Thursday, November 16, 2017

What Happens When All Your Stuff Looks Alike? The Oops Of The Decade!

A lot of words about interchangeability of  LEAF packs from small to bigger and how difficult it "could" be but apparently if you have the right equipment and applicable authorizations it can be so easy that it could be done nearly effortlessly. In fact so easily that it could (and was) done without any intent to do so. At least in one direction!

Recently a LEAFer in Phoenix, Sam having lost the 4 bars needed for a warranty exchange, received his LEAF back and guess what??  Are you sitting down?  I would take a few deep breaths first before continuing...

His 30 kwh battery pack was accidentally replaced with a 24 kwh pack! 

LEAF Spy of Sam's 2016 SL after pack switch

The above is not a typo.  A 2016 LEAF SL with a 30 kwh pack had a 24 kwh pack installed as a warranty replacement and apparently the process is so similar that the tech never realized it was the wrong size pack!

This very well could mean that a lot of the excuses used for not being able to do this swap are simply ONLY due to Nissan's unwillingness to grant permission to do this and nothing more.

In 2015 a Nissan Engineer attending a European Car Show admitted an upgrade from 24 kwh to 30 kwh was technically possible but would not elaborate.

Now there is a question of direction here. Since packs degrade, accepting a smaller pack than what the BMS was designed for is a given.  The BMS simply adjusts for the lesser capacity so this in no way guarantees that the same thing would happen when putting a bigger pack in place of a smaller pack, right?

So before we all start calling our lawyers crying about wanting the bigger pack, this needs to be examined first. But its becoming apparent that the connections at least between the 24 kwh packs and 30 kwh packs are pretty close! :)

FYI; It was only after being armed with data collected from others that Sam was able to convince the dealership to look into a possible mix up and sure enough, he now has an appointment to get a 30 kwh pack  A MONTH LATER!

I have heard of loaner programs before but this is a new one on me!


The benefits of Social Media!

Apparently DIYers in Russia did the downsize and found it to be a pretty easy thing to do but the upsize was fraught with problem after problem and could only be done by swapping VCM from 30 kwh LEAF into the 24 kwh LEAF.

FYI; Nissan sells the VCM for the Nismo package that provides stronger power profile for $1385. Wondering if it also recognizes longer range. There is a mention of that in a very roundabout way but simply could mean just a stronger regen profile...

More to follow!

Here is the Youtube video that shows the ease of "downsizing" and the issues with "upsizing"

**edit #2**

Ok, apparently the 30 kwh pack WILL NOT work in any way in 24 kwh LEAF without a matching VCM swap.  A bit of lost in translation or something I guess. So I did a search at LEAF parts site and did not find a "VCM" but did find this

Part Code: 23740N
Part Number: 237404NP0B
Year range 11/2016 to Present
Quantity per vehicle: 1
*MSRP: $476.66
Fits vehicle filters:
( BODY = 'HB' and GRADE = 'S' )

Now, have no idea if this is the part that is needed and guessing even if it was, it still needs to be programmed so likely other equipment and codes are still needed to do a swap.  Still looking to be an expensive DIY project but also can see it being a viable Aftermarket Product although not sure that 30 kwh will warrant the price needed to make a profit. 

**Epilogue; The Saga of Sam's Shrinking Pack has come to an end. Today Sam finally received his LEAF AND 30 kwh replacement pack.  So all is back to normal, Sam is a happy camper and is now looking to take out a loan in order to pay for the gas on the loaner he had while the dealership got everything straightened out. 


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  2. Too bad he wasn't closer. I would love to scan the car now with my CANBus logger ( and see what I can see. Then again after the proper 30 kWh battery is installed.

    1. Well LEAF Spy does a pretty good job of showing Pack status. Will be posting his "real" 30 kwh LEAF Spy stats as soon as they are available!

  3. Knowing the 2016 LEAF is available with either 24 kWh and 30 kWh packs, I am not surprised this could happen. I'm assuming the 2016 kWH battery pack (either 24kWH or 30 kWH) won't fit in earlier version of the LEAF because body and chassis differences, Right? Will Nissan ever produce a battery upgrade for earlier 2011-2015 models? I would be surprised if they did.

    1. That is plausible but the same thing was attempted with a 2013 LEAF and the VCM would not recognize the full capacity of the pack so someone was able to do it by switching out the VCM from a 2016 LEAF.

  4. As the community of DIYers become more educated, we can expect upsizing to become popular. Just like shoehorning V8 motors into Honda Civics!

    1. That is the norm but its been a few weeks short of 7 years and we have yet to see anything significant. Part of that is the cost of batteries but also the VCM issue along with codes the LEAF requires. But the real reason is simply that EVs are getting cheaper and coming with longer ranges. So it makes a profitable model by aftermarket a very tough cookie to crack. With EV production expanding rapidly, battery cells are simply not abundantly available which keeps their prices high to small vendors. It will happen, but I don't see it happening in the near term

  5. I bought a replacement pack for my2011 Leaf,my mileage went up to 4.7 mi/kwh and is now at 4.4. I don't know if the new battery is that much better or perhaps I got a 30kwh battery and the guages don't recognise it as such.

    1. miles per kwh vary with the season. Unless you reset it constantly, its hard to tell. I reset mine daily and run a speadsheet. It varies .2 miles per kwh from Winter to Summer but that is LT average. The real variance is about 1.2 miles per kwh. pretty huge. Keep in mind that as battery degrades, it becomes less efficient due to increase in internal resistance as well

  6. Hi,

    just wondering about where you got your translation of the youtube video? I'm getting an automatic italian translation to english. I have a feeling that's not right!

    1. Check out the edits at the end. I didn't get parts of it right. The actual battery swap was done in Russia and got a summary of what happened from someone who had seen the Russian version of the process. It was his responses that were unclear although he later clarified them resulting in the edits.
      If you have any specific questions, I can answer or forward them to get an answer?

  7. I'm looking for a used 30 kwh battery pack and will probably buy it if I find one. Was thinking of swapping the BMS but if it works with a VCM I think that is good news.

    So, basically, you can get it to work if you also swap the VCM and set some codes using Nissan Consult? Is that your impression?

    As always, nice reading your blog!

    1. That is the gist of it. The real question becomes is there a VCM available to buy and if so, How much? I did a search for part on Nissan's parts page and couldn't find a "direct" match. I did update the blog to reflect what I did find but again, have no idea if that is the part actually needed. You might want to peruse the parts page to see what is available cause I am thinking its not so would have to get a used VCM compatible with 30 kwh as well

  8. Cool thanks. I think it should be possible to get the vcm as well. All of these parts come from crashed Leafs and I'm guessing the battery is probably more in demand than the vcm ( for solar projects).

    I live and Norway and I have contacted a few scrap yards and asked them to let me know if a 30 kwh Leaf turns up :)

  9. The biggest issue as I see this is the new Leaf. Think I'm gonna have problems restraining myself when it turns up. If I buy one I'm gonna keep my old 2014 Leaf as a car number two. But chances are it's gonna destroy my motivation for upgrading the car.. Time will tell.