So, I am one of the Phoenician LEAF owners who lost a capacity bar after 10-1/2 months and 10,200 miles. Here's my proof:
I remember first reading the threads and being in flat out denial. We almost always charge to 80%, never start a charge with a SOC above 80%, low battery warning only twice, only 4 QC's, etc. We thought we followed proper care and when the Phoenix LEAF's kept falling I knew it was only a matter of time.
I bought the LEAF. I always buy cars and usually drive them until they are dead. I inherited an old Camry from my parents and drove that until 187K miles. I still have a 2003 Acura RSX with over 200K miles. I buy cars, pay them off in 3 years or less, and enjoy life without car payments until I'm ready for my next car.
Unfortunately, although I had enjoyed 10,000+ miles of gas free driving, I immediately regretted buying the LEAF. I kept thinking the worst. How much will this continue to degrade? Range anxiety returned - how far can I really go? Why is there no TMS? Will I be stuck with a solid car that is worthless because it needs an expensive new battery pack? Why didn't we lease? Etc., etc.
Well, after losing the bar I created my paper trail. I went to the dealer the next day and received the expected response. I filed a formal compliant with Nissan. I contemplated consumer protection actions, etc.
Most importantly, I talked to my girlfriend, who actually is the primary driver of the LEAF. I bike to work when it's not so damn hot in Phoenix so after buying the LEAF in August 2011, I let her drive it to work and she fell in love with the car. She was buying cars for gas mileage long before it was en vogue - even in the pre-Prius days. She has always hated gas stations, and since we have a PV solar system on the house, we took pride in making our own "fuel." I ended up buying a Volt about 2 months ago because she had essentially taken over the LEAF. While the Volt seems to fit my tastes much better, I still used the LEAF for longer in town drives because I did not want to use gas.
Financially, however, I remained very concerned. What would a LEAF with a missing capacity bar be worth and how much worse was this going to get in the Phoenix heat? I was intent on cutting my losses and determined to sell the car.
Then began the great debate at home. If that's what i was going to do, then what would we get next? I was pushing hard for a leasing a second Volt and even had a 2013 order ready to be placed. We also considered a used Prius as well as the Prius Plug-in again. We went back to the Lexus CT hybrid, which we had test driven before buying the Volt.
Well, to my surprise, it ended up being another LEAF - a 2012 on which we did a 24-month lease. My girlfriend loves the car that much and was so intent on remaining gas free, it was really the only option for her. FFE's are not yet available in Arizona and we don't like the MiEV. All of our other options would have required the use of more gas, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but she is apparently that dedicated to EV's. We could have waited for the 2013 LEAF, but it would have been a little more challenging to wait until the end of the year. I kept saying we will probably lose another capacity bar, maybe even 2 next year, and that it seems like we are making the same mistake and not solving anything. She acknowledged the risks and uncertainties and made the final decision. Her commute to work is 20-22 miles RT. She was adamant that a LEAF with reduced range in Phoenix would still meet her daily work commute needs, and that she could charge at work if necessary. She could also take the Volt for longer trips if the range is that diminished. At the end of our 2-year lease, we would simply give the car back to Nissan and see what's the latest and greatest in EV technology at that time.
So after a weekend of irritating negotiations, we found a 2012 LEAF with 5 miles on it and negotiated a price just below invoice with a free window tint thrown in. Now, Nissan dealers were offering lousy and I mean lousy trade-ins for my 2011 LEAF. The first place quoted me $21,000 for it. However, I did get an offer for $25,000 somewhere that was not a Nissan dealership and took it. It was a little more than what I owed on the car - and I still don't even have the $7500 tax credit back. I'm self-employed and filed an extension. Nonetheless, there was a little equity.
Funny thing is - after re-running the numbers from the 2011 purchase, the cost of selling the 2011 and 2-year leasing the 2012 came out to just about the same as leasing the 2011 for 3-years. I paid a premium for the 2011. It was an orphan with all the options, wait list, MSRP, blah, blah, blah. I even bought the extended warranty on the 2011 naively thinking it would give me protection with the new technology. So considering the premium paid for the 2011, and the deal negotiated for the 2012, it was almost a wash - and what we really should have done in the first place. We get benefits of EV driving for 3 years total without the battery responsibility. We have no intention of keeping this car at lease end.
I personally don't like making 3 years of car payments and having nothing at the end, but I'm keeping some capital (I still have $7500+ coming from the IRS) and plan on investing in some more rental property by the end of the year - buying an appreciating, rather than depreciating asset is usually a smart thing.
I know this won't work for everybody, but it seemed to be a good solution for us. I still support the other Phoenix LEAF owners who have lost a capacity bar early, especially those who bought. If there's any information I can provide to help support whatever efforts you take, please let me know.
So, it looks like our fallen LEAF has since regrown and we're still somehow a LEAF and Volt family.
Oh, and I'm having LEAFfan come over this weekend to take a ScanGauge/GID reading on this new 2012 LEAF in Phoenix. It'll be a good data point, I hope.
Good luck to everyone else facing similar concerns!