Nissan Leaf battery replacement

Are you ready to dispose of your electric vehicle? Well, think twice because you can give your high-mileage Leaf new life by simply replacing its battery just for $5,499

7/8/14 6:39 am chumakdenis 1

The Nissan Leaf has been on the market since 2010, so there’s a good chance that some of them are getting close to 60,000 miles. This is important because it’s when the 5 years/60,000 miles capacity loss warranty expires.

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But what to do when your warranty has expired?Just dispose of her?

Don't be pessimistic since Nissan Motor Company plans saved us.

Second life

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Nissan has announced that pricing for a replacement battery start at $5,499 (after a $1,000 credit for turning in the old pack, which is required), plus installation fees and tax. The installation is estimated at roughly 3 hours of labor.

Fitting the replacement pack to 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leaf models requires a special $225 installation kit, which makes the new battery "backward compatible" with even the earliest Leaf models.

More powerful battery

The replacement 24-kilowatt-hour packs will use a new and more heat-tolerant battery chemistry that reduces capacity loss under very high temperatures.

Nissan declined, however, to discuss any potential plans for offering higher-capacity replacement batteries in the future.

Used-car confidence

Overall, the announcement means that the buyer of a used Nissan Leaf will know for certain how much it will cost to replace the battery, if its energy capacity should fall to 70 percent of the original figure.

And that could well give electric cars a much longer life than previously thought.

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Nissan's aggressive pricing also demolishes the argument by many electric-car skeptics that "new batteries will cost tens of thousands of dollars."

While Nissan may be losing money initially on the $5,500 price, it is likely counting on low initial demand for replacement packs and future economies of scale in battery making as sales of its battery-electric vehicles continue to rise.

Customer feedback

As of the end of this month, about 125,000 Nissan Leafs will have been sold globally - roughly 56,000 of them in the U.S.

The news on the pack-replacement cost appeared in a post on the NissanLeaf forum by Brian Brockman, a senior manager of corporate communications at Nissan.

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In 24 hours, the post generated more than 125 comments - largely approving, though far from unanimously so.

The retail price replaces an earlier lease plan for replacement batteries announced by Nissan in June 2013. As Brockman said, "We went back to the drawing board" after "spirited discussion (and very vocal criticism)" of that plan.

The new heat-tolerant battery chemistry will also be fitted to all future Nissan Leaf vehicles, starting with the 2015 models now on sale.

4R Energy Corporation or thinking about environment

Nissan will ensure that the old battery is recycled and reused as part of their 4R Energy business.

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Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, “4R Energy Corporation”, in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. Earlier this year they launched the world’s first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles.

The used EV batteries that will be recycled into large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. The prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries.

 

 

'Lizard' battery standard

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While the performance and range of the Leaf doesn't change with the updated battery, Nissan says the new formulation - called by some Leaf advocates the "lizard battery" - is more capable of resisting very high temperatures.

Unlike many other battery-electric cars, the Nissan Leaf uses only passive cooling for its battery - meaning the pack simply sheds heat to the air rather than shedding heat to either cooled air or liquid coolant circulating through the pack itself.

This had led to capacity loss in a few Leafs operated in extremely hot cities like Phoenix, Arizona.

While Nissan maintained that those losses were due to high mileage and within expected parameters, the pressure exerted by a small number of vocal and extremely unhappy owners raised concerns over capacity loss among Leaf owners at large.

New-battery finance plan coming

Nissan will offer financing options to customers who need to replace their battery. Details about this financing probably won’t be finalized until closer to the end of the year, but Nissan expects to keep monthly payments close to $100 per month.

Like the batteries found in a new Nissan Leaf, the replacement batteries will carry an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty against defects and a five-year/60,000-mile against capacity loss.

Old batteries turned in during the replacement process will be recycled, Nissan said, or possibly retained for secondary usage - perhaps for building energy storage - by the company's separate 4R Energy business unit.

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