Nissan aims to cut the cost of the Leaf’s lithium-ion battery pack

Article by Christian A., on August 26, 2010

For the Leaf electric car to make a profit, Nissan Motor Co. aims to reduce the cost of its lithium-ion battery pack to less than $370 per kilowatt-hour. This aim is comparable with the Japanese government's estimate of about 150,000 yen ($1,600) per kilowatt-hour for the industry.

In an interview with Masahiko Otsuka, president of Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (a joint venture between Nissan, NEC Corp. and NEC Tokin Corp. that makes the battery for Nissan), the target is actually "a lot tougher" than $370.

At the AESC's headquarters in Zama City, west of Tokyo, Otsuka told reporters that the pricing will rely on factors, which include the scale of production and resale value for recycling. However, Otsuka chose not to provide a time frame for the target.

The lithium-ion battery, which stores 24 kilowatt-hours of energy, is the most expensive component of the Leaf. The Leaf, which will go on sale this year, is priced at $32,780 in the US and 3.76 million yen in Japan before accounting for the government incentives.

Nissan, which doesn't offer a mass-market gasoline-electric hybrid car, is presenting the Leaf in order to comply with government emissions rules and in response to potentially higher oil prices.

Takeshi Miyao, an analyst in Tokyo at auto consulting company Carnorama, said that Nissan's battery is currently priced at about 1.05 million yen, or $472 per kilowatt-hour.

Miyao added that the other components cost about 1.4 million yen and that to secure a profit, labor and other indirect costs would have to be contained to 35% of the sticker price. [via autonews - sub. required]

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