• May 27th 2010 at 2:59PM
  • 86
Nissan broke ground on a new battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee yesterday (figuratively, anyway, the actual bulldozing doesn't start for a few weeks). For now, we will call this the U.S. Leaf battery plant, but it's really part of Nissan's strategy to electrify more and more of its vehicles. As we mentioned yesterday, once it is up and running at the end of 2012, the plant will have the capacity to make 200,000 battery packs a year. The nearby vehicle assembly facility where the U.S.-built Leafs will come to life will have a maximum capacity to make 150,000 Leafs a year alongside other Nissan vehicles like the Altima and Pathfinder. The extra capacity, if used, could be sold to other automakers or go into non-Leaf Nissan products.

In Smyrna yesterday, Nissan's director of product planning, Mark Perry, gave AutoblogGreen some more information on the Leaf battery pack. As we know, Nissan says the 24 kWh pack gives the Leaf a 100-mile range on the gentle LA4 cycle (meaning it probably isn't a totally reliable guide to estimate real-world driving). Still, this means the test packs have been charged and discharged a lot, because Perry said Nissan has done "hundreds of thousands" of miles of reliability testing on the battery packs, including dunking them in a pool and freezing them. Not that we'd expect him to say anything different, but Perry is confident that the battery pack is totally safe.

What's in the pack? 48 modules, each with four cells (so, 192 cells total) arranged in a big square. The part that sits under the real seat is a little taller than the rest, as the modules are stacked vertically while the other modules lay horizontal under the front seats and floor. The entire pack weighs around 600 pounds and contains around 9 pounds of lithium. How will people use the Leaf? Find out Nissan's expectations after the jump.


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Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


Once out in the real world, Nissan expects most Leaf charging to be done using Level 2 (240V) units, because that's what most people will get at home and what will be used in public chargers. Level 2 chargers can get the pack from zero to 100 percent in about eight hours. Level 3/direct quick charging could happen, but it's not widely available yet. Meanwhile, Level 1, aka recharging from a standard 110V outlet, will be "more for emergencies," Perry said. It'll also take ages (think 20+ hours).

How you recharge the pack will affect its life. Nissan has said it expects to Leaf drivers to have around 70 to 80 percent capacity left in the pack after ten years. What will get drivers to the upper or lower end of that range? The amount of fast charging one does. With regular Level 2 charging, drivers should expect 80 percent life left in the battery. With a lot of Level 3 charging – two or three times a day – the pack will only be at the 70 percent level. Level 3 charging is appealing because it can get the battery from zero to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes, but there is a very clear drawback if it becomes a habit. Perry said that most people will be happy with 240V home charging:
The people who drive EVs today, they talk about charging like this: "Charging to me is five seconds. I plug it in, I walk away and forget about it." To them, it's really pretty simple.
What might be coming down the road? Perry said there is no Moore's law in battery production, but did say Nissan is seeing about an eight percent improvement in things like cost reduction, range and efficiency, year over year. Whether this results in cheaper packs or lighter/smaller/better ones will depend on what the early adopters do with their Leafs and what they tell Nissan they want. What's your preference?


PRESS RELEASE

Type: Laminated lithium-ion battery
Total capacity (kWh): 24
Power output (kW): Over 90
Number of modules: 48

Battery pack contents:
-Positive electrodes – Lithium manganate
-Negative electrodes – Carbon
-Cells
-Modules
-Assembly parts

Charging times:
-Quick charger DC50kW (0 to 80%): apx. 30 min
-Home-use AC240V charging dock (0-100%): less than 8 hrs

Battery layout: Under seat & floor
Battery life: After 10 years, the battery is expected to have 70-80 percent of its original storage capacity




Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by the manufacturer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 86 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Battery would have 70-80 percent capacity left in 10 years? that is hard to believe.
      I haven't even heard of NiMH batteries pulling this off.

      Am i missing something.... or is this just a miracle battery unlike none other? :p

      As for the quick charge thing, that's pretty typical. All my gadgets will report 80%-100% after a very brief charge, then plummet down to 50%-75% rapidly. Maybe this is just a lithium characteristic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My HTC built Google Phone (Nexus One) doesn't have charging "smarts" that keeps the SOC from going all the way to 100%.

