Nissan sues supplier it blames for power-sapped electric cars
Nissan Motor Co. is demanding 122 million euros ($145 million) in damages from an Italian supplier it accuses of supplying about 900,000 faulty batteries that left customers with undercharged electric cars.
The Japanese car giant is suing FIAMM Energy Technology S.p.A., now Elettra 1938 S.p.A., in a London court, claiming the faulty batteries sparked a flurry of warranty claims from disgruntled owners of U.K.-built Qashqai and Juke models.
FIAMM denies the allegations and insists the batteries were manufactured in accordance with specifications provided by Nissan.
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Instead, the cause of the failures was the “faulty design and operation" of the battery management system installed by Nissan, which was supposed to balance fuel use and battery health, according to Stephen Rosen, the company’s lawyer at Collyer Bristow LLP.
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Nissan declined to immediately comment.
The case comes as Nissan and other automakers have started to map out battery plans in Europe in recent months, a sign that competition to ensure adequate supply for their electric vehicles is heating up. U.K. carmakers are especially dependent on an adequate local production network to avoid tariffs when trading with the European Union.
When Nissan switched to batteries supplied by Johnson Controls International Plc, three year warranty claim rates then plummeted from 43% to between 0% and 5%, the company said in court documents.
FIAMM said this was because Nissan later optimized its system for JCI’s batteries.