Nissan is recalling a large number of their Leaf electric vehicles (EVs) over concerns of unintended acceleration. The recall covers nearly 80,000 units in both Canada and the US.
According to the recall notices posted to the Transport Canada and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, 2018-2023 Nissan Leaf EVs may continue accelerating when the accelerator pedal is released, which as you might expect increases the risk of a crash. This issue only occurs under a very specific set of circumstances, as explained by the Japanese automaker in the NHTSA recall.
On LEAF vehicles with affected VCM software, there is a risk of sustained engine torque if a driver takes both of the following actions within 8 seconds after deactivating cruise control, Intelligent Cruise Control or ProPILOT Assist functions: (a) switches driving mode (i.e. from ‘D’ to ‘B’ position, or ‘ECO’ mode, or e-Pedal ‘ON’); and (b) then applies and releases the accelerator pedal.
While the recall has only been launched last month, the issue was first discovered in December 2021, but Nissan was unable to recreate it under testing conditions. After conducting computer simulations for several months they were finally able to recreate the condition using a specific sequence of events. Wanting to be sure they attempted to recreate it in the real-world, but they had limited success, sending them back to the virtual world to better identify the issue.
It took them until the spring of 2023 to finally identify the above noted actions, all of which had to be completed in under 8 seconds, in order for the Leaf to continue accelerating after the pedal was released.
The fix will require a visit to a Nissan dealership where they will reprogram the vehicle control module (VCM).
You can read the recall notice on Transport Canada’s website, or the NHTSA notice below.RCLRPT-23V494-5340