Friday, October 5, 2012

Decrepit Battery Pack Destinations

Right now the Nissan LEAF online community is in a rage (which has become the norm lately much to my chagrin) over batteries.

Some in AZ have experienced very rapid declines in range but most have just experienced range anxiety over the anticipation that they will suffer the same range loss. Problem is that in Phoenix its the heat that is probably causing that loss of battery capacity and lets face it, its so hot there that  People from Hell go to Phoenix for Spring Break so the likelihood that anyone else will experience degradation to that degree (pun intended) is unlikely.

Now, degradation is happening for sure. that is how batteries work. they start to lose capacity from Day ONE. there is nothing that will stop that including chemistry TMS (temperature management systems) etc. nothing.  Now, the loss can be very slow. As for me?  nearly 23,000 miles and i figure i have lost 2-4% which is very acceptable and well within what Nissan told us to expect, so I am happy.

I am in the EXTREME minority although its the extreme minority that is AFFECTED by heat issues

The Problem we have is that many in warm areas (as opposed to hot) people are already extrapolating their range loss into next year and starting to make plans on whether to dump the LEAF for a much more extravagant purchase or simply get a new battery pack. Problem is; Nissan aint telling us how much that pack costs

Now for a company that has already had several PR snafu's is this just another one or are we simply completely misunderstanding Japanese Automobile Culture?  Why is the pack cost such a secret?  Well, guessing that its cheap enough (Rumors going around its $5,000 which is DIRT CHEAP!) that people who dont have any real loss may want a pack replacement based solely on their empathy with their Phoenix Brethren?

Either way, there has been a ton of speculation as to what will be done with these used battery packs.  Even with extreme degradation of 30% we still have a pack has more range left in it than a brand new Volt pack, so its got value.

another thing that people are questioning especially after Tesla announced that they are installing the public charging station for the long range Tesla S's themselves.  Many feel that part of Nissan's problem is the lack of public infrastructure support and that maybe each Nissan dealer should have installed Quick Charge stations instead of the slow L2's.

now what if? Nissan took those slightly used packs and incorporated them into a DCFC (direct current fast charge) station to eliminate demand fees.  put a half dozen used packs that can be charged slowly by line current (or better yet Solar/wind)  have enough in there that they can be charged to 80% and be ready to dump their charge when a LEAF plugs in?


  1. so are the battery packs going to be re-manufactured, seems most car parts are these days?

  2. Probably wont see a lot of remanufactured battery packs right away mostly because they will have 2 lifecycles. Generally its accepted that battery packs for cars are done when they are reduced to 70% of their original capacity. there is a weight/performance ratio that needs to be maintained. So the battery pack is removed from the car, but still has use for it. The uses could be like a large uninterrupteable power supply for a large data center or even as power storage for a solar powered quick charge station. It is after this lifecyle is completed that the battery pack might be remanufactured and that could be 10 or more years down the line