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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.



ed henderson (not verified)    August 14, 2014 - 10:12PM

Does Nissan say that the installation of this battery pack does not void warranty. Also, will Nissan install the battery pack for you.

Aaron Turpen    August 28, 2014 - 12:08PM

In reply to by ed henderson (not verified)

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 (, I'd say that in my opinion, it definitely affects your warranty.

Hong Kerr (not verified)    September 28, 2015 - 12:04PM

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!

shawn tower (not verified)    December 24, 2015 - 5:18AM

In reply to by Hong Kerr (not verified)

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!

Hong Kerr (not verified)    December 26, 2015 - 7:39PM

In reply to by shawn tower (not verified)

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?

Aaron Turpen    December 28, 2015 - 10:15AM

In reply to by Hong Kerr (not verified)

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.

Michael (not verified)    July 28, 2016 - 11:48PM

I've had my 2013 LEAF for 2 1/2 years now and my range on a charge is above 90 mi. In winter and above 100 mi in summer. When I first got it a summer charge was between 108 and 111 miles. I don't know how the EPA got 73 mi on a new LEAF.

Kurt Zublin (not verified)    February 5, 2017 - 4:24PM

I am driving a Nissan Leaf 2013. Can tha range increased by an add-on battery, say from 80 to 120 miles, 50% increase?

Jon eurith (not verified)    May 26, 2017 - 11:52PM

Please send me the details and if this is a leased upgrade or sold and any financing or warranty available for this purchase..Thank you...jon

Jon eurith (not verified)    May 27, 2017 - 12:22PM

I would like more information about how to purchase probably the small version first ,eventually the large version

gilles beaudry (not verified)    August 23, 2017 - 5:31PM

i have a question. If i open a battery pack of 24 kwh (Nissan Leaf) and remove the 48 modules only, leave all the electronics there, and install the 48 modules of a battery pack of 30 kwh, is this going to work. I know that the modules are the same size because i have the dealer repair chapter of the battery pack of nissan leaf 2016 (1600 pages) and both battery packs are in this repair chapter (24 and 30 kwh). The modules for the 24 kwh battery have 500 watts each and the modules for the 30 kwh battery have 625 watts each. thanks

Oliver Klosof (not verified)    August 24, 2017 - 8:19PM

In reply to by gilles beaudry (not verified)

I couldn't say if this would work or not. The voltages must be same or very similar. If the rated or nominal voltage is the same for either pack (same battery chemistry and same number of cells in serial), then it should work. I don't personally have knowledge of what the pack voltage would be, but unless they changed the motor output (KW or HP) between the original (your old leaf) and the 2016 volt you are taking the pack from, it should all work!

lda (not verified)    November 17, 2017 - 7:02AM

Seems like a flawed idea to this 2015 24 kW owner. It would be an expensive "dead weight" most of the time, especially around town for day-to-day driving..

I google'd "Enginer range extender kit" and found their web-site. They seem mostly oriented to converting Prius hybrids to be the equivalent of a Prius plug-in hybrid. I didn't find the Leaf product mentioned on their web-site (prototype?), but maybe I didn't look closely enough?

One of my concerns about the long range 200+ mile plug-ins involves the enormous amount of battery weight ... over 1000 pounds. I think the Tesla's have batteries that weigh 1200 or more pounds for the 85 kW models.

My impression is that my 2015 Leaf with 24 kW has a battery weight of 500 pounds, making it a relatively heavy car for how small it is.

Cassim Rahuman (not verified)    January 27, 2018 - 2:28AM

Basically good news, yet too bulky & expensive; Await battery power density increase and price drop as everybody predicts. Presently Free Piston engine based range extender has edge over battery pack but suppliers not known

Daniel James L… (not verified)    February 21, 2018 - 9:32PM

I drive 89 miles in either direction for work. I have free L2 and CHAdeMO charging at work where I stay for between 8 and 12 hrs 3 days a week. I did not want to drive my 2015 leaf at less than normal cruising speeds and I want to use the accessories just like in my other cars. This being the case I have to split my commute in two. 1st stop at 34 miles when I'm generally at 40% charge, then onward 55 miles to work where I get down to about 18%. The 10kwh pack would probably work for me. The cost is up there but ...... I'm half way there with gas savings from driving my 740iL which was $640.00 a month in gas.
This is a good option for me.

Luke Davison (not verified)    December 3, 2018 - 2:28PM

In reply to by Daniel James L… (not verified)

The problem I see with this is the math doesn't exactly check out in my humble opinion. You have a 2015 leaf and I suspect that if you added the price of the battery and installation you would be pushing close to the value of a new vehicle,
How much more mileage would this give you over a brand new 2018? And for that matter for a little more you could get a 2019 e plus when it hits the market and get even more range for around 35k ish usd. Once you factor incentives, and natural depreciation over time for you 2015 i think you would be better off just paying for the new vheicle.

Terese (not verified)    June 26, 2018 - 12:34AM

What's up, I would like to subscribe for this web site to
obtain most recent updates, so where can i do it please
help out.

Cassim Rahuman (not verified)    June 26, 2018 - 11:16PM

Is the range extender no longer produced? Expected the feedback pressure to result in a lighter and cheaper version based on technology improvements. Did it fall flat on its face due to bulk and cost? Sad that a great innovation fizzled out. Checking on present LiFePo4 costs and size to replicate on DIY effort.

Jim (not verified)    August 14, 2018 - 1:09AM

Three ideas:

1. Swappable battery pack kind of like blue rhino propane. Chips in packs can store charge and state of the battery (old vs. new) to determine exchange value.
2. In the future maybe EV car manufacturers can build battery swap ports into their vehicles.
3. Bolt on car top (might be unstable due to raising the center of gravity) or back/front bumper range extenders/generators to not consume internal space plus aerodynamic and load balanced.

I have to stop about every 65-75 miles anyway just to leak. Front and rear swap ports of 12 kWh each would be perfect.

lectricallarry (not verified)    December 31, 2019 - 1:02PM

It is obvious to me and, I would assume other readers, the solution to the problems of range, charge time, cost and weight is to rent a high AH battery equipped trailer. This would eliminate the problem of modifying the EV charging design and infrastructure that was flawed from conception. If EV manufacturers would have come together with a swappable battery system from the get-go, concerns with "fuel-up" time, range and battery life would have been inconsequential. Although EV drivers have become accustom to free charging, I believe some would be open to the idea of tripling their range at a price. My daily commute is satisfied by my 70 mile range, unless as I say, I want to drive my Leaf when it's raining, windy, dark, cold or hot, or if I want to go fast or uphill. Lord help me if I want to go 100 miles in an Iowa winter.