Could Nissan be getting ready to offer multiple battery pack capacity options on the Nissan Leaf? According to a report on PlugInCars.com, that’s exactly the case, though it’s not clear WHEN this will occur.
Reportedly, Pierre Loing, Nissan’s Vice President of Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, said that
- Nissan will soon be able to package the Leaf battery pack for more capacity
- Nissan will continue using “laminated” batteries
- Nissan has developed battery cells with chemistry tweaked for better survival in hot climates
Loing likened it to offering different sized engines in gas-powered cars.
That’s fine and understandable. What this will hinge on is whether there’s enough room in the Leaf to accommodate differently sized battery packs. Will this option come along with an improved battery chemistry that supports higher energy density (kilowatt-hours per liter)? Or have they developed a new packaging that’s more space efficient?
Unfortunately the PIC article is short on details, and the writer may not have been technically adept enough to explain it.
Of course, an issue with the Leaf is that Nissan originally pushed it as a 100 mile electric car when the EPA rating was about 70 miles. They still often say “100 mile range” but you have to pay attention to the asterisk to understand what they’re really saying, which is in a disclaimer at the bottom of the page in tiny font. Couple that with the premature range degradation issues, and Nissan has a bit of a hole to dig themselves out of in regards to battery packs for the Leaf.
By making a new heat-tolerant battery chemistry, Nissan should truly address the range degradation issue. If only they’d be clearer when they talk about driving range.
I suspect one vehicle that will work out well with multiple battery size options is the Nissan e-NV200. This is the electric version of the NV200 multi-purpose van that Nissan has developed. That vehicle of course uses lots of the Leaf drive train components, but puts them into a larger vehicle that’s focused to commercial uses like taxicabs and delivery vans. Being a larger vehicle I’d imagine there’s more room for a larger battery pack.
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