Nissan Testing Heat-Resistant Battery, Adding Two More EV Models

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Originally published on Gas2
by Christopher DeMorro


The Nissan Leaf has led the way in America when it comes to electric car sales, and the Japanese automaker is showing no signs of slowing down its EV onslaught. In addition to the Leaf, a compact Infiniti EV, and an all-electric version of the NV2000 cargo van, Nissan plans to launch two new electric models, along with a new, heat-resistant battery in the new few years.

The new, heat-resistant battery is a response to customer complaints from hotter areas, like Phoenix, Arizona, where a well-publicized private demonstration showed that Leaf batteries were losing range faster than Nissan said they would. This stems back to Nissan’s decision to use an air-cooled battery, rather than liquid cooling.

The new battery is said to be able to reliably withstand internal temperatures of 113 degrees F, thanks to new chemistry, but the packs still lack liquid-cooling systems. Obviously Nissan is aiming for mass-market appeal, which means keeping costs down, and leading into our next bit of news.

Nissan is planning to add two more unspecified EV models to its lineup in the next few years. While a timetable was not specified, nor were the models hinted at, Nissan is reaffirming its commitment to pure electric vehicles. With more than a billion dollars invested in EV technology, Nissan needs to make the technology work for them. So what kind of models is Nissan working on?

I’m thinking a high-end electric sports car, an Infiniti-badged competitor for the Tesla Model S mayhaps, as well as an entry-level micro EV like some concepts Nissan has showcased the past few years. What’s on your EV wishlist?

Source: Automotive News | Green Car Reports

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24 thoughts on “Nissan Testing Heat-Resistant Battery, Adding Two More EV Models

  • I really doubt that Nissan is yet ready to challenge Model S. E.g. Model S sized battery would require liquid cooling system for starters. Liquid cooling system is also required for fast charging, not to mentioning supercharging, which is completely out of reach of Nissan technology. My guess is that one is new cargo van and some ultra-cheap model that no one actually wants.

  • i’d like to see Nissan offer an EV version of their Cube. It’s got unique styling (I happen to like it, but some don’t) and, on a practical level, it’s designed to haul lots of bulky – but not necessarily heavy – cargo.

    Alternately, nobody has yet marketed a small EV sports car. The Tesla Roadster was (remember that it is now out of production) more of a large format Grand Touring high performance 2-seater. I’m thinking something more on the lines of an electrified Mazda Miata or Austin-Healey Sprite. That sort of little sports car format hasn’t been attempted yet commercially as an EV. Perhaps its time.

    Also . . . clarification on battery cooling systems: while Nissan’s system is air cooled, it’s passive and not active. An active air cooled battery thermal management system would have some of the interior cabin’s air conditioning system assist with this. Mitsubishi’s iMiEV has this, but Nissan’s Leaf doesn’t. The Leaf simply has a way of venting outside air across the battery cells. But if it’s already 113° outside (ie: like it often is in the summertime in Arizona,) it’s basically all for naught.

    I welcome news from Nissan regarding the more heat resistant batteries. But there could be more done in regards to moving to a true active air cooling scenario.

    • Apologies for all the comments

      But if it’s already 113° outside (ie: like it often is in the summertime in Arizona,) it’s basically all for naught.

      A system that sends hot coolant to a radiator that is relying on that 113 degree air to cool that liquid, isn’t any better off. Some guys tested a Volt sitting on a hot tarmac in Arizona and found that the cooling system was actually heating the battery …which makes sense because the surface temperature was 140 degrees.

      You are describing a heat pump for the battery compartment, essentially, refrigerating it. According to Wikipedia, the MiEV only does that during charge cycles when it can draw the power needed for air conditioning from the power line. Unplugged, it uses a simple fan.

      My guess as to why they don’t; refrigerating a battery compartment while driving would greatly shorten range.

      • “You are describing a heat pump for the battery compartment, essentially,
        refrigerating it. According to Wikipedia, the MiEV only does that
        during charge cycles when it can draw the power needed for air
        conditioning from the power line. Unplugged, it uses a simple fan.”

        Correct, Russ. I have since had an i-MiEV owner clarify this for me and explain further that it’s only the CHAdeMO-equipped ones that do this, not the J1772-only ones (it was recently announced that all upcoming 2014 i-MiEVs will be CHAdeMO-equipped, so it’s hoped the battery cooling system will be there as well.)

        What I also learned is that Japanese i-MiEV buyers have the option of purchasing the car with lithium titanate (LTO) Toshiba SCiB batteries, which are far most heat resistant than just about any other lithium chemistry and have charge/discharge characteristics that make them more adaptable to Quick Charging when compared to all others.

