Brake failure problems reported in first-generation Nissan Leaf
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Owners of first-generation Nissan Leaf EVs should be wary, following reports of failures in electronically-driven brake control units in models around the world. The findings come following a statement from Kiwi electric car advocate and coalition flipthefleet.org.
"Our research has leads us to believe that these failures can be attributed to faulty ‘Series-A’ firmware that is written into the brake control unit at the time of manufacture (or a subsequent firmware update to ‘Series-B’)," they said.
"Analysis of the vehicle’s fault code history after a failure indicates that the other systems in the car no longer get any response when trying to communicate with the brake control unit. In other words, it appears that the brake control unit ‘crashes’, causing a partial failure in the overall braking system of the vehicle."
In total, flipthefleet.org say that there have been 60 reported braking failures globally from Nissan Leaf models built between November 2012 and February 2016. The breakdown of that 60 is weighted heavily in America (46 cases), with 10 cases across the UK, and five in New Zealand. Curiously, that leaves none from Japan.
The organisation stressed to specify that the problems appear isolated to 'Series-A' firmware from earlier models, and didn't include issues in cars operating with 'Series-B' firmware.
"Our research has shown that in the case of a simulated failure, reduced braking ability is still available to the driver,” they added.
“You may need to slam the brake pedal hard and right to the floor to get some braking.”
It caps off an interesting few days for Nissan, following the "serious misconduct" and subsequently messy exit of former CEO and chairman Carlos Ghosn [pictured above with the Leaf]. He was arrested last Monday for allegedly under reporting his income and misusing company funds.
Flipthefleet.org have passed on their information to the NZ Transport Agency for assessment. They estimate that there could be as many as 2400 cases spread across New Zealand.
You can read the full flipthefleet.org release by clicking here.