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Nissan LEAF batteries will cost £19k to replace

Thu, 11 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Nissan LEAF Battery Cost is a whopping £19k

We’ve long wondered just what it would cost to replace all the batteries in an electric car like a Nissan LEAF. After all, we all know just how expensive lithium ion batteries are for a laptop, so the price for an electric car like the LEAF must be enormous. And it is.

Nissan’s Andy Palmer has revealed that the the LEAF’s battery pack, which consists of 48 ‘modules’, would cost £19,392 if you wanted to replace it. That’s £404 for each ‘module, which we are assuming is effectively a ‘battery’ in its own right which is then daisy-chained together with the other modules to create the power pack.

Not only are the batteries as ridiculously expensive as we’d always expected (a recent SonyVaio battery at an irritating £60 reinforced our view that car batteries would be a mad price), their shelf-life isn’t as great as had been implied. In fact, Nissan expect the battery pack to degrade by at least 20% in five years.

That degradation would mean a real-world average range of perhaps 80 miles dropping to a touch over 60 miles. But do you buy that? We plug our laptops in regardless of the state of charge whenever they’re near a plug, and as a result the 2-3 hours usage when new drops to less than half an hour in two years.

Why are car batteries going to be any different? Especially as many will be subjected to battery-burning fast charging if owners want to venture more than 30 miles from home. But you’re not worried because the batteries are warranted for years, right? Wrong.

The batteries in a Nissan Leaf are warranted against defects,  but not for degradation. So as long as the batteries can hold a charge – any charge – Nissan won’t be entertaining warranty claims. The batteries will have to pack up completely for that to happen it would seem. Which could leave you with a useless range – and a useless LEAF – in a relatively short space of time.

To be entirely fair to Nissan they have bitten the bullet and revealed the cost of the batteries, and they have also said they expect the cost to drop in the next few years as the volume of batteries manufactured grows.

But until the hidden costs of an electric car are sensible, why would anyone buy a Nissan LEAF – apart from to make a misguided statemet?

By Cars UK