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Nissan Offers the Same 8-Year, 100,000-Mile Battery Warranty As GM

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On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Offers the Same 8-Year, 100,000-Mile Battery Warranty As GM

Last week, GM announced that it would offer an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the lithium-ion batteries that power its upcoming Chevy Volt range-extending electric vehicle. Not to be outdone, Nissan this week matched GM's industry-leading battery warranty on the lithium-ion batteries in its upcoming Leaf electric vehicle. The two vehicles are set to compete for their share of the mainstream electric vehicle market beginning later this year.

Also announced this week, the Chevy Volt will cost over $7,000 more than the Nissan Leaf when it hits the market in November. The Volt will carry a base price of $41,000 while the Leaf bases at $32,780. Volt and Leaf buyers will be eligible for federal tax credits, cutting costs by as much as $7,500.

While the Volt will cost more, Chevy plans to offer a leasing option that is nearly identical to the Leaf's $349/month option. Chevy's lease agreement will cost $350/month over 36 months. Chevy will require $2,500 down, while the Nissan Leaf's 36-month lease requires $1,995.

While they'll compete directly, Nissan and Chevy offer different paradigms for electric driving. The Leaf is a 100 percent electric vehicle that uses a combination of a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and 80 kW AC motor. The Volt, on the other hand, only provides 40 miles of all-electric range, but offers a 1.4-liter range-extending gasoline four-cylinder that kicks in when the batteries drain and adds about 300 miles of range.

Last summer, Chevy, and later the same week, Nissan created big headlines with impressive but bloated fuel economy numbers. Chevy announced a 230 mpg figure for the Volt and Nissan followed up with a 367 mpg figure for the Leaf. Experts and pundits immediately questioned the veracity of these claims and the companies have since backed off the figures as the EPA restructures its rating system to reflect the new types of powertrains.

With the Volt, Chevy sought to offer a compromise for drivers, providing no/low-emission driving, while helping to quell some of the range anxiety that people have when considering electrics. According to the company's numbers, 40 miles represents enough range for 75 percent of the U.S. working population's daily commute. The gasoline engine ensures that drivers will have the range they need without the worry of getting stranded. Given the Volt's more complex powertrain, it's not surprising that it will cost more when it debuts. Chevy's leasing option is a clear indication that GM wants to remain competitive with Nissan, despite the fact that it must charge nearly a quarter more for the Volt.

Both the Volt and Leaf will be rolled out gradually in specific markets. The Volt will debut in California in November, and will then move to dealerships in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Michigan and Texas. Nationwide availability is planned within 18 months after the initial roll-out. The Nissan Leaf will debut in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee in December. It will move to Texas and Hawaii in January, and North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama and Washington, D.C. in April. By the end of the year, it will be available across the U.S.

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