Véhicules Électriques Simon André, a shop in Quebec, recently put the battery pack from a LEAF Plus in an older 2015 LEAF, increasing the range to an indicated 231 miles | 371 kilometers. Originally, the 2015 LEAF came with a 24 kWh pack, and had an EPA range of 84 miles | 135 kilometers. By swapping in the 62 kWh pack, the range is almost tripled.
To explain the process, the shop put out two videos. Here’s the first, showing the background information about the pack and their methods for interfacing the newer pack to an older car:
The pack is pretty different from the factory pack on the inside, but externally it’s not very different. All connectors are still the same, and the length and width are also about the same. The only mechanical difference on the outside is that the battery pack is roughly 1.5″ thicker.
Electronically, the shop has a proprietary interface box that manages the connection between vehicle and pack to prevent “turtle mode” from happening. As far as the car is concerned, the original battery pack is still there (just with more capacity), and as far as the pack knows, it’s still in the LEAF Plus it came from.
The second video shows how they dealt with the thicker pack:
To attach the pack, they used square tubing with holes drilled to act as a spacer. The pack sits as far from the road as it does in the LEAF Plus, and is just as safe.
The adapter module they put in prevented “turtle mode,” and also allows proper level 2 and 3 charging as it should. In other words, the vehicle is a functional LEAF, but with a whole lot more range than the car came from the factory with.
To get this done, you won’t necessarily have to take your LEAF to Quebec. The shop plans on selling their proprietary module for $1000, and you can either install the bigger pack yourself or have a qualified local mechanic perform the swap. You’ll need to obtain a pack from a recycler or purchase a wrecked LEAF to get the newer pack.
This is a great opportunity for the owners of older LEAFs, especially people with 2011 and 2012 models. With lost range after not having much to begin with, upgrading to over 200 miles of range turns a city-only vehicle to something that can travel from coast to coast and to many places on the continent using Electrify America’s network.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of these swaps in action!