        But I flashed a custom ROM that does. So it shows as charged (without forcing more) at around 91%
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thank you for the education, dear sirs.

        I just have a lot of experience with computer repair and such. I guess i have never *seen* lithium batteries last longer than 5 years ( nowhere close ) so it's just hard for me to take in.. ya know.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Needless to say, your gadgets have neither a smart charger nor a good charge indicator, nor anything that can protect them from being discharged excessively. The Leaf will have top of the line charging circuitry and battery management system. Your cell phone, etc., is meant to be junk after a year or two, it's called planned obsolescence and gadget manufacturers rely on it to fill out their quarterly profit statement. You can, however, buy replacement batteries that have built-in protection circuitry that prevents over-discharging and over-charging. The Leaf benefits from a decade of lithium ion battery research tailored to EVs.

        Here's an example of lithium batteries with protection circuitry built in:
        "A protection circuit is attached to the battery to ensure that you do not overcharge or over discharge the battery."
        (link: http://www.dinodirect.com/TrustFire-Protected-18650-Lithium-Battery-3-7V-2400mAh/AFFID-37.html?cur=USD )

        Here's another one:
        http://www.amazon.com/Kit-RCR123A-Rechargeable-Protected-Batteries/dp/9575871979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1275000542&sr=8-1

        I'm not saying these would work in your gadgets, just providing info and a place to start your research.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The reason that it appears your charge is 80-100% then plummets is likely due to the voltage spike (V = I^2*Z), where I = current and Z = internal resistance. Your state-of-charge monitoring is most likely based on voltage. When you are charging, the voltage spikes up and when you are discharging it spikes down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's because your electronic gadgets don't manage their batteries the way electric cars do. Most of them will happily charge and discharge from 0-100% and not complain about that kind of abuse.

        I have a couple Li-Ion batteries in gadgets in my house that are two years old now, and working like they're nearly new. Largely because I a) don't let them discharge to 0 and b) I don't leave them plugged in when not actively in use (especially with respect to my laptop). Item b typically kills laptop batteries in a short period of time because the charger will stupidly try recharging the battery to 100% after it has dipped down to only 99.8% due to self-discharge. There's also settings in Windows that will warn and/or shut down the computer before a certain depth of discharge (the default is 5% to warn, 3% to shut down), and adjusting these settings to around 30% will extend the battery's life by several years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There is a lot of interesting stuff here. The lithium given at 9 lbs is more usually reckoned as lithium carbonate, of which it forms about 18%, so we have around 20kilos of lithium carbonate, rather less than the calculation typically used of 1kg per kwh.
      This has cost implications, as battery grade lithium carbonate costs about $50kg, so you are saving around $200.
      It's a shame that Perry did not give the average daily mileage he was calculating his battery lifetimes on, but presumably it is about 12-14,000 miles, making the battery if usually slow charged good for around 120-140,000 miles, better than the 100,000 we had been led to expect.
      The economics of the car are considerably improved by this, as most calculations were based on a battery life of around 6-7 years.
      It sure looks as though Nissan likes to surprise to the upside again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was always ticked off at CARB for that move about the 10 year warranty on batteries to get the credits. They don't have anything remotely like that against any ICE car so why do the batteries in a hybrid have to have a 10 year warranty. Will they force the same requirements on a transmission or traditional engine?

        Nope.

        I'd like to think that it was a well intentioned rule to keep costs down for consumers but the replacement cost for a 4-8kWh hybrid battery pack in 2016-2018 is likely to be less than a new transmission anyway. It was another example of a disadvantage for a plug in vehicle.

        At least it didn't apply to full BEVs....yet. We'll see what else they come up with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So much fun with the regulations... oh joy! 8>)

        http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/levprog/cleandoc/clean_2009_my_hev_tps_12-09.pdf
        page 16 (3.2d)

        You're right.. it is only an extra incentive for meeting CARB requirement (get more points towards the automakers production mandates of ZEVs) if they include an "extended" warranty on the energy storage device (10 years, 150,000 miles) for a "PZEV" (type of hybrid).

