New larger battery increases range, price
Nissan has announced the release of the 2016 LEAF with a 30 kilowatt hour battery as standard equipment in the SV and SL models, providing an EPA rated mileage of 107. The S model continues with the 24 kilowatt hour, 84 mile EPA range battery.
“The new battery offers more advantages than just the 27 percent increase in driving range – it also offers improved battery performance,” said Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan EV Sales & Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “Nissan has been a leading developer of lithium-ion battery technology for more than 20 years. The new LEAF battery is a great example of how rather than just increasing battery capacity, we’ve achieved a balance between capacity, packaging, durability and affordability.”
More than just words from a corporate executive, the new larger battery offers improvements other than just the range increase. The larger capacity cells add just 46 pounds, one indication of the improved chemistry and higher power density of the cells. In addition, the new cells fit inside the existing battery case. Another way that Nissan saved weight was to double the number of cells per module. The total number of cells remained the same (192), but in half the number of modules fitted to the case. The 24 kilowatt hour battery housed four cells per module, while each larger module now holds eight cells. Improvements were made to both the cell structure and the electrode material. In a perfect world, this would have been the battery introduced in the LEAF in 2010. Alas, it’s not a perfect world.
As important as the improved range is better battery life. The new 30 kilowatt hour battery comes with an eight year, 100,000 mile capacity warranty as part of the New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty. The current pack which continues in the S trim level offers a five year, 60,000 mile capacity warranty. In each case, Nissan’s warranty provides that Nissan will protect against battery capacity loss below nine bars of capacity as shown on the vehicle’s battery capacity level gauge for the stated time.
In other improvements, the S trim level now receives a five inch color display, streaming audio via Bluetooth and hands-free text messaging assistance with no increase in price. The Charge Package remains optional on the S, which includes the 6.6 kilowatt charger and quick charge port.
SV and SL continue with standard navigation, but the seven inch touch screen improves to a multi-touch display with better graphics, similar to those found in Nissan’s upscale Maxima and Murano. In addition, SV and SL now update charging screen information every time the car starts and continues with updates every twelve miles. Another convenience improvement is the addition of what Nissan calls one-shot destination entry. With a touch of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, just say “1234 Main Street, San Diego, California” and the navigation system will plot your new destination and route. The multi-touch display allows pinch and zoom functionality similar to a smart phone display when in map mode. The new screen also offers the ability to swipe left and right among three home screens with personally selected or customized shortcut icons when in menu mode. These customized icons provide the ability to find a coffee shop, or other personalized destination category, with the touch of the icon. The SV and SL have one option package available – the Premium Package which includes the four-camera around view monitor and a seven speaker Bose audio system.
The 2016 LEAF comes in three new exterior colors – Deep Blue Pearl, Coulis Red and Forged Bronze.
Pricing for the S trim level remains the same at $29,010 plus destination charge. The SV goes from $32,100 to $34,200 and the SL goes from $35,120 to $36,790. Nissan has not announced the release date for the new 2016 LEAF, but expect to see it before the end of the year.