Hybrid Industries Claims It Can Double Your LEAF Battery Pack To 48 kWh For Only $6,500

2 years ago by Mark Kane 74

2015 Nissan LEAF cutaway

2015 Nissan LEAF cutaway

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

A company called Hybrid Industries posted onΒ Craigslist an offer to double the kWh capacity of the 2011-2014 Nissan LEAF, thus extending range up to 160 miles.

Lack of info, photos and general presentation of how the upgrade works makes us skeptical, although most of us do wish for a longer range LEAF, so Hybrid Industries has indeed gained the interest of some LEAF owners.

Who wouldn’t like to have a 48 kWh Nissan LEAF? Hybrid Industries said that the additional 24 kWh will be added to the existing 24 kWh for just $6,500:

“We are upgrading any year any model Nissan Leaf. The system is now 2 times larger, the factory battery system is 24KWHR which is good for 80 miles, this is now 48KWHR which is good for 160 miles total. No additional computers necessary, this is a complete battery system upgrade. This upgrade is much more reliable, gets 160 miles per charge, the factory charger charges the second battery as well, no need for any additional components.”

Screen Grab From Hybrid Industries Website

Screen Grab From Hybrid Industries Website

By the way, Nissan is selling new 24 kWh packs replacements for $5,499 (although you must leave the old battery valued at $1,000, so the total cost of the new battery is $6,499). Price does not apply is you don’t have a battery pack to give to Nissan for replacement.

We do wonder how Hybrid Industries will be able to profit by selling 24 kWh for $6,500 ($270/kWh with installation included, we believe) and how they will manage to fit additional 24 kWh of battery, since the original pack remains in place.

The upgrade could turn the LEAF into a no-trunk car or a 2-seater.

Image From Hybrid Industries

Image From Hybrid Industries

Anyways, despite the fact that the 30 kWh version of the LEAF is now available, it seems there may be a market for battery upgrades. At least that’s what Hybrid Industries thinks.

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74 responses to "Hybrid Industries Claims It Can Double Your LEAF Battery Pack To 48 kWh For Only $6,500"

  1. Carsten says:

    Would love to get this for my 2012 MiEV. I don’t really use the trunk, except for the EVSE and an extension cord.

    1. RexxSee says:

      When I see expansion kits like this
      http://www.enginer.us/products/
      I know for sure car makers can do much much better than they claim.
      Maybe it exist for the i-MiEV

    2. Oskar says:

      Heya,

      Metron sells these units for the MiEV: http://eauto.si/metron-shop/?product=electric-range-extender

      Since these guys pulled off the 513 miles (826km) on a single charge: http://eauto.si/en/826-km-513-miles-on-a-single-charge/

      …I’d wager they know a thing or two about range extending. πŸ˜‰

      Cheers,
      Oskar

      1. SJC says:

        IMO that makes more sense, add 8-12 kWh in the back and put the cells in a crash proof case.

  2. Michael says:

    Do I see a Tupperware container? πŸ™

    1. EVcarNut says:

      TAMPERING!I wouldn’t Do IT! Who knows what consequences it will bring ,,…..No Thanks ! I’ll stick with the factory proven Product……

      1. Dan says:

        People should google “hoverboard on fire” before they attempt these kinds of mods. Lithium batteries use a highly flammable electrolyte. Can you imagine what would happen to a loose trunk full of cells would do in a crash. I’m willing to bet that they don’t crash test their addition.

    2. Nix says:

      I’m sure that tuperware is UL rated….

      /sarc

      1. SJC says:

        That Tupperware covers the electronics, it is better than a Radio Shack bud box.

  3. SparkEV says:

    If this is true, value of used Leaf just went through the roof!

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      No, actually the cost of making a used Leaf have any utility just went through the roof.

      Used Leafs are basically worthless; mine was.

      1. Aaron says:

        I consistently get over 100 miles of range on my used LEAF. (I drive exclusively in the city.)

      2. Epicurus says:

        Worthless on resale or trade-in, or worthless to you because of its range?

        I’m sure the trade-in value is not good because people don’t know anything about them, but that’s Nissan’s fault.

        1. Murrysville EV says:

          My Leaf’s actual range dropped to 36 miles in the coldest part of its 3rd winter. But even in summer, it never got more than 60 miles or so. And I’m not talking about what the range said, I’m talking about real miles.

          The buyout at the end of the 3 year lease was $18k, which Nissan was willing to drop to $13k. The car went to auction and ended up on a used car lot for $8998; it probably sold for $8000. MSRP was $38250, so it depreciated 80% in 3 years.

          So yeah, worthless on all counts.

      3. SJC says:

        I think if you made a 12 kWh unit, used LEAFs would have more value. I asked Nissan if they would sell me batteries, they said NO.