        • 5 Years Ago
        I think most automakers use 12,000/yr for passenger cars as a standard.

        I wasn't too surprised at these batteries lasting for 10 years at 75% or more.

        The regulations for California require automakers to warranty the Li-ion batteries for Plug In cars for 10 years, 100,000 miles

        This doesn't mean they might not warranty them for less in other states... but they are engineered to last that long.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The regulations for California require automakers to warranty the Li-ion batteries for Plug In cars for 10 years, 100,000 miles"

        I thought that's only if they are part of the emissions system for an ICE, i.e. a hybrid (CCR section 1962, "defects warranty for a PZEV"). The Tesla Roadster doesn't have a battery warranty. Can you cite sources? Have fun with the California Code of Regulation :-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think they had got some pressure to consider the hybrid powertrain (to include the battery) as part of the "emissions" system. What was the justification? Well, the hybrid components significantly reduced tailpipe emissions.

        Not knowing how all that stuff works, CARB just signed off.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quick charging is BS. Stopping for 30 minutes for every 1 hour of highway driving is not a viable solution to using an EV for road trips. I wouldn't use one at a shopping mall or movie theater, because I wouldn't drive to such a place knowing that I don't have the charge to get back home and other EV-owners might be using up the limited number of charge-station parking spots. I could see AAA tow trucks being equipped with quick chargers, but I don't see how it would fit into most EV owners daily usage of the car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, I really want to get a Leaf next year, if the price is right, but I don't understand this obsession with 'infrastructure'. I don't think I would ever go more than 70 miles in my Leaf, I may charge up at my girlfriends parents house and give them a pound (probably they'd refuse to accept any money for charging). I've thought about taking a longer journey, but for the foreseeable future I can't see having enough trust in there being a working and available fast charger at the points on the longer trips that I would need them. Maybe by 2015 I'd risk a 200 mile plus round trip ;-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Netptronix "This is why i have more faith in the Chevy Volt."

        That is why choice is good.

        There are advantages to both.
        EREV: Alleviate Range Anxiety.
        Pure EV: No extra ICE to carry around, pay for and maintain.

        If you are in a multi car family(most are), you can just replace a commuter car with an EV and cover road trips in one of your other cars.



        • 5 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        There's a couple issues. One is a lot of times people don't charge them before storing (I've seen this happen with totaled EVs where they are stored and the batteries become permanently damaged). Since there is some self discharge, eventually the battery will discharge to nothing and it can permanently damage the cells (but this should take weeks to months to happen depending on if you have active cooling like the Tesla which may turn on even when you have the car off).

        The other thing is storing batteries in hot areas for a long time (like a hot parking lot for weeks) is a bad idea for long term life. There are ways too alleviate this (like the solar powered fan used by the Prius to bring in air flow to cool the car), but it's still not a good idea.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Careful there Neptro....us hillbillies are people too. Don't you pay any attention to those dueling banjos you hear somewhere behind you...you're just fine son. LOL
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are RV parks in the UK, but I don't think they're as common as in the US, or maybe I just don't pay them attention at the moment. I do think it will be possible and maybe not too risky to take the Leaf on a long journey, but since for me it would be my commuter car and our main car for every other trip I don't see the need to take the Leaf on a long journey.

        At the moment we can't really manage with only one car, at some point it would be nice to have just one EV, maybe with longer range, and for my gf to use public transport (I don't think that will go down too well!). Maybe in 10 years plug-in hybrids will be as common and as cheap as regular ICE cars now, that would be ideal for us!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Evan, If you do 55 mph you will be driving for closer to 2 hrs than one on the hwy. 55 is slower than 75 but 55 is much faster than running. The Leaf is suppose to be most efficient at 55 mph.

        The Leaf will be able to tell you if chargers are in use.

        Using the Leaf on a 3k road trip, no. If it is a choice of me taking my EV on a 200 mile trip or driving my 05 pickup 4dr,4wh I will take the EV and put up with the oh so inconvenient 30 minute charging and say, "good day sir", to Exxon, contributions to trade deficits and the middle east.


        Nep said, "That's why these cars will be middle-upper class toys for a while, unfortunately."

