Nissan to offer upgrade option for Leaf lithium ion batteries

Article by Anita Panait, on June 21, 2013

Owners of Nissan Leaf hatchbacks in the United States could soon avail of an upgrade option to latest lithium-ion battery technology, as part of the carmaker’s bid to become the largest volume seller of electric vehicles. Nissan will launch a program in the first half of 2014 that will allow customers to exchange battery packs, charging around $100 a month, the carmaker told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement.

Nissan currently guarantees to replace or fix Leaf battery packs that failed perform at a certain level within the first five years of ownership, or within 60,000 miles. Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of North American electric vehicle sales, remarked that technology is evolving and battery prices are expected to decline as electric vehicles “become increasingly mainstream.

”Gottfried remarked that Nissan’s optional program offers “more flexibility for the future” so customers can both upgrade to the latest available technology for their Leaf units and enjoy “more predictable vehicle operating costs.”

The current Nissan Leaf offers an average range of 75 miles per charge. Carmakers are becoming more flexible in how they sell their electric vehicles. For instance, Honda recently trimmed the lease price for its electric Fit while Nissan has re-priced the Leaf model line for 2013. Nissan even added modified lithium-ion pack could recharge faster and travel more miles. Tesla, on the other hand, is building a US-wide network of supercharging stations that will allow customers to recharge their units in just 30 minutes.

Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing, said: "Nissan anticipates that the great majority of our current LEAF drivers will never need this battery replacement option. However, this program is yet another example of Nissan's commitment to deliver peace of mind for our continually growing community of LEAF drivers." "Technology is evolving and battery prices are projected to decline as EVs become increasingly mainstream," said Gottfried. "Therefore, this new battery program today affords more flexibility for the future so that customers can both upgrade to the latest available technology for their LEAF and enjoy more predictable vehicle operating costs."

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