Nissan to get rid of EV range anxiety soon with new battery

Article by Christian A., on January 18, 2015

One of the weaknesses, if it could be called one, of the Nissan Leaf is its range. But Nissan Motor Corp. may soon get out of this range anxiety, particularly when its rolls out the next-generation Leaf with a new electric vehicle battery by around 2017 or 2018, according to Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein said.

“We don’t need that much to get out from the basic range anxiety.” He admitted that Nissan currently is a bit short, but not for long. The MY2015 Nissan Leaf is EPA-rated to travel 84 miles on a single full charge.

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn disclosed on a Japanese TV broadcast in November 2014 that the carmaker getting ready a second-generation EV battery that will allow the vehicle powered by it to double its range.

Klein, however, declined to comment on future range targets. Nissan sold 34 percent more Leafs in 2014 to 30,200 units. Klein was named chief planning officer at Nissan in September 2014, jumping over from Renault SA. He then replaced Andy Palmer who was appointed as chief executive of Aston Martin.

Nissan’s single biggest change to the new LEAF is in the powertrain, where the modifications resulted in better range. The original version housed the battery charger and inverter behind the back seats in the vehicle’s luggage area. Even though it is relatively compact, the assembly extended along the full breadth of the trunk. Not only did it steal some luggage room, but it also prevented the possibility of a fully even load floor.

The charger and inverter now sit in the vehicle’s front, integrating with the electric motor. This not just increases the luggage area by 40 L, the same size of a piece of carry-on luggage for a plane flight, but this also allows for a move even floor than before when you fold down the rear seats.

Even though the highly reactive AC synchronous motor produces 80kW, like it did before, it has numerous new features that make it more eco-friendly and effective than before. The all-new motor has 5% less inertia, which improves the unit’s total efficiency.

The power stack may be taller because the charger and inverter are included with the motor, but the vehicle’s intelligent packaging has meant the lines of the bonnet line haven't changed, and it has the same weight distribution.

Like before, the motor runs on Nissan’s 48-module compact LI-ion battery set as a single unit beneath the cabin to keep the vehicle's balance point as low as can be. The battery housing is in a sturdy metal casing which offers added protection in case of a side impact, and its assembly occurs along with the Nissan LEAF in a new production site in the UK at Nissan's European production centre.

Its timed performance remains basically the same with a 144 km/h top speed (lower by 1 km/h) and going from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 sec (0.4 sec faster than before), and aerodynamic improvements, a weight-loss programme, and other technological modification raised the official NEDC range from 175 to 199 km.

Better practicality is within reach through the optional on board 6.6kW charger that allows drivers to use 32-amp public or home chargers.

A 32-amp post can recharge a spent battery in half the time that a typical domestic 16-amp EV socket would take, four hours not eight, but, more importantly, it can meaningfully boost a partial charge in a battery during even a short stop.

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Topics: nissan, electric car

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