When hybrids like the Toyota Prius were new, everyone “knew” that they were a bad buy. Eventually a battery would need replacement, and it would cost as much as a house in California, if not more. In reality, the cost was around $5,000 (which was still pretty steep).
Over time, though, that changed. Yes, you’re still going to be out several thousand dollars if you go to the Toyota dealer for a replacement pack, but like any other vehicle, you’re only wise to go to the dealer when your car is under warranty. Private shops got into the replacement business, and now there are even people who will change a Prius battery in your driveway for well under $1000. DIYers can follow the directions on YouTube and refurbish packs for as little at $100.
Now, EVs are following a similar path. Nissan LEAF batteries are still extremely expensive if you buy them from a dealer, but, just like any other vehicle, the dealer isn’t the place to go unless your battery is still under warranty. A growing number of shops and suppliers are getting into the business, with used but good first-generation LEAF batteries now available for as little as $1000. People with an older LEAF can even get newer 62 kWh packs to get over 200 miles of range in the oldest LEAFs.
Digging up information on suppliers and shops is a pain, though.
That’s why Sal Cameli (many LEAF owners in Facebook groups call him “Uncle Sal”) decided to build a website with a list of businesses that can help fix up your old LEAF. Most of them have proof that they can do it, and aren’t just making promises. The site is still getting started, but so far there are 26 businesses listed, 25 of which have proven to provide what they say they provide. Eventually, Sal hopes to have a list of suppliers and shops in every major populated area so LEAF owners everywhere will be able to get batteries serviced at reasonable prices.
Electric motors can last hundreds of thousands of miles, and possibly a million miles, with little to no service, so it makes sense to keep older EVs on the road with new packs.