My car was completely disabled this weekend at a remote location due to a faulty release button on the J1772 handle. Nissan has known about this problem for over a year, but refuses to issue a recall. Once the button fails, there is no way to remove the charger handle from the car. Not only that, the car cannot be placed in neutral for towing, so your car has to be dragged onto a flat bed truck. There is another detailed thread from a year ago on this subject, but this problem is significant enough that I needed to warn everyone until this is fixed by Nissan. Here's my story from the weekend.
We've had our Leaf for one year, and have 12,000 miles on it.
This weekend, I was at a marina in Indiana. We plugged our Leaf into a standard 110 outlet, only to be greeted with three flashing lights and no charge. I thought it might be a warning of unreliable voltage, so I attempted to move the car to another outlet. To my surprise, the J1772 plug would not release from the car. No matter what I did, the plug would not come out. Consequently, it was impossible to take the car out of park. I downloaded the owners manual, and found a series of steps to forcefully unlock the charge port using "the appropriate tool". It would have been helpful if the authors of the manual had simply put a picture of what "the appropriate tool" looks like. I went through all the procedures to no avail.
I called Nissan Leaf Roadside Assistance using the Nissan Leaf app on my phone. I described the problem in detail, only to be told that all they are responsible for is towing, and they did not know anything about the problem.
I searched the web, and came up with this thread describing the problem in detail, with possible solutions. viewtopic.php?f=30&t=13229
It's a long thread, so I will give you the bottom line. Since June 2013, Nissan engineers have known about this problem. It is the button on the J1772 handle that fails, making it impossible to remove the handle, effectively turning the car into a brick. According to this post, the inability to put the car in neutral makes it impossible to tow.
At that point, I called Nissan Customer Support. The person at Customer Support was very nice, but soon informed me that they really only answer questions from the owners manual and web site support. He took me through the procedures in the owners manual, which I had already accomplished. I explained to him that this was a known problem with the J1772 handle from June 2013, and Nissan Engineering had been involved in the diagnostics. I asked him to elevate this to someone at Nissan. He said he did not have any way of contacting Nissan, and that he would call the nearest dealer and talk with their service department. He then asked me where the nearest dealer was because his dealer system was down. I told him I was not at home, so I didn't know. I asked him to use Google Maps to find it. At the same time I opened up Google Maps to find the nearest dealer. I gave Nissan Customer Support the name and number, and I was placed on hold. After some time, he told me he contacted the dealer, and was told there were no Nissan service personnel available because the rotate weekends between their stores, and there were only GM service personnel on call. I gave him the name of the next Nissan dealer, and was placed on hold again. He came back and said the next dealer told him they had nobody to help me. I told Nissan Customer Support that this is very disappointing as this is a known defect in their charging handle, and they should have had a recall/replacement program. He told me there is no way of elevating this as it was Saturday morning, and nobody would be in at Nissan until Monday Morning. I told him I would leave the car at the marina and they could come pick it up on Monday, as I could not get it into neutral for towing.
I later called Roadside Assistance and asked to speak to the towing company. They said they could drag the car onto the flatbed truck. Two hours later, I watched the car disappear into the sunset on the back of a truck.