Print 27 comment(s) - last by peternelson.. on Jul 20 at 8:45 PM

Leaf battery packs may store solar power once they are ushered out of automotive duties.  (Source: Nissan)
Leaf battery will last much longer than the vehicle will

Nissan is working on what to do with the battery packs inside of its Leaf EV once they have reached EOL status for automotive duties. Once the vehicles are at the end of their life, the batteries will still have a very large percentage of their charge capacity.

Nissan says that the battery will likely have 80% of its original capacity when the car is ready for the scrap heap and have use in other markets such as energy storage. Nissan is looking years down the road when the Leaf is aging and there are old battery packs on the market. To find a green and profitable use for the old batteries, Nissan is pursuing the possible use for the batteries in storing electricity. 

The push to find a viable way to recycle the batteries also comes not long after the massive tsunami devastated parts of Japan and blackouts were common from damaged electrical plants.

Nissan has demonstrated a new system that uses old Leaf battery packs. The system has four Leaf batteries in a cellar inside a Nissan building. These batteries are hooked to 488 solar panels on the roof of the building. Nissan reports that the battery packs store energy the solar panels create. The power created is enough to charge 1,800 Leaf vehicles per year.

The Detroit News reports that other carmakers are working on similar plans to reuse their EV batteries including Toyota and Honda. These companies are working on linking hybrids with a driver's home to form smart grids. A Leaf battery with 80% capacity could store enough electricity for two days of use for a normal household.

Nissan Corporate Vice President Hideaki Watanabe said, "What's important for Nissan is to show solutions through EVs, step by step."

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By cruisin3style on 7/11/2011 3:20:26 PM , Rating: 5
how many batteries would it take to power Al Gore's home?

A Leaf battery with 80% capacity could store enough electricity for two days of use for a normal household.

RE: So
By tng on 7/11/2011 3:38:41 PM , Rating: 5
Which home? I understand that he now has 4 or 5 since he recently acquired another one.

I recently heard that while Gore doesn't even try to practice what he preaches, George W Bush's ranch in Crawford TX is off the grid. Go figure.

RE: So
By DanNeely on 7/11/2011 3:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
That'd be amusing if true, although I suspect the reason probably has more to do with being in the boonies and the cost of running utility poles. With that assumption though I have to wonder if his primary power source is wind/solar with battery storage; or a diesel generator?

RE: So
By runutz on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: So
By Smartless on 7/11/2011 5:34:07 PM , Rating: 4
Dude, he didn't say Dallas. Crawford is kind of the boonies since it's population is around 611.

And a google search before posting (though I'm generally guilty of doing this) shows it truly is a "green" house with solar panels, geothermal, rainwater catchment, so on... Whatever his reasoning for building it this way, it is ironic that Al Gore's homes use about 10 times the electricity. Maybe because he "invented" the internet (another misquote but still funny).

RE: So
By UnauthorisedAccess on 7/11/2011 9:02:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm reading 'boonies' and all I can think of is a paddock full of Boonies (

Imagine the beer consumption... ;)

RE: So
By UnauthorisedAccess on 7/11/2011 9:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
RE: So
By Solandri on 7/11/2011 9:26:34 PM , Rating: 3
RE: So
By YashBudini on 7/11/2011 9:15:27 PM , Rating: 1
how many batteries would it take to power Al Gore's home?

How many to power Rupert Murdoch's?

RE: So
By shiftypy on 7/20/2011 3:51:27 AM , Rating: 2
It is still a motherload of power in one car. And it can only drive so far. And not very fast.

doubt it's that durable
By zephyrprime on 7/11/2011 1:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think lithium manganate is *that* durable. Most cars are on the road for a long time. Even though the first buyer may only hold onto it for about 5 years, it then get's passed on to a second buyer and may make it's way to mexico eventually. Is the battery really going to last for that many charge cycles?

RE: doubt it's that durable
By gamerk2 on 7/11/2011 2:06:00 PM , Rating: 3
Why not? End of the day, its just basic Chemistry we're talking about...

