Byuing advice/considerations: 30kwh 2016/17 Leaf, plan to get free 40kwh battery through warranty

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New member
Jun 30, 2022
I live in Finland, temperature 20 - 30c (68 - 86f) during summer, -20 - 0c (-4 - 32f) during winter. Usually winter is mild, rarely below -5c (23f). Have checked the used Leaf buying guide.

I drive mostly in a small city, max 50-80km/day (30-50 miles). About 10000km (6200miles)/year. Regularly (once per month) visit another city, travel distance 160km (100miles). During winter I could probably drive that 100miles without stopping with a 40kwh battery and charge to full at destination. A short stop to charge would be acceptable during the coldest winter days. Have charging at home and a cold garage that can be heated if absolutely necessary.

Idea is to buy a 2016/17 30kwh Leaf and have the battery changed through warranty to get a 40kwh battery.
Ideal car would be from Scandinavia, as the trim levels are similar as in Finland. Heat pump is needed, seat heating preferable but not a deal breaker. In Europe, 2016/17 trim levels are Visia, Acenta and Tekna. Heat pump is included in Acenta/Tekna. Winter package (seat heating) is included in all trim levels in Scandinavia and only in Tekna in central/southern Europe.

Battery degradation is not so bad in Scandinavia, so chances of finding a car with 8 bars, under 100 000 miles are not high. Italy/Spain have worse degradation so finding a car is easier, also prices are cheaper. Have already found at least one 2017 model, under 100000km driven, with 8 bars, 12000€ price. Another similar 2016 model with 9 bars for 13000€. Both in Italy.

Most likely a person selling a car with 8 bars doesn't know about the warranty replacement or they would have already tried getting a replacement battery. So I would need to buy a car, get the battery firmware/software update and then just hope that under the warranty time/miles it would fall again to under 8 bars. During that time I would have to make do with a degraded 30kwh battery, travel only in city area and make longer trips with train.

Leaf Spy Pro can show if the firmware/software update required for warranty battery change has been applied. But chances of finding a car with the update and 8 bars are very low.

What are the chances of getting the battery to 8 bars after doing the software update through Nissan? Probably very low?

The idea is to get a BEV with acceptable range (100miles in winter conditions) as cheaply as possible.
At the moment a new 40kwh Leaf with heat pump costs 29000€ in Finland. Used ones from 2018, 50000-100 000 miles, can be had for 22000-24000€ from Sweden/Netherlands/Germany. 2016-2017 30kwh Leafs with heat pump cost 16000-20000€ in Finland, 14000-19000€ in Sweden/Netherlands/Germany and 12000-15000€ in Spain/Italy. There are services around Europe to have a professional do a check up (OBD-dongle included) on the car and buy it and have it shipped to Finland. To travel there, check the car myself and drive it home would be hard to execute for family/work reasons but maybe a possibility.

Does this idea sound ridiculous or very hard to execute? Other opinions? With these range needs, smart thing to do would be to buy a PHEV for 2-5 years and then a BEV. Personally would prefer to move straight to BEV though.

Long term plan would be to get a Leaf with acceptable range to begin with, upgrade to CCS fast charging and get an 11-33kwh extender battery through Muxsan in the coming years. Could then use the Leaf for 10+ years maybe.

I'm in no hurry with this project. Probably prices will fall after the used EV price bubble bursts in a couple of years. Smart thing would be to wait until then and that's what I'll probably do, but waiting is hard, hence the post.
It's definitely a gamble, just due to the risk of buying an apparent 8 bar LEAF that hasn't yet had the BMS firmware update done. Getting the firmware update resets the BMS, as you noted, so you wouldn't know the real state of the battery for a few weeks...

At that point, you could either win the lottery or be stuck with a 9 or perhaps 10 bar LEAF. If it's close to the mileage limit of the pack warranty, you might have to park it for months and pray the pack degrades enough. With the 8 year warranty period on the 30 kWh pack, at least time should be on your side with a 9 bar LEAF, but then you have to live with a very limited winter range for quite awhile.
I used to advocate this approach...before there was such a thing as a Gen2 Leaf. Now it seems like a lot of work (with a bit of luck).
If you really want a Leaf, why don't you just look for a later model (40 kWh pack) Gen2 when prices ease? You will probably get more use/value out of it in the long-run.
OP, you are well informed.

"What are the chances of getting the battery to 8 bars after doing the software update through Nissan? Probably very low?"

This is the great unknown. Lefty and some others in this forum think that there are two sub-populations of LEAFs from that era: those with batteries that degrade quickly and show their true colors soon after the software update, and those that do quite a bit better but had a software bug that incorrectly reported low capacity bars that could be fixed with an update.

You should also consider that a host of other issues may be present in those used cars, and Italy is far away once someone has your money.
Thanks for the input, appreciated.
I'll wait for the prices to come down and get a 40kwh Leaf. That's probably the smart thing to do.