        How dare you! If it is any consolation, I represent the middle class as well as upper, less and less everyday. Take your hillbilly Volt and enjoy! :) You would have to be technical wizard, electrinics engineer to make it all work. You would void the warranty. LOL.

        The dealer said they had to buy a fork lift for there service dept so they can take the packs out if needed. The dealer said Nissan would only let them make 7% on each Leaf.
        The dealer said fast charging would be available at the dealership and it would cost 200k to install. There are huge power lines practically going across their parking lots at that dealership. The dealership said the service guys hate the Leaf. The salesman said he does not pay attention to gas prices, like me he has a 4x4, 4dr pu and a Vette, that he is forced to drive but I am not as I keep track of the price of gas. The dealer said they would not be allowed to store Leafs on their lot because Nissan did not think they would store well, this leads one to believe their will not be a inventory available on lots like ICE cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Alan:

        They don't have RV parks in the UK? :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah but this is cool for homeowners / suburbanites... not city dwellers like me where you only have room for one car, sometimes no car!

        I suppose i don't like the idea of having one EV car and one gas car, it really negates the positive effects of the EV. You can have both in one package with the Volt. I can't imagine the generator needing the same kind of maintenance anyway.

        Yeah, it's a half measure but i think it's a good one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The dealer said they would not be allowed to store Leafs on their lot because Nissan did not think they would store well..."

        That's a strange thing to say - what issues might there be in storing a Leaf? How much time are they talking about as "storage" - a few days, a few weeks...?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's why these cars will be middle-upperclass toys for a while, unfortunately.

        This is why i have more faith in the Chevy Volt.

        I wonder if you could charge the battery while you drive... then all you gotta do is run a generator in the trunk... hillbilly electric mobility!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks Jake.

        I figured self-discharge would be a relatively small loss, and I understand that high temps can really mess with batteries, but I suppose this is more of a problem for the Leaf, which doesn't have (as I understand) and active cooling system.

        It would really suck to go on a typical two-week summer vacation and get back to realize you've effed up your Leaf because you left it parked out in the sun... I know the Karma will also be equipped similarly to the Prius, with a solar panel to power the battery cooling system.

        I'm more surprised the Nissan dealer EVSuperhero talked with was concerned the he'd have Leafs sitting on the lot for any extended amount of time!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Lestakeawalk. The dealer had 30-40 hours training on the Leaf but did not know much, I have told you most of what I remember.
        You know how dealers are, they let the batteries go dead on ICE vehicles quite frequently.

        To store my EV, when it will not be used for a couple of weeks, the company says to store at 70% SOC, flip a few switches, and it will be fine. Other EV experts say storing at 50% SOC is best for lion batteries.

        Most dealers don't run that tight of ship on their lots, Nissan is probably concerned that even if they instruct them how to store them properly they will screw it up. What with batteries costing what they do, i don't blame Nissan.


      • 5 Years Ago
      Nospam,
      I have an EV also. Don't you have to wonder at those who envision calling a towtruck when their batteries get low? It is hard to get over 1/4 mile from an AC outlet. All you have to do is ask. (And carry an extension cord :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Battery life: After 10 years, the battery is expected to have 70-80 percent of its original storage capacity"

      I'd like to know what "10 years" means. Is that calendar time, or is that assuming a certain number of miles and charges per year?

      What if I only drive 6,000 miles per year instead of 12,000 miles? Will the battery have a 100% capacity for longer than 10 years? On the flip side, what if I drive 75 miles a day and charge the battery every day? Will that shorten the battery's lifespan or is it still 10 years to 80% capacity no matter the usage?
        • 7 Months Ago
        Since Nissan is probably using a combination of Shelf and cycle life:

        You can probably add a few years. But it also depends how it lived that life. Too cold? Too hot? At what SOC did you leave it sitting on average?

        If you find out what operating temp and SOC which that particular chemistry likes to sit at... you may be able to add 4 or 5 years to the life.

