed to prepare EVs for any and all situations. I don’t know what-if any- hot testing they did, but apparently it wasn’t hot enough. I hope they go back to the lab, and continue to perfect what I feel is absolutely necessary technology. Unfortunately many people are so anti-EV that they will magnify or focus on any stumbling block. Imagine how long it will take the friends of those now-former LEAF owners to convert to an electric vehicle? So, hopefully Nissan figures this out quickly. I applaud them for taking a step outside the I.C.E. box, but they’re up against a lot of resistance, and need their product to deliver in all climates.