RE: doubt it's that durable
By zephyrprime on 7/11/2011 5:26:43 PM , Rating: 2
That argument makes no fricken sense. Dynamite is also basic chemistry. Let's see you undo that reaction.

Durability of lithium ion chemistries is one of the primary challenges facing lithium ion batteries. It's a problem not so easily overcome. We've been using lithium cobalt batteries for more than a decade in our laptops and our laptop batteries still lose about 20% of their capacity even when not used.

RE: doubt it's that durable
By Rick_D on 7/12/2011 1:09:21 AM , Rating: 4
Isn't the lifetime limiter for iPods, iPhones, etc. their non-replaceable battery? I get about two years max out of a laptop battery. Since a gas or diesel car can easily go 250,000 miles (about 20 years at the U.S. average 12,000 miles a year) or more with reasonable care, are they saying that their battery will still have 80% capacity after that much driving? After 20 years? If so, can I please buy my next laptop battery from Nissan?

Or are they admitting that their cars suck and won't make it much beyond the 50,000 mile minimum EPA requirement?

RE: doubt it's that durable
By Dr of crap on 7/12/2011 10:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
Dude you think that the ipod and iphone batteries CAN'T be replaced!?? What about your laptop - can't replace that as well? Wake up, these ARE replaceable!

RE: doubt it's that durable
By Nutzo on 7/12/2011 1:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
The number of charge/discharge cycles a battery can handle depends not just on the specific chemistry, but how fast and to what capacity it is charged/discharged.

The Volt only uses around 1/2 the capacity of the battery to increase the longevity, same as most hybreds.

Laptops generally use the full capacity of the battery (and they charge the battery faster), so the life span is much less. They could extend the range on the cars, but then you'd have to replace your battery every couple years like on your laptop.

Of course the laptop companies could make a longer lasting battery, but people don't want to carry around a laptop that weighs couple more pounds, or have a battery that only last a hour.

RE: doubt it's that durable
By mindless1 on 7/13/2011 1:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
Shelf rot. The battery degrades even if it is not used.

Also it is not normally true that other devices use the full capacity of the battery, they all have low voltage cutout circuits because full drain even once significantly (permanently ruins) damages the battery. For example phone batteries that cut out at 3.3V when that is only ~ 70% of capacity.

In short, all Nissan really doing is creative marketing that they HOPE consumers are too ignorant to realize is a very bad situation, to have a car that falls apart even before the battery does.

The reason prior small cars were abandoned early in their lives was they cost less to begin with and sustain more damage in accidents, so the repair cost more easily totaled them for insurance purposes and replacement cost a lesser expense. That all changes when it's an EV with a costly battery pack.

Nissan obviously has it backwards, customers want a car that not only lasts as long as the battery pack, they want replacement packs inexpensive enough that the car isn't considered scrap material merely because the battery pack is dead - but that is the other better use for old packs, to replace those that have failed in existing aged leafs... or is it leaves?

RE: doubt it's that durable
By peternelson on 7/20/2011 8:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
I took the opportunity to test drive the Nissan Leaf here in the UK a couple of months ago.

My impressions:

It is bigger than I expected. I'm six feet tall and I could fit in the driver seat ok.

There is reasonable luggage space (although the storage area for the battery below intrudes on the shape of it, and this may change in a later model redesign).

The car was very quiet in driving, even the windscreen wipers were very quiet.

Some of the navigation eg to nearest charging points, range recalculation (based on how eco your driving is, and a gameification of this illustrated by a tree), remote warm up and diagnostics from a cellphone, LED lights and reversing camera were quite hi-tech, although on one occasion the satnav voice seemed to instruct me to make a non-existent or illegal turn.

The total range is not as good as a Tesla (perhaps half), but is ok for regular commuting and I guess you can use a hire car for longer journeys. If you find a fast charging point (high current/voltage) you can boost in 30 mins while you drink a coffee. If you don't hammer it you can achieve more miles.

There is enough "oomph" certainly being there to accelerate when you need it in normal driving conditions (it is not a sports car so I don't think the "reach to the radio" demo of Tesla's G force pinning you to the seat will work here).