        But they do there calculations based on the Average driver.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Sorry, Jake. I missed your comment. You may well be right.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Since Nissan plan to re-purpose the batteries to static storage after they finish their lives in cars it seems safe to assume that they don't have many shelf life problems and will hold charge for long after 10 years, so for this chemistry it appears that how often and how fast it is charged are the two important factors.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Joe,
        Since they are going to have to guarantee the things their figures can't be based on the average driver, but have to be very conservative.
        They have to be worked out to get an idiot in a poor climate past 100k or 10 years.
        I hope that Nissan come out with a write up on the ideal conditions for the battery, and the ability to program for different charging regimes.
        For instance if you normally only use the car moderately, it might pay to normally charge to only, say 90% of full, and it might be that this would extend life considerably.
        The only battery that we really have full data set for is the Toshiba, and that is so durable that you don't really have to bother with how you charge it!
        • 7 Months Ago
        Batteries have both calendar life and cycle life. Calendar life means the battery will degrade even if you don't use it and you keep it in storage. A battery is usually regarded as end of life when it can only hold 70-80% of its original charge (although it may be still useful for stationary storage).
        High temperature and high charge levels (near 100% charge) will decrease calendar life.

        Next is cycle life. For most automotive batteries, this is ~1000 full cycles (this means if you charge it to 0-50% and then discharge to 50-0%, it counts only as half a cycle). To get the estimated life in terms of miles, you multiply the full range (100-0% charge, although some cars will not let use the entire charge, so you need to figure it out from the pack size and efficiency rating of the car). For the Leaf at ~100 miles, you get 100miles/cycle * 1000cycles = ~100k miles.
        Charging/discharging faster will generally decrease the cycle life.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the Leaf could charge while running, I see an option to range extend it with a gasoline generator in the trunk like this one:
      http://huahe.manufacturer.globalsources.com/si/6008817803284/pdtl/Portable-power/1023406695/Gasoline-Generator.htm
      plugged in the Leaf's fast charger plug, it could keep the car running for longer trips ;)

      That would be perfect because only when you need a longer range you would carry the generator, and not always like a Chevrolet Volt ;)
        • 7 Months Ago
        :) it was the first site google came with "How much electricity does an electric car require?"

        Let's hope Nissan also make an Android App for controlling the Leaf, because there's no way I'm changing my Nexus One for an iPhone... :P

        BTW, I still think 1Kw can move a car slowly until air friction limits the maximum speed.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Using Yahoo Answers says it all.
        • 7 Months Ago
        According to this guy, it should have enough power to keep the car running at highway speeds..
        Anyway, I would be happy if it could run at 80km/h when battery is empty, hell, if it could do 20km/h it would be better than stopped.

        But for this to be practical, it would be nice to have a fast charge plug inside the trunk, and an adaptable tail pipe in the trunk going out of the car also :)
        • 7 Months Ago
        And since Yahoo Answers award points to people who get their "answer accepted first"... it causes every idiot with an opinion or a guess to just type in a reply as quickly as possible.

        9 times out of 10, no research was done.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Mike,
        We built an electric SUV and measured it as an actual 27hp (about 20kW) to maintain highway speed at 70mph on flat road. I've found numbers before on the Prius and it was something like 17hp but I can't find the stupid link right now.

        But it takes a more than 5 hp to keep a car going even at 60.

        I put together a spreadsheet to calculate these things depending on the car size, weight, aerodynamics, etc. Using this, I was able to predict the Tesla Roadster within 1% of their published numbers. Ignoring mechanical losses and road/tire friction, the aerodynamic drag alone for the Leaf will take about...

        (Looking at the Leaf and taking the information that is available):
        Height: 1.55m
        Width: 1.77m
        Coefficient of Drag: .26 (my guess as they don't publish it)

        @60mph: 7.0kW (~9.5hp)
        @70mph: 11.1kW (~15hp)

        Adding in all the mechanical losses and everything would add another hp or two to both those numbers. So about 11hp at 60mph and 17hp at 70mph. That wind resistance adds up fast as speed increases above 70! At 90mph your looking at around 34hp just to maintain your speed. compared to 11hp at 60 it jumps fast.

        So he was correct that it doesn't take a huge amount of hp, but a bit more than he said. If you add in hills..those numbers go up very quickly.

