Is it a mistake if Nissan waits until 2017 to unveil better battery pack for the Nissan Leaf? A month ago I covered some rumors suggesting the “Hot Battery” and other battery improvements were just around the corner for Nissan, and that the company might even do a mid-year upgrade of the battery pack. We all got excited over that because of course we want the Leaf to have better battery tech.
Yesterday, on autonews.com, an interview with Nissan’s Andy Palmer said that the major Refresh of the Leaf would wait until 2017. This will be the 2nd generation Leaf, and its styling will be more mainstream, and it will have better battery technology. In the meantime, the “hot” battery is coming “soon”.
We’ll leave consideration of the styling to others – while I’ve talked with many who think the Leaf is butt-ugly, I like its looks a lot. To each their own, really. But what’s most important for widespread adoption is the battery technology.
Palmer is quoted by autonews.com saying “The battery chemistry is all about range and energy density. That’s where you see the technology moving very, very fast… This really is the game-changing technology.” He said that without giving a concrete prediction of the driving range. That is, other than to refer to the hydrogen fuel cell cars and other alternative vehicles being developed by rivals, and that for electric cars to remain competitive they must have at least 300 kilometers (186 miles) electric driving range.
I quite agree that 150+ miles electric driving range coupled by proper fast charging would be quite a game changer for electric cars.
The 2011 Leaf had an EPA range of 73 miles, and the 2014 Leaf has an 84 mile EPA range. While this is a significant improvement, it’s not the kind of improvement most are looking for.
For those eagerly wanting the “hot battery”, which will survive well under hot weather, Palmer said to autonews.com that it’s coming “soon.” But, while “soon” is nice news as a concrete indicator, it is frustrating as a vague indicator of “when”.
Why will the next generation Leaf not be released until 2017? Palmer says the Leaf is on a “normal product cadence” following its global launch in 2013. Yes, the first availability was in 2010/2011 but it seems he’s counting the 2013 model year, when localized production began in Europe and North America, as the global launch. Four model years afterward is 2017.
The long-awaited Infiniti EV will also come along in 2017. It was originally meant for 2014, but they delayed that car to wait for better battery technology.
It’s interesting that several companies – GM, Tesla and now Nissan – are saying greatly improved battery technology will come in 2017.
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