  4. Bret says:

    I knew this would happen sooner or later and it will only get cheaper in the future.

  5. Murrysville EV says:

    They clearly say it goes into the trunk.

    This will add at least 600 lbs to the car, pushing it up to 4000 lbs. This will also make is slightly tail-heavy, affecting handling, tire wear, brake bias, and load capacity. It effectively becomes a 2-passenger car, because the 600-lb battery eliminates 3 people from the mix.

    Because of the weight increase, range will NOT double.

    How crash-resistant is such a configuration? I don’t mind 24 kWH underneath the floor, crash-tested by Nissan, but I’m not sure about having a 600-lb lithium ion battery sitting behind me in the trunk.

    When I traded my 12 Leaf, its battery was already down to 18 kWH usable capacity, and 36-65 miles range depending on ambient temperature. So if this extra pack has 22 kWH usable (bringing my total to 40 kWH), that car might have gotten 80 to 144 miles range configured this way, but really more like 72-130 miles due to the extra weight.

    And how will this battery be cooled?

    The extra range would be nice, but it’s not worth pouring $6500 into kluging an old EV when a factory 200-mile EV is only a year away.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      My FFE has a rated carrying capacity of 800 pounds, I believe the Leaf has a similar load rating. With me driving these batteries would make my car basically a one person vehicle but nothing my car wasn’t designed for. A good battery box and some well engineered mounting brackets would minimize crash dangers. I’m not sure I would want to sacrifice the cargo capacity of my car but as the first generation EVs mature we have to expect these kinds of conversations to occur.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        If anyone is really serious about wanting more range go ask some professionals like at EVTV or EV West, I’m sure they can engineer what you want.

    2. RexxSee says:

      If they are LiFePo4, they are not so heavy.

    3. Mister G says:

      I wouldn’t transport my family in a modified Leaf too risky.

    4. IndyFlick says:

      My neighbors Mercedes S-Class lost $38K of value in it’s first year and he didn’t even get a $7500 tax break! Yep, cars depreciate.

  6. Rick says:

    Strange the pic above is a 2nd gen Prius with what looks like a bastardized leaf pack?

    1. JP white says:

      Looks like the truck of a LEAF to me.

  7. ggpa says:

    I am worried that the extra weight is too much. What if the extra battery came in a trailer? Then you would still have 5 seats and extra range.

    Also, for short trips, you could leave the extra battery at home.

    And, if you destination does not have a charger, you could leave the trailer at a charger and drive on to your destination.

    1. SJC says:

      It is the payload, a 2011 LEAF is spec’d at:
      Curb weight 3,375 lbs.
      GVWR 4,322 lbs.
      That leaves 1000 pounds of payload, the extra batteries use up 600-700 pounds of that.

      1. wavelet says:

        Thanks for digging up the figures. So, Payload is 947, leaving ~350 after this 2nd battery is installed.

        Given that an average US adult is ~180lbs (averaging male & female numbers from here:
        http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/body-measurements.htm ),
        you can’t even fit in two average adults… Let alone their clothes, any cargo or more people.

        1. Mister G says:

          In the South, the average American weighs 220 pounds…there are a lot of obese Americans on the path to diabetes.

        2. SJC says:

          A LEAF 24 kWh battery pack weighs over 600 pounds, this almost doubles that.

      2. ggpa says:

        Did you guys miss the word ‘trailer’ in my post? It was there on purpose, because it solves the payload issue.

        1. Texas FFE says:

          Trailers are a major challenge. Not only does trailering void most EV warranties but technical issues such as voltage matching, battery balancing, charging system integration and battery management have to be addressed. There are a number of home built battery trailers but there’s not any commercially available yet. Battery trailers make a lot of sense but right now if you want a battery trailer you are probably going to have to build it yourself. That being said, there are always a couple of dozen wrecked EVs being auctioned that can be purchased for shipping costs + and can be used for battery trailer parts.

          1. ggpa says:

            You are missing the point. The objections you list have nothing to do with trailers.

            You write about “technical issues such as voltage matching, battery balancing, charging system integration and battery management have to be addressed”

            Are these issues unique to trailers or things you have to deal with whenever you add an additional battery? I think it is the latter.

            1. Texas FFE says:

              You are right that these issues are not unique to trailers but trailers make the issues more challenging. If the trailer batteries are coupled to the vehicle batteries then the battery balancing would be shot whenever you disconnect the trailer. Watch the clip on battery balancing on EVTV and you will see how serious a problem this is.

              Also the voltages and battery management of the trailer have to match that of the vehicle. So you can’t build a trailer for a Nissan Leaf and expect it to work with a Ford Focus Electric. I’m sure we will eventually have commercially available battery trailers but all these unique technical issues are a good indication of why don’t have them already.

