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Production will almost double from 54,000 to 90,000 per year

With pre-orders for the Nissan Leaf closely approaching 20,000, Nissan and joint venture Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), the battery developer for electric and hybrid vehicles, are almost doubling production of lithium-ion batteries from 54,000 to 90,000 per year. 

To accommodate this increase in production, AESC is adding another production line in its facility in Zama, Japan especially for additional manufacturing of li-ion batteries. In addition to the Leaf, Nissan will be launching three other electric vehicles over the next few years and Renault will be launching four more, which calls for an increased amount of batteries and makes the extra production line a necessity.

Nissan, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation joined together to make AESC in 2007 to develop and manufacture batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. AESC has created batteries with "thin, laminated lithium-ion cells housed in a flat assembly beneath the floor" and "is intended to accept several rapid charging scenarios including a 50 kilowatt 'fast charge' which gives 80% charge in 30 minutes, or a five minute fast charge which delivers an additional 31 miles of range." In addition, reports show that the batteries for the Leaf only cost $375 per kilowatt, which is a $9,000 battery pack. 

Originally, Nissan's President and CEO Carlos Ghosn announced in early May that the Leaf and seven other electric vehicles from Renault-Nissan will "be backed by battery production capacity for 500,000 EV's per year."

"No other automaker will be producing electric batteries or cars at such a scale. And customers are ready," said Ghosn. "To date, 130,000 consumers in the U.S. have registered their interest in buying a Nissan Leaf. With sales starting this December, 13,000 pre-orders have been submitted in just over one month in the U.S. and Japan, largely driven by individual customer demand. This amount already surpasses our available production capacity for fiscal year 2010."

Ghosn added that production will only reach 500,000 if demand is strong. Currently, pre-order sales are at approximately 19,000.

With features on the Leaf such as a 100 mile range per charge on an 8 hour recharge time lithium-ion battery, prices as low as $32,780 (before a $7,500 federal tax credit) and even a "whistle" that alerts pedestrians when the vehicle is driving at low speeds, Nissan has high hopes for their new electric vehicle.

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Realistic Battery Ranges
By Keeir on 6/15/2010 1:03:42 PM , Rating: 3
100 miles is not accurate. Nissan has provided some more clear estimates:

The Leaf's problem (for majority of US Area) is the lack of a Liquid Cooled Battery. This won't be an issue for some people living on the West Coast who have garages... but for the vast number of commuters living outside some very specific places, the inability of the battery to use liquid cooling will be a real issue... especially along years 3-5 when increased aging may start cutting into range significantly.

My advise is for people to attempt to lease the Leaf over purchase. If Nissan refuses to lease to you because of location, number of miles, garaging, etc... you know its probably not a good idea to buy a Leaf either.

(Here's a high point of the linked article: traveling at 55 mph in 95 degree heat returns only 70 miles. Now, in Texas/Florida/Arizona, its more common to see 65 and 75 mph traffic which will reduce the range to ~55-60 miles on the day the Leaf is delievered. After 50,000 miles/3 years of the temperature abuse its really quite possible that the Leaf will only return 45-50 miles at speed highway miles in spring/summer/fall in the south)

RE: Realistic Battery Ranges
By KillerNoodle on 6/15/2010 1:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Soon they will come up with a range matrix that has speed and temperature as it's variables. Then notes that the usage of A/C, lights, radio and wipers will reduce the range.

Also the weather report will be imperative to check in the morning because it might mean that you wont make it to work and back that day.

RE: Realistic Battery Ranges
By Keeir on 6/15/2010 2:29:55 PM , Rating: 3
Unforuntely, thats not quite good enough.

Personally driving habit make a large difference in driving distance.

The Leaf is a fantastic car. Its almost affordable (post 12,500 in Federal and State funds) enough to be a commuting only car or a third car.

I personally perfer a sturdier design with either more range or a range extender, but I can't really afford to have a single purpose car.

RE: Realistic Battery Ranges
By Spuke on 6/15/2010 5:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
I personally perfer a sturdier design with either more range or a range extender, but I can't really afford to have a single purpose car.
That's my only problem with these cars is that they really are single purpose. This isn't really a diss on the car, just that it doesn't work for me and likely never will. Unless some battery tech shows up in the future that allows much longer ranges and shorter recharges.

Considering the climate where I live, an EV would need a range of 150 miles in the worst of conditions with a good load on the battery (A/C or heat with extra passenger in 20 deg winter, 110 deg summer temps). Even then, I can still only drive to work and back and to the store. IMO, even at $10,000 USD, I could not justify the cost. A Ferrari Enzo is more practical.

RE: Realistic Battery Ranges
By Kurz on 6/16/2010 9:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
Does it say something that when most people will steer clear of the car because of its range or lack of it?

It only becomes a 'fantastic' car when you take in account the massive subsidized tax credits for it to make sense.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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