Nissan Leaf gets a new battery pack

A New Battery Pack For The Nissan Leaf

The new generation of Nissan Leaf should not only have a faster charger but also a different battery pack. Find out what this means to potential EV buyers.

New generation of cars usually announce something new and ideally something better. While in the world of internal combustion engines, ICE, the trend has been more facelifts than substantial improvements, things are very different in the world of electric vehicles, EV.

New EV Generations. If the gasoline car world has bored you these last two decades, the world of electric cars should cure the somnolence. Indeed, electric cars have everything to prove, all to lose. If the current generations of electric cars have around 70 to 80 miles of range, the newer ones are pushing north of 100. If today’s EV have quaint 3.3 kWh on-board chargers, the newer ones promise 6.6, slashing in half their Level 2 charge time.

Nissan Leaf Gets A New Pack. After the initial excitement, the Nissan Leaf sales dropped, understandingly so. According to Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, this new pack should lower the purchase price and boost the Leaf sales figures. Ghosn reported on the not-so-EV-friendly Wall Street Journal: “There is a second generation of battery coming (online) now…which is less costly than the previous one. We are in a race in which you reduce the costs and adapt the price.”

China-Japan Strain. Unfortunately, the tense diplomatic current situation between China and Japan could be affecting Chinese demand for Japanese-brand vehicles, especially battery operated ones. To this, Ghosn plays down the importance to this point although he did warn that if the situation degrades, it could negatively affect Nissan’s single largest-volume market sales.

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The Numbers. The Japanese carmaker sold more than 35,000 Leaf since it started offering it back in 2010. After the initial euphoria, the August sales numbers this year showed a clear slowdown to 50% less than a year earlier. Only 685 vehicles were sold in that period and 9,674 Leafs were sold in the U.S. in 2011. To be fair August has never been a traditionally strong month for car sales and cannot accurately reflect the current reality.

Unfortunately very little is known about the new battery pack Nissan is planning on using in its new Leaf. It is important to remember that Nissan makes its own battery packs, compared to Ford, GM and many others who either buy the cells directly from South Korean LG Chem, or have the company manufacture the battery pack entirely. With the loan Nissan received to build the Nissan Leaf in Tennessee, at its Smyrna plant, Nissan can’t afford to drop the plant and buy its pack elsewhere.

Nonetheless, this is good news for the second wave of potential electric drivers. Since the early adoption wave shows signs of slowing down, the early majority adopters might be ripe for an updated Nissan Leaf with a better battery pack.

Comments

What about the performance in the desert regions? The owners in Phoenix are dealing with plummeting values and rapid battery capacity loss. Will these new batteries have the same problem in phoenix? And how can we trust in another Nissan ev product when they still are ignoring their current product's desert problems, with them denieing battery warrantee claims, and leaving those desert owners stranded?
Hi Anonymous, I can imagine how frustrating it is to see a dimishing battery capoacity, especially on a $40,000 car. Last I checked, Nissan was looking into why the battery pack was showing signs of degradation in hot weather. It would make sense that the next battery pack will come with a active thermal management system. Remember the Nissan Leaf was the first real, serious mass produced EV and as such, comes with its own unforeseen problems. It would surprise me to hear the next generation using the same systems. As far as "plummeting values", I'm not sure what you are referring to. The cost of reselling the car? Thanks, Nicolas
The plummeting values being referenced is the "Resale" value of the car. The only news about new batteries for the Leaf contain another chemistry tweak and no active cooling. This new heat tolerant chemistry should be available sometime in 2014. 3 years too late for some of us.
If they can get the sticker down $5000 (or more) and the range closer to 100 miles (or more), I personally know 4 people who will buy one. I myself will be getting an American-made 2013 model regardless.
Hi Mike, I think they are doing their best with the cheaper part. As far as range, we should see some improvement also. Like I said in my previous comment, this was version one of a long line of cars to come that can only get better. Thanks, Nicolas
I hope Nissan makes a replacement battery pack for the early model Leafs. If not there WILL be aftermarket replacement packs.
Well there is good new and bad. Nissan has announced they will supply replacement packs but will not "SELL" them. you have to lease them for $100 a month. The program details should be announced sometime in 2014 which is already upon us. A third party replacement pack would be sweet as long as they work out all the details upfront and don't use the early adopters like me as the Beta testers. We bought a 2011 SV and love the car but HATE the battery. Not impressed with Nissan either. Hope they can turn this around soon.