Published on October 24th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Nissan Tests 48 kWh Battery In Leaf

October 24th, 2013 by  

Electric vehicle manufacturers have been trying to strike the right balance between range, performance, and price. Electric vehicles can achieve longer range than they do now with the use of larger batteries, or with the use of lithium-polymer batteries which have a higher energy-to-weight ratio. However, these options increase vehicle cost.

I am sure Nissan’s designers have been thinking about whether their customers would be more willing to pay extra for a longer-range Leaf, or if the higher price would turn off a larger number of prospective customers. Share your thoughts about this in the comment section.

Nissan’s Barcelona Technical Centre has now decided to take the longer-range option into serious consideration. It equipped one of its Nissan Leaf prototypes with a 48 kWh battery bank in order to be tested in the ECOseries race, which is based in Spain.

Image Credit: Nissan Leaf via Flickr.

The ECOseries event is open to anyone with a driver’s license, and road vehicles. Nissan’s upgraded Leaf competed with vehicles from other manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Peugeot, Volkswagen, and Porsche.

According to Inside EVs: “Mercedes won in regularity discipline, but having a 48-kWh LEAF prototype may indicate that Nissan is thinking of increasing energy and range of future LEAF versions.”

A 48 kWh battery pack may provide nearly twice the range of the Leaf’s current 24 kW one, but it is also much more powerful, facilitating the use of a more powerful motor.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Craig Capurso

    I would pay more for more range. do not change anything just bigger battery

  • Chris

    Please make the battery upgrade for my 2013 sl leak too! Please!

  • Chris

    Yes more range build it! Don’t need a more powerful motor though.

  • Rich Robinson

    I would pay for the extra range on a Leaf. I’m not buying my leased Leaf because it doesn’t quite have the range needed for a surburban commuter in a sprawled city like Atlanta. After to/from work, there isn’t enough left to run errands. I would love to see a version that has a surplus battery pack that can be disconnected and removed when not needed, then added back in when more range was desired on a given day.

  • Citizen X9

    I’d Pay 5,000 tomorrow for one… anything to get to the 150-180 mark. I’m dying on Airport Runs

  • Doug Young

    I suspect part of the problem with more battery is the additional weight. Apparently the standard Leaf battery weighs 280kg, consequently a double sized one would weigh around 560kg. Whilst it might well fit in the same place, it would lead to weight distribution issues. Hopefully some bright spark will figure how to make a big battery that weighs a lot less than whats available today.

  • LTarrell

    It’s such a shame Nissan decided to make the Leaf so ugly, like a cross between a Potato and a Frog! If it was nicely styled I’d take one in a heartbeat, but I just couldn’t live with such ugliness 🙁

    • Man, I love the design of the Leaf. Beauty is…

    • John Ten

      I thought the same as you! Really I did, thought it was the ugliest thing since…

      Fate decided to take away my Infiniti V6 sedan in a double near fatal car accident and survived. I thought of buying a Testla but I want the Model X (SUV due out in summer 2015) so I went for Nissan Leaf so that in 2018, I can buy the Model X (2nd refined revision).

      My significant other always love Leaf’s look since the beginning! I thought she was crazy. For some strange reason, the look of the Leaf get less uglier and NOW – I LOVE the look – in fact, if you make it look like a normal car, I would be PISSED. I want people to know this is an ALL-ELECTRIC vehicle and I expect the look to reflect that because I am proud.

      It’s distinguished, unmistakable and CHP (highway patrol) officer on the freeway don’t even bother to look for the HOV (carpool) sticker. Drives likes a space ship dream, quality, ultra smooth glide-on-air, silent, powerful 208 ft-lb torque right off the bat, performs and corners likes a sports car with ECO mode off.

      I will save $11,000 USD on gasoline every year, that more than pay for future battery upgrade, higher density, lighter polymer, etc.

    • CL

      I agree. I was going to buy one yesterday. The dealer let me take it home to show my wife. When she saw it she promised to divorce me if I traded my Audi A5 for it.

