Ever wondered why the battery charge on your smartphone does last as long as when it was new? The phenomenon is referred to in different technical jargons depending on the industry, but it essentially means a loss in the amount of charge a battery is able to retain over time.

Lithium-ion batteries are appreciated for their high energy density, relative low weight and fast charging capability compared to past generation technologies such as nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium. But like all rechargeable batteries, lithium-ion cells are susceptible to chemical aging over repeated charging cycles. The effect of which is a loss in battery capacity – imagine a fuel tank that shrinks in size ever so slightly over time.

Note the 12 outer bars on the battery gauge which shows available capacity in the first generation Nissan Leaf.

It’s a little-known fact, but Nissan became the first EV manufacturer in the world to offer a warranty on battery capacity loss back in 2013 (for selected markets). The warranty came about after some Leaf owners in North America experienced higher than usual battery capacity loss over the initial years ownership.

Maximum battery capacity (12 bars) as shown on the new Leaf’s digital gauge.
Less than 9-bar condition will trigger the 8-year/160,000 km battery warranty.

For the second-generation Nissan Leaf sold in Malaysia, its 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is covered by an 8-year or 160,000km warranty not only for faults, but also any capacity loss exceeding 33%, which is equivalent to an indicated level of less than 9 bars (out of a total of 12 segments) as shown on the battery capacity gauge on the vehicle’s Multi Information Display.

Now, if only smartphone manufacturers offer warranty for battery capacity loss.


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Denis Wong
In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.