        The only downside with LTO cells is that they have significantly lower voltage per cell (2.4V per cell vs. around 3.6 of most others) and, hence, energy density of the pack is lower. Still . . . I wouldn’t mind having the option of buying an LTO battery i-MiEV here in North America.

    • It’s NV200.
      Electric vans are an even better idea than electric cars. They run up high mileages doing short trips in urban areas, so you get a disproportionate reduction in particulate pollution as well as CO2.

      • With a fleet of delivery vans it starts to make sense to install a rapid charger and let them pick up some extra miles when they return for another load.

        Fed Ex and UPS are using electric vans. Many of their daily routes around town are less than 100 miles.

        • This is where a contact-less charging station would be most appropriate.

  • I’d like to see a new Leaf with a 32-40kwh battery, preferably one that doesn’t weigh much more.

  • I would like a small, very inexpensive vehicle to operate as my third vehicle to use on short trips. Cost must be very low but it would be cool if they could use the Miata convertible platform

    • I don’t think that’s going to be an EV. In order to enjoy the financial benefits of an EV you have to drive it. Purchase prices are higher but ‘per mile’ costs significantly less. The more you drive an EV, the more operating expenses savings offset purchase price.

      The ideal use of an EV is as your first vehicle. Few people drive 100 miles a day, or even the 60 miles that one would get in cold weather. Put mileage on the EV and drive your less efficient “boat puller”/whatever car only when the EV won’t do.

      If you’d like to know how an EV would work for you keep driving records for a while. Figure out how many days you wouldn’t be able to do your daily driving with an EV and how predictable they are. (Most people don’t suddenly find out they are going to have to drive an extra 40, 100 miles.)

      • Ed said “inexpensive” EV. Your advice is good but only at today’s high prices. Get a 40 mile range EV down to the cost of a Yaris, and you might have a very popular second (or third) car for a two-or three car urban family …just don’t hold your breath.

  • This is a pretty good article. A few quibbles…

    … where a well-publicized private demonstration showed that Leaf batteries were losing range faster than Nissan said they would. This stems back to Nissan’s decision to use an air-cooled battery, rather than liquid cooling.

    Nissan warned in the owner’s manual that you could expect to lose range faster in very high ambient temperatures. In fact, all of the electric cars warn about that. It is a well-established internet urban legend that it was the result of the Leaf’s passive cooling but here’s a quote from the Volt (liquid cooled) chief engineer:

    ““The Volt may not be right for everyone. If you live in the Southwest, depending on how you use your car, the Volt might not be right for you.”

    I think Nissan needs a sports car to compliment its economy car. Take a look at the racing version of the Leaf.

    • If by ‘sports car’ you mean ‘really attractive car’, I totally agree.

      Build a car that people walk up to and check out because it looks great. Then let them check to see who builds it and discover that it’s an electric.

      Tesla gets this. EVs don’t need to look like upgraded golf cars.

      • Walk out onto a bridge spanning six lanes of interstate at rush hour and take a picture. You will be hard pressed to find any cars that look identical.

        Pick the ten best looking cars. Pass the picture on to a thousand people. The correlation between your picks and the other ten thousand picks will approach zero.

        If everyone had the same idea of what constitutes an attractive looking car, all cars would look the same. Note that they don’t. Grab a beer and mull that one over.

        We don’t all see James Bond staring back at us from the bathroom mirror. A sports car version of the Leaf would appeal to those who do.

        Because it is an electric car, it would cost very little extra to beef up the controller, wiring, and motor in the Leaf to make a version that would accelerate like a higher end sports car …for those who place a high level of importance on that characteristic.

        • Park a LEAF and a Tesla S close to each other. Survey people to find out which they would prefer to drive based on looks.

          • Personally, and I realize that my atheistic sense is no more valid for others than yours is, but I find it pretentious looking, and would be embarrassed to drive it, so would my wife and two grown daughters, or so they said, but maybe they were just being supportive …which would be a first! ; )

            But feel free to commission a scientific survey.

          • Clearly we need a variety of looks. People have different tastes. But to date I haven’t seen an EV besides the S that I would buy based on looks. The Fiat is kind of cute. If even in other aspects I’d buy it over the LEAF, but only if that was the best I could find.

        • A fast version still will not change how ugly it is…smaller non bug-eyed lights for one would be nice.

      • That is my main issue with all minus Tesla. Make a frigging normal/nice looking ev and ppl will buy. I really want one but not the fugly leaf nor na ice after-thought no trunk conversion (focus). I’d like the leafs cost/mileage but it’s too ugly!!

        That’s the reason though I swear they make them as such (ugly/not practical) bc it’ll kill their money making ice sales (and subsequent frequent ice sales).

        • Nissan deliberately made the Leaf ugly so it won’t kill the sales of their regular cars …internet comment fields are strange places.


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