      • Jørn Grotnes

        Sounds like a great deal, you get a Leaf and your freedom back, and she gets an A5 but have to pay for the fuel herself :->

  • Pieter Siegers

    Make the options available and see how it sells. The option of battery slots just like wih our computers would do fine.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I sure wish I knew what car manufacturers probably know about near term EV battery technology. These folks can sign a no disclosure agreement and then get to peer deep into what is working its way to the market.

      They may, for example, know that there’s >400 Wh/kg battery that will cost <$200/kWh almost ready to go. If there's a beast like that about to emerge then it would make less sense to offer multiple battery options. We could have 200+ mile range EVs at ICEV prices.

      If a big jump in battery capacity is far away then selling 100 mile range EVs that can hold another pack or two makes a lot of sense to me. People who really need 200/300 mile range could purchase it.

      It's frustrating having to be only an observer….

  • Ben

    I’d be willing to pay more. Especially considering how much I’m saving by using electric and not gas. The amount I am spending to charge my current Leaf is tiny compared to what it costs to gas up an equivalently sized I.C.E. car.

  • Dave Davidson

    I would love to almost double the range of my Leaf. it would allow me to almost do away with the gas car. Simply make it an extra cost option.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I wonder how long it will be before one of the EV manufactures releases a model with multiple battery size options? Tesla does that now. IIRC they started with three but found that people weren’t buying the lowest sized pack.

      GM appears to be testing a 400 Wh/kg battery. That’s about 2.8x more capacity per weight than the LEAF battery. They could produce an EV that gave 100 and 200 mile range options with smaller (cheaper) batteries than are now used in EVs.

      They could even design the car so that someone could buy the 100 mile version and add a second “100 miles” later if they wanted.

  • Perfect for the much delayed Infiniti LE EV….


  • NRG4All

    The price objection goes away if they make it an option. Tesla dropped the 40kWh battery version because it wasn’t selling. Range is worth something and it appears that some EV drivers are willing to pay for it. It all depends on the normal driving habits/distances of the purchaser.

    • Electric_car_enthusiast

      … and the density of charging stations throughout the country. In New Zealand there are hardly any…. (Jan 2015) – so a standard Leaf cannot be used to travel in between cities.

  • Others

    Certainly. Some people may have 80 mile 1 way commute and 160 mile round trip commute would be willing to pay 10K more to buy that vehicle. Please bring that to market. But battery should not take trunk space and should be in the floor.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You need to consider how few people live that sort of life. It’s a very small niche need.

      With overall EV sales so low it probably wouldn’t make sense for a car manufacturer to build a new model to capture that few sales. Right now they need to concentrate on the portions of the market where they can sell the largest numbers.

      • Citizen X9

        The airport is 43.6 miles from my house, you do the math. If I had 48 kw or better I could do 70 on the freeway home instead of 45-50 on side roads cutting my route time in 1/2. 5-10 grand is a buy for me!!!

        • Bob_Wallace

          And I’d pay for a 4wd with enough range to get me to the grocery store and back (~150 miles).

          We’re both niche drivers….

  • Wayne Williamson

    This is a great option, I wonder how much extra it would cost…

  • Larry

    Electric vehicle owners will be willing to pay the extra $ to have a vehicle with extended range. EV’s are not cheap vehicles to purchase in the first place.

  • PaulT

    Oh! For a moment I was getting all excited…………………

  • Jouni Valkonen

    This is not Nissan’s project, but it is just Nissan employee privately made modification to standard Leaf in order to compete in the race. In practice there is just extra 24 kWh batteries fitted into trunk.

    • JamesWimberley

      I think you are underestimating Nissan’s institutional involvement. The employees raced in their own time, but the vehicle came out of the technical centre. However, it is a test rig not a production prototype. For the road, we will have to wait for denser batteries; not long I trust.

  • PaulT

    More details would be good. Does the battery fit into the standard car in the standard position, or have they removed the back seats? What is the power and energy density compared to the standard product? Does it have active temperature contol? What is its projected price? Could this take EVs to the next level, or is it a one off freak?

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