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First Leaf of autumn falls

Glitch: Nissan has issued a voluntary repair notice for over 5000 Leaf EVs due to software problems on some cars.

Nissan to repair 5300 Leaf electric vehicles over software glitch

18 Apr 2011

NISSAN is preparing to bring about 5300 examples of its Leaf electric car back into service departments due to a software problem in the vehicle control module that has caused starting problems on some cars.

The voluntary repair (rather than ‘recall’) comes just months after the Leaf was released onto the Japanese and North American markets, and a matter of weeks following its European launch.

News agency Reuters quoted Nissan as saying that the problem does not affect the Leaf’s safety because it only prevents the car from restarting, rather than causing a loss of power while in motion.

In a suitably hi-tech response to the fault, the Japanese car-maker will issue the voluntary repair notifications to Leaf drivers via the vehicle’s onboard communications system.

A Nissan spokesman told Reuters that Leaf customers will be instructed to contact their local dealer for a free repair, which comprises a software upgrade that in some cases can be done at their home or place of work.

Nissan has reportedly been notified of Leafs failing to start in the US and Japan, where the car was launched in December.

Unlike conventional combustion-engine vehicles that can usually be coaxed into life by a roadside assistance organisation, a software error on a sophisticated electric vehicle requires the specialist equipment of a dealership.

The Leaf is slated for Australian arrival during the first quarter of 2012.

Australia is set to play a small part in the Leaf story as the company’s Dandenong casting plant in Victoria will, from early next year, produce three aluminium components for the car’s electric inverter and its accompanying cooling system at the rate of 22,000 units per month.

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