Nissan Leaf - Battery Problems - $33,000 Quote for Battery Swap

Author Message

Joined: 16/12/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 873
Posted: 09:16am 21 Jan 2021      

Hi friends,

When a WA chap started importing ex British army "Champ" 4WDs, the station owners and farmers were delighted, but not the trade. just saw the story on ABC re the Tassie "Good Car Co." importing Nissan Leafs into Oz from Japan, where they encourage drivers to part with their cars after three years.

Prices start from $20,000 and what made me lust after one is the fact, that once regulatory hurdles are ironed out, the Leaf can be used as your home battery. The 40 kWh battery for some models and larger (60kWh?) are certainly larger than a Powerwall.

The "Solarquotes" site then had a link to a story of one disenchanted Leaf owner, who related his travail to the "Daily Mirror". After paying $53k and only getting 150k instead of the advertised 170k with a new battery, his car is now worth $12,000 after four (?) years and greatly reduced range and Nissan offered him a swap with a new 23kWh battery for the pittance of only $33,000! That quote is reproduced from the "Daily Mirror".

After the story broke, Nissan back pedaled and offered the swap for $11,000 (inc. labour and GST). That story quenched my thirst to save the planet plus one reader of Solarquotes reminded me that that offer of a new battery for $11k is only available to cars bought through dealers and not "grey" imports.

So what about all the proud Leaf owners, who bought a cheap and "grey" import? Just like mobile phones with "welded in" batteries, can you now throw a Leaf away like a mobile phone?
Taxation as a means of achieving prosperity is like a man standing inside a bucket trying to lift himself up.

Winston Churchill


Senior Member

Joined: 30/08/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 175
Posted: 09:41am 21 Jan 2021      

From my understanding the motors in the Nissan Leafs (Leaves!) are not particularly great, otherwise I would consider buying one just to strip the motor and control gear out for a custom build. What are they? 65kW or thereabouts?

I'd rather spend my cash on a wrecked Tesla. Tesla are pretty cagey about their specs, but I believe their motors run somewhere around 200kW.

Obviously a 200kW motor is a little heavier, but with the weight of the rest of the car taken into account, it is pretty measly. If you drive *exactly* the same with a leaf motor vs a  tesla motor (putting them into the same car) you will use a pittance more kWh... but with a tesla drive train there is the *potential* to have a lot more fun!

I personally wouldn't buy a leaf unless the price was really really good.

So, in answer as to what to do with the aforementioned grey leaf? Maybe you could strip it and build a custom car? But with a fairly low-brow motor, such an endeavour would have to be presented to a buyer at the right price, and 12k is far to high. Move the decimal point one place and I'd be interested...


Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 1578
Posted: 06:15am 22 Jan 2021      

This isn't a new thing all together with imports.

Some many years back, Japanese front cuts were being brought into the country in great number.  They were really cheap and you got all the desirable bits, Engine, gearbox, front panels etc.  They sold heaps of them.... For a short while.

Didn't take long to realise that the same car from Japan was often very different to what we had here.  Front guards had holes for wing mirrors no one had here, engines had  or didn't have distributors for timing, controls worked differently and so it went. The upshot was there were many differences and a lot that wouldn't fit local cars and was therefore useless.

These things were not the bargain they seemed at all.  Seems the same with the leafs.

In the US there are people doing refuted/ rebuilt EV packs but I can't see that happening for a long time here.  The demand would not be enough to keep people in business. With EV prices falling, who is going to go spend say $11K on something like an old leaf when you can get a new  Kia for I think around $35K ?  Even a used EV of much younger years would probably be a better deal.

There is a wreckers in Vic or SA selling 5 Kw tesla modules for about $2K.  I think that's still on the high side but at least they are decent quality.  There are a lot of people absolutly Possessed with lipo these days and I'm not putting anyone down that has them, just what I read on a lot of particularly US forums, they go on like they are the ONLY battery chemistry out there that could be considered.

Most of what I have been looking at people are using them for home storage when a lot of their properties they go on about being weight and size don't matter much anyway.

I would -think- that an old leaf would well have more value in the parts than the sum total. Even though there aren't a lot of them around, there wouldn't be a big parts supply either.  Battery pack being rather poorly designed on those things with no cooling is going to be the big demand and I'd imagine like everything else, front and and bumpers/ tail lights would be the next sought after.  Most likely as with everything else, forget about interior and driveline could be iffy too although sensors and controller are always popular and have nothing to do with the type of motovation of the vehicle.

Many on the net will tell you EVs don't need maintenance or repairs,  another look on the net will quickly reveal how many EV specialist work shops there are in the US and plenty of YT vids on EV problems as well to dispel that Myth.

maybe one could get some of the cheap Chinese batteries and make a pack at reasonable cost that gave enough range to make the thing useful for local shopping etc.  Of course with the tiny amount of fuel you'd save over a regular vehicle and with the costs of rego and even 3rd party insurance, may as well just get something, whatever it was, that you can use for a lot more practical everyday purposes.