Nissan to have battery replacement program for Leaf electric car

Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:40pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T: Quote) has announced a $100-a-month battery replacement plan for U.S. owners of its electric Nissan Leaf.

The plan calls for participants to get a new or upgraded battery once their current battery capacity falls below 70 percent of initial output.

Nissan said its plan is modeled after its own program in Europe and those of competitors. Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) Chief Executive Elon Musk said earlier this week his company will invest $50 million to $100 million to develop a battery replacement network.

Nissan's battery replacement plan begins in the first half of 2014, just over three years after the first compact Leaf electric cars were sold in the U.S. market.

All new Leaf cars have a five-year, 60,000 mile battery warranty for capacity loss. So Nissan does not expect many Leaf owners to sign up for the program until their cars are no longer covered by the battery capacity warranty, a spokesman said.

Nissan also has an eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty on defects.

Nissan said details of the plan for its other markets will be announced later.

A 2013 Leaf on a full charge has a range of 83 miles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up from 73 miles for the 2012 Leaf.

Sales of electric cars are improving, but slowly. A brake on rising sales is in part caused by the anxiety many drivers feel about getting to their destinations before the battery runs out.   Continued...

A Nissan Leaf full electric car is seen at Darcars Nissan in Rockville, Maryland June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron