40kWh 2018 LEAF

by Ernie Hernandez on August 13, 2017

Intelligent Mobility

2018 LEAF range won’t match others

According to recently leaked information on the Autobytel website, it seems the new 2018 LEAF will have a 40 kWh battery pack. Given the range of the current 30 kWh pack (107 miles), the larger size of the new battery along with expected improvements in drivetrain efficiencies, the driving range of the new LEAF should come in around 150 miles. While a nice improvement from the current situation, this still falls well short of the Chevy Bolt’s 238 mile range.

This leaked information does not really come as a surprise to anyone who’s looked closely at the existing spy shots of the 2018 LEAF. It seems that the new LEAF takes the existing LEAF passenger compartment and attaches new sheet metal to the front and rear of the vehicle, rather than Nissan designing an all-new car for LEAF 2.0. This is significant, because the traction battery sits beneath the passenger compartment. If that space hasn’t been reconfigured, there is only space for the same size battery case as before. Nissan has already improved packaging to move from the early 24 kWh batteries to 30 kWh batteries in the same case. It’s not a stretch to think that with further improvements in chemistry and packaging that they could squeeze a 40 kWh battery into the same space. I think it unlikely that a bigger battery option will be available. Physically there’s just no room unless I’m wrong about them using the same passenger compartment. This news will sadden many existing LEAF owners looking to upgrade, and will be less likely to attract the number of new EV drivers that Nissan was probably hoping to capture with LEAF 2.0.

Much has been written (some of it on these pages) about the impending 60 kWh LEAF with a range of over 200 miles based on some information put out by Nissan. This was my expectation before seeing the early camouflaged spy shots. When I saw the shape of the new car, I was pretty certain that there would be no Bolt killer here. That’s not to say that Nissan won’t come out with a bigger battery in the future, but I just don’t see how they’ll fit it into this body. If they were to carve out some of the cargo space that would add its own challenges. More weight moved rearward would require a unique suspension design, plus the added weight moved so far back would change handling characteristics. They could perhaps design a case that is slightly taller which could allow them to squeeze a few more modules into the main case. Without having an all new car the company is faced with limited options should they wish to improve the range of the 2018 LEAF.

This (almost) all new LEAF will have some pretty cool technology with Nissan’s ProPILOT system. And we won’t have to look at those bulging headlights anymore. That said, when looking ahead to LEAF 2.0 there were many studies of EV owners after the LEAF first came out. These studies seemed to indicate that a 150 mile range would be adequate for many EV drivers. But this was when the LEAF only had a 73 mile range. Doubling that range seemed great at the time. It seems Nissan moved forward based on that information. Fast forward to the land of 238 mile Chevy Bolts and 220 mile Tesla Model 3s and that 150 mile range isn’t so impressive any more. I hope I’m wrong and they find a way to squeeze a bigger battery in there. We’ll see.

 

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2018 LEAF Preview

by Ernie Hernandez on August 4, 2017

2018 LEAF Preview
Nissan has given us another preview.

The reveal of the 2018 Nissan LEAF is slated for early next month. Meantime, Nissan has just released this animated teaser touting the improvements in airflow. I’ll talk more about my observations soon.

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Tesla Model 3 Promise Delivered Halfway

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Nissan’s self-driving cars start arriving soon

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Should I buy a used Nissan LEAF?

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One way to optimize your range

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Battery degradation in a 2012 Nissan LEAF Battery degradation exists in electric cars, just as it does in mobile phones and laptops, but many people that are not familiar with electric cars have no idea what that is, or what it means. This article will help to fill in that knowledge gap. First, let’s provide you with […]

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On this, we can all agree

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Nissan’s first look at 2018 LEAF Easily the most disliked feature of the current generation Nissan LEAF is the headlight design. Nissan’s whole argument behind the large, misshapen and protruding objects was that they were designed to optimize airflow around the side-view mirrors. In fact, they even posted video showing how effective they were at […]

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The Electric Car Second Edition Input Request

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Help Define the Second Edition Since I published The Electric Car eighteen months ago much has changed in the EV business. More makers than ever are moving into the business in big or small ways. Existing products are being updated to compete with the new electric vehicles making their way into being. And the whole […]

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Nissan Launches Second EV Car Share Service in Japan

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New Mobility Concept on the road In October 2013 Nissan launched Japan’s first large-scale one-way car sharing service, using the Nissan New Mobility Concept EV as the vehicle of choice. The initial program was a one-year trial run starting with 30 units. In 2014 the program was extended for a year with an expansion to […]

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