        But more importantly, as Joe said, you might not like the carbon monoxide poisoning you'd get from putting that bad boy in your trunk :-)

        • 7 Months Ago
        He says "When at highway speed, I am using approximately 5 to 10 HP of the maximum"

        http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080721114053AA2vLr5
        • 7 Months Ago
        At 4kw... that is only 1/5th the continuous power needed at cruising speeds.

        So instead of 100 miles, you might get 120 at the most. Not even counting the losses.

        And if you put it in the truck, then you have to get intake and exhaust lines running out too.

        Not worth it.

        • 7 Months Ago
        http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=70


        It shows how drivetrain and rolling resistance is always a factor.. but any faster than 30 mph... air is the big enemy.

        So from 15 mph to 20 mph... is the most efficient. And the least amount of power is needed.

        ------------

        5 hp to 10 hp may be nice for a NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) with a max speed of 25 mph.

        But a range extender (or charge sustainment) needs to provide regular highway speeds for continuous cruising at or above 70 mph.

        22 KW at the very least. After losses. Before losses, 25 kw is a good minimum to have.
      • 5 Years Ago
      tow truck companies are gonna be as rich as oil companies once these things hit the roads.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @EV: yes, but you are not driving a mass-produced, factory electric vehicle, are you? I'm sure that your car got more attention in the build than michael jackson's death.
        • 7 Months Ago
        yea, BP rich.
        • 7 Months Ago
        BP? :-)
        • 7 Months Ago
        @ mikemaj82, no tow truck driver has touched my EV in 12k miles, a few shippers have though. You can always hope, but I think you would be towing many more ICE vehicles if they both were out in equal numbers.

      • 5 Years Ago
      BP? :-)
        • 7 Months Ago
        How can you smile David Marin, BP's bankruptcy is going to impact the British economy! Oh wait, in realty it will stimulate it as I am sure BP will be sending a fleet of English speaking lawyers over here for tea and crumpets.

        You can thank the queen for cutting back EV subsidies, I saw her in all her pomp and circumstance ordering that two headed monster you now have for a government to make cuts. She should provide a example and get her self a EV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The entire pack weighs around 600 pounds and contains around 9 pounds of lithium"

      So what makes up the other 591 pounds, how much is manganese and the metal housing? Some naysayers and fossil fuel apologists genuinely believe lithium batteries and their manufacture is the most toxic filthy production product and process imaginable; I wonder who is feeding them this misinformation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Funny how that works huh... just like it takes 'too much carbon' to make a prius.
        Because making a hummer is not carbon intensive eh... :)

        Lithium batteries are also totally recycleable. Too bad you can't recycle used gasoline, hm.

        Good way to justify driving a v8 car if you're pandering to the uneducated though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Quick answer: The laminate in "Lithium-Ion Laminate" :)

        Also, there's the weight of casing, contacts, and support stuff like battery management electronics, which are basically required for each cell.

        As for an answer to "battery production is a toxic, polluting process", just ask how long it takes to go through 600 lbs of Gasoline. For reference, one gallon is around 6.25 pounds (at 72F), so that's about 96 gallons. Maybe a month for a lot of people. It evidently takes 10 *years* to go through 600 lbs of batteries, and you're not even totally through with them - they can still be used for other things before eventually being recycled.

