Enginer 8 kilowatt-hour battery pack for the Nissan Leaf

Add 40 miles driving range to Nissan Leaf with Enginer's add-on battery pack

Enginer, maker of a Plug-in Prius conversion kit, has developed an add-on battery pack for the Nissan Leaf to extend its driving range.

In the gasoline cars market there is a large industry supplying add-on parts and accessories for a wide range of purposes. In the due course of time there will surely be an accessories market for electric or hybrid cars. Enginer is one such company, being most famous for the plug-in Prius conversion kit that's been on the market for several years. The company recently announced, on the My Nissan Leaf forum, a range of add-on battery packs for the Nissan Leaf to extend the Leaf's driving range by as much as 40 miles.

Getting a long driving range with an electric car is simply a matter of carrying enough energy storage capacity. The huge range of the Tesla Model S (EPA certified at 265 miles) is due simply to the 85 kilowatt-hours of energy storage, compared to the 73 mile driving range of the Nissan Leaf due to its 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack. When you buy an electric car you're stuck with the design considerations of the company which built the car. But what if you could add modifications to the car? Gasoline car owners do this all the time, why not electric car owners?

What Enginer has done is develop a method of tapping into the Leaf's high voltage power system, to add additional battery capacity. Kit installation does not cut any wires, and the car can be returned to stock state at any time. The company claims it does not void the Leaf's warranty.

The kit consists of a large box containing a 48 volt lithium-iron-phosphate battery pack, and a DC-DC converter to step the voltage up to what's necessary for the Nissan Leaf. The box does take up room in the trunk area. The 4 kilowatt-hour model weighs 160 lbs, extends the driving range by 20 miles, and costs $3,495. The 8 kilowatt-hour model weighs 260 lbs, extends the driving range by 40 miles, and costs $5,495. The 12 kilowatt-hour model weighs 360 lbs, and costs $7,495. Enginer's battery pack is rated for 2,000 charge cycles. We should note that the miles of driving range Enginer quotes is similar to the "100 miles of driving range" that Nissan claims, when in fact the EPA certified range of the Leaf is 73 miles. That is to say we should expect the actual range extension to be less than the figure Enginer quotes, and the actual range extension will depend on driving habits.

Charging the battery pack is done via the J1772 port on the Leaf. This battery pack does not get charged if the Leaf is charged via the CHADEMO DC quick charge port.

Installation is not terribly hard, but should be done by someone competent with tools and electrical wiring. The Enginer range extender kit taps into the DC High Voltage wires, the AC wires for the charging system, some EV controller signal wires, and the charger DC relays. The website has a series of pictures outlining the steps with which you can gauge whether or not you are up to this task.

This sort of addon unit is an obvious accessory that Leaf (or other electric car) owners would want, whether from a 3rd part as in this case or from the manufacturer. One can imagine a car that's designed for, say, a 100 mile driving range but set up to allow adding an extra battery pack for longer trips. The battery pack could be rented much like we rent trailers for a few days at a time.

Source: http://www.pluginamerica.org/accessories/enginer-auxiliary-battery-pack http://enginer.us

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Comments

Does Nissan say that the installation of this battery pack does not void warranty. Also, will Nissan install the battery pack for you.
need reply for the above question.
This is not a Nissan product and Nissan will not install this for you. If this is added to your LEAF, it is an after-market addition and therefore does change your warranty. I've reached out to Nissan for clarification, but just given the modifications required to tap into the electrical system (http://enginer.us/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=Leaf+Installation+Manual), I'd say that in my opinion, it definitely affects your warranty.
I don't know what Nissan's opinion is. Nissan is not listed as an installer, and is extremely unlikely to do the installation.
This is a solution in search of a problem. For daily-drives (commutes) most people will find it just extra dead weight. For long road-trips, it's inability to quick-charge makes it next to useless except for people who only want to go about 150 miles per day! What's needed is a towable or (temporary internal) genset using LP or gasoline for those rare long trips. An alternative that would be lighter and more economical? A pusher-trailer, which would allow you to recharge using regenerative braking and would not contain a redundant generator of it's own!
Your attitude is what is truly annoying to many , about electric car viability , do you live in North America? The average driving range in Canada round trip often is above 150 miles, yes no shit! Many working class drivers in Canada drive over a hour and some cases over two hours to get to work, not to mention side trips to the stores for supplies! until people like you figure that out your remarks are just insulting!
You seem to be easily offended. Average commuter trip length is 40, not 150 miles. That is a fact, not open to discussion! If your commute is longer, you are "above average"! Still, the problem with this pack is it doesn't allow people to take long road trips because it DOESN'T HAVE QUICK-CHARGE capability! Do you really want to wait 8 hours to recharge your car every 150 miles of a 1000 mile trip?
Many EV proponents are very one-tracked and don't consider the entire picture. Yes the "average commute" is less than 40 miles. But commuting is only about 1/3 of what people do with their cars. According to the DOT, driving to and from work is only about 26.7 percent of the average car's usage in the United States. The other two thirds are split between shopping and errands and recreational activities. No one collects much data on those two items, but most of us can at least anecdotally see that those 2/3 of the driving experience are not likely as short nor are they as guaranteed to have a plug on the other end. When EVangelists realize this, maybe they'll finally understand the automotive market.