The acceleration and regenerative breaking seemed very smooth to me, much more so than a conventional car.

Now to the point being discussed: I asked about the battery life and replacement cost. The Nissan reps said the battery was guaranteed for a full 5 years and would likely last some years longer but could not say how much longer. They could not give a replacement cost, but it will likely be an expensive item. On the other hand, you need relatively little maintenance compared to a conventional engine there is less to go wrong so less ongoing payments to mechanics at the garage.

Here in the UK our fuel is heavily taxed. This makes a stronger business case for an electric vehicle than in the US, where the taxes and costs are not quite so high. There are further perks here like some free parking, charging, no road tax payment and no congestion charge. For now there is a 5K GBP government rebate/discount, similar to some US schemes eg California. The UK pricing was around 31K GBP or about 26K with the rebate. For about an extra grand, you could upgrade to having a small solar panel on the roof (about the size you see in stores that generates perhaps 15 Watts usually). This won't run the car but could probably keep the radio alive, for me it probably isn't worth it to add the solar panel.

I could see company car fleets buying Leaf for local use because the low running costs and corporate social responsibility angle.

I enjoyed the test drive and my impression was favourable, it's a lot of money to outlay, but the cost savings over time should offset that. If you are financing the purchase on payments you could compare the cost/benefit each month. If I was about to buy an electric vehicle, this one seems to have some strong points to make it a contender.

When exactly will this be?
By tng on 7/11/2011 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nissan is looking years down the road when the Leaf is aging and there are old battery packs on the market.
So they are selling this vehicle, correct? Not some kind of lease where it is only out there for a certain amount of time with limited mileage?

Unless there is some planned obsolescence involved, wont normal customers run the cars until the wheels fall off? Nissan's number of 80% would mean that city commuters with short commutes would not even notice and would not even think of replacing the batteries or trading in.

Also didn't Chevy come out with some kind of garbage about old Volt batteries as well. Storage for solar farms or something...

RE: When exactly will this be?
By Philippine Mango on 7/11/2011 1:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nissan Leases the battery in the leaf to customers so they don't have to bear the risk of the batteries failing prematurely.

RE: When exactly will this be?
By quiksilvr on 7/11/2011 2:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's not entirely true. They keep the battery under warranty for 100,000 miles or 8 years (whichever comes first). You pay the full price for the battery; you receive tax credit for most (if not all) of its cost to you.

RE: When exactly will this be?
By Qapa on 7/11/2011 9:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I had read that after 10 years it is expected to be still at 80%.

After 10 years you might want to buy battery pack 3.0 or 4.0 which gives you 500 miles or something and it is a good thing that these can still be used for something else - maybe you can get a discount for returning them :)

Anyway, 10 years is definitely a nice enough time to think about change. And I don't think it means people will want to scrap their cars, but if much better cars exist they might want to replace them - and some countries have/had some subsidies for replacing aging cars (>10 years and >15 years...).

Oh and yes, I'm a commuter but I would, of course, prefer to buy a car that can also be conveniently used for weekend trips :)

RE: When exactly will this be?
By Solandri on 7/12/2011 12:57:51 AM , Rating: 3
As much as I'd love a 500 mile EV battery, I'm really skeptical that a 2021 Leaf pack would give you 500 miles. Outside of changes in battery chemistry, battery tech improves at a pathetic rate. Historically it's been about 1% improvement per year. Li-ion has done better, but that was mostly due to futzing around with different electrode materials for years until we found a decent one (i.e. it improved a lot because the first ones were really crappy). Its improvement curve is starting to flatten as well.

Even if you figure a highly optimistic 5% per year improvement, by 2021 a Leaf battery pack v4.0 will give you 163 miles. Not 500. There are promising new battery technologies under research, but that was true 20 years ago too. Li-ion has been the only one to pan out so far.

By nananan on 7/12/2011 8:38:03 PM , Rating: 3

Free transport

By sdfdsfsdfs on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
By weiwei1 on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
By sdfdsfsdfs on 7/11/11, Rating: -1
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