On 26 September the Leaf failed to start – the first time we have had a problem with it in over 10,000 miles. Never mind, thought I, I have a leaflet here which promises ‘A-lister treatment’ if I phone the roadside assistance number.
The operator asked me for the Leaf’s engine size and whether or not it was a 4×4.
This did not bode well.
A breakdown vehicle duly arrived but the driver knew nothing about the Leaf – not even how to operate it, let alone repair it. I explained what he needed to do and the Leaf was duly removed to Westover Nissan in Salisbury.
The following day, having heard nothing further, I rang the assistance number again. The operator simply put me through to Westover. Westover told me the car’s 12V battery had been flat (that much I had guessed) so they had removed, charged and replaced it. They would now investigate the cause. I asked about a courtesy car – the leaflet promises one – but was told they were all booked.
I had to travel overseas on the 28th, leaving my wife waiting for the return of the car. By 1st October we had heard nothing, so I called Westover from Moldova – only to be told that they had no telephone number for me so were waiting for me to call them – this despite the fact that I had provided the Roadside Assistance service with my contact details. They had not been able to identify the cause of the battery problem so I could collect the car at my leisure. There was no offer to deliver the car or arrange for the driver to be collected from home, so the car remained at Westover until I returned to collect it on Friday 4th October – over a week from the date of the breakdown.
The car has been fine since its return, but a search on Speak EV (search for ‘totally dead’!)) has revealed that a number of other cars have suffered the same failure. Nissan doesn’t seem to recognise yet that there may be a pattern emerging, so we’re left to speculate: a batch of bad 12V batteries, perhaps, but more probably a software fault that causes a heavy drain in very particular circumstances. Watch this space!
Update August 2015: The problem has not recurred, so it does seem that a very particular set of circumstances is required for it to happen. There have been a number of other isolated instances, but it’s not clear whether a software update has been implemented to effect a permanent solution.