        Then you can go on about how producing those 96 gallons of gas is a process that pollutes even more than producing batteries.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the idea of a 100% electric car is really neat. I wonder how plugging it in will work. Could you use universal ac power adapters with it? Or would it have to plug in directly. I think being compatible with an adapter would be a good direction to go. ( http://beverlyashley.commercerocket.com )
      • 5 Years Ago
      As a current EV driver, they are right, particularly with cars with the range of the leaf: charging is a matter of plugging it in when you get home at night. The level 3 chargers are only necessary for cross-country driving, and at $50K plus installation and the cost of getting 440V power to them, they're not going to be installed willy nilly, so that's really not going to be a factor unless *all* you do is cross-country driving. Which is unlikely, as stopping every half-hour to 45 minutes for a 15 minute charge is not going to be practical on a regular basis. It's something I'm willing to do occasionally so I only need one car, but for the forseeable future, EVs are only going to be practical for local driving. That is not really a problem: the modern long range EVs just make them practical in large cities where you are more likely to use the range, and most families have more than one car anyhow. You simply have an EV for primary local use (which for most people is the vast majority of their driving), and a second extended range car that is used as a secondary and cross-country car.
        • 7 Months Ago
        PS: I live in a town of about 40,000 people right now, about 5 miles across. My current EV is an older one with a 20 mile range with new batteries, down to about 10-12 on the worn out pack it has now, and I *still* rarely need to use my Prius unless I'm leaving town. Usually when I do, it's because I want to haul something that won't fit in the Geo Metro Sedan my EV is based on. Even when I lived in Portland, a city with a couple million people in the metro area that's about 30 miles across, a 100 mile day was pretty rare. The vast majority of charging will happen at home and work, and the rest is just "convenience and peace of mind" for the most part.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Yes, I just saw that, that is great news, as it makes it more likely we'll see them out where we need them. There are also reports that they're hard on the batteries though, which again argues that they should only be used when needed for cross-country travels. And they're just not needed in town. Take today: my current EV with worn out batteries limiting it to a 10-12 mile range, and a 9 mile round trip to home depot. I made that trek twice in it, as by the time I needed to go again a couple hours later, it was charged back up. And that with it only charging at about 4mph, about the rate of the LEAF's 110V charger. Granted, being in a small town is not going to be the most common case, but with the range of the LEAF, the same story basically scales up to the city and their level 2 home charger. If you're doing a lot of running around, the out and about level 2's will be nice, and even at $18K level 3's, the level 2's are nearly 10 times cheaper.

        Note that rather than "time to full recharge", as charging systems are most often rated, I think the miles per hour metric gives people a better feel for how they apply to the real world:

        (note that most ev's run in the ballpark of 250 wh/mile energy consumption)
        Level 1: 4 mph ("80% in 22 hrs", 1kw)
        Level 2: 10mph ("80% in 8 hrs", 2.5kw)
        Level 3: 160mph ("80% in 30 min", 40kw)

        The one counter to my argument is as EV's get popular to the point of congestion at the charging stations: the level 3's will let you top off in just a few minutes, freeing it up for others.
        • 7 Months Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think that anyone can argue that on balance this is a great battery pack. I think it was mostly self evident, since Nissan simply would not have brought this to market if they weren't confident of at least having a *good* chance of eventual success.

      Well done Nissan, I do hope that if the UK does foolishly cancel the EV subsidy that you'll still be able to sell the Leaf here next year for a reasonable price. I think I could stretch to 25k but that's starting to push it even for someone as enthusiastic as me, maybe I will have to wait till 2012, may old Hyundai Coupe might last till then, it has a habit of 'getting better' after being 'poorly' for a while!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Before we sweep too far ahead with this talk, and remember that Lithium Battery makers only warranty their cells to 5yrs. Because typically, even the easy life of a laptop can only expect 5yrs at best.

        Now add temperature extremes, high vibration, high current draws, all known killers of Lithium technology!

        So have they produced a technological breakthrough? Bet money they didn't!
        Just like lead acid batteries at the autoparts store. You pay for an 8yr battery,
        usually get half, as a RULE. The rest of the high dollar price is applied to the
        trade-in. There is no 10 year Lithium. And you won't remember who lied 5 yrs
        from now when all the Lithium Batteries die!
        • 5 Years Ago
        So you're telling me that even if you have a gentle charging regime and do not do many charge cycles the battery in the Leaf will *still* be below 80% capacity after 5 years? I don't think so, Nissan would not be that stupid.

        We've discussed laptop batteries and other appliances that use Lithium Ion batteries, those devices do *not* manage the battery SOC or temperature, the batteries are designed to fail after a while since they're not *so* expensive as to not treat them as consumables. A battery pack in an EV is an entirely different beast.

        Well - we will see who is right in 5 or 6 years. Since I'm going to go for a gentle charging regime and do very little miles I expect my Leaf battery will still have 80% capacity after 10 years which is exactly what I'm aiming for.
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