Battery Replacement Questions

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Nissan Leaf Diary

This post is because I receive a lot of questions about what it will cost to replace the battery on the Nissan Leaf and how long before I will need to replace it. I get a lot of negative/almost heated statements directed at me about the battery replacement vs real cost of savings. So here are a few thoughts and answers on it.

First off the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a single battery, it has 48 battery modules. Each module can hold 0.5kWh of charge giving it a full capacity of 24kWh.

So…

How much will it cost me to replace the battery? I don’t know. I will not have to replace the whole pack unless I have a serious crash. I will have to replace probably some individual modules. Individual modules cost in the hundreds (at the moment) not the thousands.

When will I have to replace them? I don’t know this either. Nissan reckon that after 5 years standard driving of 12,000 miles/19,300km per year, there will still be 80% charge in them. This should still allow me to get to work in Dublin from where I live.

Will the replacement costs wipe out any savings? As from above I cannot answer this until I know how many cells and what price they are (at the time).

Now that that is out of the way, here are a few musings I have.

1. In five years time, the battery modules should have advanced so they should be able to hold more than 0.5kWh of power (meaning more range)

2. In five years time, the price of batteries should have come down (as it is doing). Meaning it should cost less than it does now.

3. Fuel prices are not going to come down, they will stay were they are (unlikely) or rise. This means more savings for me the more the fuel goes up.

4. Companies are looking into ways of using 2nd hand batteries as storage devices for houses and such (as after 10 years it is reckoned there will still 70% storage left). This means if I did have to replace my entire battery pack, I would want to keep the old battery pack or get some money back off the new ones.

5. It is also good to remember that in the five years of running a petrol/diesel car, you will have possibly (and most likely) ongoing parts replacements, some small/some big. It all depends on how much you drive. It costs money to replace, oil, oil filters, fuel filters, spark plugs, glow plugs, air filters, timing belts etc… Also a petrol/diesel is supposed to be serviced about every 10000kms, a Leaf is serviced every 30000km (3 times longer between services). The brakes also last approximately 5 times as long because of the electronic/regenerative braking.

All these different aspects make it very hard to work out the true savings between running an EV against running an ICE car.

For anyone interested here is a link from Nissan explaining a bit about the Leaf battery pack

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Comments
  1. Joe McCarthy says:

    Great answer. It’s a question often asked but I haven’t seen it explained so clearly. Well done!
    Joe in MCC Energy

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