Nissan LEAF battery update

by Ernie Hernandez on April 17, 2012

Battery assembly

Nissan has produced over 11 million LEAF battery cells

With a recent YouTube video (available below), Nissan has announced that they have produced over 11 million Nissan LEAF battery cells – roughly half of the auto industry’s global production. With Sunderland, UK producing batteries as of February, and Smyrna, Tennessee producing batteries later this year, look for Nissan’s share of global production to improve – which bodes well for future pricing improvements from economies of scale, but also from local production and avoiding currency exchange volatility. Four cells are bundled together into a module and 48 modules are then assembled into LEAF battery packs.

What makes this more astounding – according to Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, there have been zero problems based on cells or based on packaging since August 2011. In a world of constant news announcements about various issues from independent battery manufacturers, this is a testament to the quality and reliability that can be had when a major automotive player chooses to do their own research, development and production.

Another interesting aspect of the LEAF battery life that we had not considered is this – based on Nissan’s partnership with Sumitomo, if a successful demand can be created for reduced capacity LEAF battery packs in commercial, industrial or residential applications, as these battery packs are sold into the secondary market they will retain a higher resale value than if simply recycled. This will reduce the cost of a replacement battery pack for those that choose to go that route.

Finally, one tidbit offered near the end of the press release is this statement:

Zama’s soon-to-be announced technologies push the envelope even further on battery development, as Nissan literally charges ahead with zero-emission mobility.

This is the first time that we have heard Nissan offer anything about the future of the LEAF battery. While we don’t know yet what these new technologies will offer, we can be assured that they will be moving toward longer range, lower cost, or both.

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