Yes, it’s technically possible to stuff over 100 kWh of batteries in an older LEAF, but for most customers, Fenix Power will be providing new cooled and monitored batteries of 24–40 kWh to replace their aging and degraded factory packs much more affordably than Nissan does.
When I saw my friend Sal Cameli’s graphic showing a LEAF guess-o-meter predicting 380 miles of range, I thought it was pretty absurd. For a LEAF to go over 300 miles, it would have to have a pretty big set of batteries. I knew he was planning to have Fenix Power rebuild his LEAF’s battery pack, but I didn’t know he was planning to do something so extreme.
I asked John Bysinger, the owner of Fenix Power, about Sal’s graphic and LEAF 380 website. Fenix plans to rebuild packs for any LEAF with up to 40 kWh of capacity, even for 2011–2017 first-generation cars. To get even more range, Fenix will be offering expansion packs to sit in other areas, like the rear trunk area. For Sal, they’re taking things even further to push the limits — “as a design exercise, we’re looking at just how much we can do if we invade the back seat area as well. That won’t be a production product, but we will likely sell the components required for the adventurous DIY folks who want to try.”
John further explained that Fenix Power wants to build modular battery systems for older electric vehicles that are starting to show their age. Rather than junking a car because battery replacement costs more than the vehicle is worth, Fenix plans on offering battery leasing and purchase options that make it reasonable to keep an aging and degraded vehicle on the road. This will eventually become available for a variety of used EVs, and even some collectible gas cars that people want to convert.
For the LEAF, in a battery configuration that restores the original range and maybe a little bit more, they plan on the following prices:
- Buy your Batteries: $1,500 installation, approximately $6,000 for the battery modules, and a reasonable monthly service plan.
- Buy your Batteries over time: $1,500 installation, around $200 per month depending on payoff terms and duration, and then a much lower monthly service plan.
- Simply Subscribe: $1,500 installation, and a monthly service cost of LESS THAN $99 per month.
They do point out that this is only the preliminary pricing plan, and it may change as they get into production. For now, they’re offering discounts on the installation for the first customers to preorder the service.
To get better pre-order installation prices, go to Sal’s website at LEAF380.com, and you can use his referral code. Referrers get a discount from Fenix much the same way as those they refer.
We are also looking at doing some future testing with some of Fenix Power’s products. Even for LEAFs with a good battery pack, they will be offering expansion packs and other upgrades, possibly including liquid cooling. If you’d like to support that effort for future tests and reviews, our referral code with them is CleanTechnica.
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