-I like that this new program allows you to own the new battery. Feels simpler/cleaner.
-It would be even better if Nissan comes up with a financing plan with 0% financing! (They do it for the Leafs now, why not the battery?)
-I think it'd be nice if Nissan kept a battery lease option available, as some people might prefer it.
Comparing the "old" program to the new one:
Previously announced program:
$100/month to lease a battery indefinitely.
~$6000 ($5500 for battery, allowing for up to $500 in installation costs) to own a new battery and dispose/recycle old battery.
$6000 / $100 per month = 60 months.
So, the new program is a better deal than the old program as long as you keep the Leaf more than 60 months (5 years) after the new battery is installed.
Though, if you purchase a new battery and then sell your Leaf less than 5 years later, you could simply build the cost of the new battery into your asking price for the vehicle.
-One might ask: under what conditions would I utilize this battery replacement program?
Personally, I am driving my 2014 Leaf about 1475 miles per month (based on my first two months). That means I'll pass 60,000 miles (the degradation warranty) in 40.7 months (3.4 years). So my battery has 3.4 years to become a 4-bar-loser if I want to get a replacement battery for free.
Based on the Stoaty's degradation model
, I can expect my current battery to degrade below 70% in just over 4.5 years, around 79,000 miles. (Stoaty's model only applies to 2011 and 2012 batteries, and I have a 2014 battery. . . so my actual degradation may be even slower than this.) Time will tell. Anyway, I expect I will not get a warranty battery replacement. This is a good thing in that the battery will perform well, a bad thing in that I don't get a free new battery after 3.4 years.
In 4.5 years, when my battery does drop to below 70%, it will still serve my commuting needs. So, after the warranty expires, I'd likely wait until it got closer to 50% degradation before getting a new battery. Stoaty's model says this would happen around 7.5 years, at ~135,000 miles.
So that would have me wanting a new battery for my 2014 Leaf in around the year 2021. Hopefully this program is still available at that time, as I expect battery chemistry may be moderately improved by then. Possible a 2021 battery won't be able to be installed in a 2014 Leaf. . . but given that the 2015 "Lizard" batteries can be installed in a 2011 Leaf (with a $225 install kit), I think it's safe to assume that 2018 Leaf battery can be installed on a 2014 Leaf. So on a somewhat conservative side, I can look to 2018 era batteries and expect to benefit from whatever improved chemistry is available at that time to extend the life of my 2014 Leaf.
Assuming the replacement battery lasts at least as long as my 2014 battery, I can expect a full useful life of 15 years total over the two batteries before re-visiting the question of battery replacement for a potential 3rd battery. 15 years is on the long end of expected gas-car ownership. And the $6000 battery replacement cost should be compared to the savings in maintenance and fuel costs I'll get by choosing an electric over a gas-powered car. Not sure I can estimate that well, but I'm expecting that electric ownership still comes out ahead on cost.
(personally, I'd be happy if electric car ownership cost exactly the same as gas-car ownership. In that case I'd still choose electric for the environmental impact.)
Seems a sustainable model for car ownership to me!