I am on my second Nissan Leaf having had a Mk1 for 3 1/2 years and this Mk2 now for another year. I bought a Mk2 to replace the Mk1 not just because I got a great price from my dealer (which I did!) but because I actually really like the Leaf. It is the right size, has the right level of spec and serves most of our local motoring needs. However, the battery on the Mk2 is not backwards compatible with the Mk1 but I didn’t see that as a major issue as the capacities are similar and although the Mk2 has a very slightly improved range it is not significant enough to want to upgrade a Mk1 to Mk2 spec.
This all changes now with the recent announcement that the 2016 Nissan Leaf will get a 30kWh battery… a 25% increase. So now there is enough of a difference that Mk1/2 owners might want to upgrade their battery to Mk3 spec when their battery loses range. Unfortunately that is not going to be possible as things stand. Right now Nissan are saying that an upgrade is not planned leaving owners of Mk1 & Mk2 cars with no alternative than to buy a Mk3.
To me this is madness and a huge mistake on the part of Nissan. The Mk1/2 owners are the early adopters that got Nissan into the market of electric cars and yet Nissan seem to do nothing to encourage them to stay with the Nissan brand.
Take me for example… I have been a loyal Nissan customer for the past 5 years buying 2 Nissan Leafs and a Qashqai all brand new. Now, when I am ready to upgrade my Nissan Leaf, in all likelihood, I would gladly stick with Nissan if I could keep the car I have and upgrade the battery to Mk3 spec. As things stand I cannot upgrade the battery so I must buy a new car. However, it is rumoured that BMW are likely to offer the option to buy a battery upgrade to existing customers when they extend the battery size of the i3 and so keeping more customers with the brand.
So Nissan, I say this to you… give your loyal customers an upgrade path. If you increase battery capacity then give us a way to upgrade our existing car to the new battery capacity without having to take another hit on the residuals and buy a new car. If Nissan does not offer an upgrade path to the 2016 spec battery for at least Mk2 owners then I for one will be looking elsewhere in a couple of years time when my range has reduced.