              1. ggpa says:

                This is not correct – “If the trailer batteries are coupled to the vehicle batteries then the battery balancing would be shot whenever you disconnect the trailer.”

                1. Texas FFE says:

                  This IS correct according to EVTV. Once the batteries are decoupled and the vehicle is driven, the vehicle batteries are no longer balanced with trailer batteries. If the batteries are charged together then the batteries with the higher state of charge could get destroyed because of over charging. Battery management systems do not prevent this. Before you belittle battery balancing again please go watch the battery balancing clip on EVTV.

                  1. ggpa says:

                    Merry Christmas to you. And please bear in mind that what is covered in the EVTV video is ONE way, but not the ONLY way that batteries can be joined together. A community like insideevs is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge. All the best.

              2. ggpa says:

                I think you can’t see the forest for the trees.

                Adding a second battery to an EV allows you to extend the range. But the payload becomes a problem. And the car performance and economy suffers as well, even on short trips. A trailer generator or battery solves several of these problems, and it does add some challenges (like backing up!), but not the challenges you mention.

                1. Texas FFE says:

                  I’ve been pulling boat and motorcycle trailers virtually my entire adult life and I’m almost at retirement age. I don’t see backing up a trailer as a challenge. Like I said before, if the technical challenges of battery trailers were not so daunting they would already be commercially available.

  8. pk says:

    It doesn’t leave a lot of space in the trunk area but if you’re OK with that I can see this as useful for older Leaf models.
    It will add weight to the car and since it’s all in the back it will change the weight distribution as well.
    I suppose they didn’t say where they’re sourcing the batteries from?

  9. Ken says:

    Nissan installed a second 24kwh pack themselves for a race they were doing. It shouldnt be very hard. You just install the whole pack and the bms and parallel it to the existing pack. There js plenty of room in the trunk of the Leaf. If you use the space under the trunk floor as well, you most likely would be able to keep the back seat. I fit 16kwh of calb cells in my Leaf trunk before for my Geo Metro Convertible EV and it fit fine and the extra weight didnt faze the car one bit. With the early Leafs out of warranty now, i think this will be popular. The price will be the only hurdle, but $6500 is tempting. I drive 20-25k miles a year in my Leaf but could only use the larger battery 2 or 3 times a year. For those trips, i just use chademo. The hot setup would be if it included another 6.6kw onboard charger so you could charge from two charging stations at once so it doesn’t take twice as long to charge up.

    1. wavelet says:

      See my reply to SJC above — if you’d only need the extended range several times a year (I think that goes for most drivers), would it still be useful if you could only haul 2 adults, with no cargo whatsoever? This turns the LEAF into effectively a 2-person car.

  10. Murrysville EV says:

    Their web site doesn’t even provide a street address (area code is southern Nevada), and the ‘contact us’ page isn’t complete, revealing that it is purchased and run by amateurs.

    http://hybridindustries.webs.com/about-us

    Hucksters or hackers, stay away.

  11. Fabian says:

    If the roomers of used 1st gen leafs being found at dealerships for 5k are true, this might be worth it. I know a guy in San Jose with a 1st gen leaf having 50k miles on it and he now only gets ~50 miles charged. He can’t even sell the thing cuz of this, nearly worthless. Seems like that amount of range loss in 50k miles is a black eye to the EV world. I hope the Bolt will be better engineered, like the Volt has been.

  12. D says:

    So I guess we now know where all those 70% degraded Leaf batteries are ending up! πŸ˜€

  13. goaterguy says:

    I also saw on Craigslist that I can get a massage from a beautiful woman for $20… Guess that could be true too.

  14. Sausage Factory says:

    Their website is a joke. On the About Us page:

    “Why Us?

    Add some text about what sets you apart from your competition.

    You could also use this area to display a mission statement, information about your team, awards or certifications, or anything else that will help establish credibility.”

  15. Jonathan says:

    Forget the added weight of the pack in the trunk or adding 24kwh of extra batteries, how about you take my old battery when it is at 65% capacity, fill it back up with smaller cells and squeez 30-34kwh into the same case and put it back in. If you can do that for $5500, you can have my money in a few years. However, my gut tells me that shortly after leaf Gen 2 gets here in mid-late 2017, you’ll see Nissan selling the 30kwh packs (for 11-16′ leafs) for the same $5500 they currently sell the 24kwh packs for. If my 2015 leaf is at 65% capacity in 4 years and I can buy a 30kwh pack for that price (without voiding warranties), I’ll do so without hesitations.

  16. Bill Howland says:

    Well assuming it is true, and the make $1000 on the installation, the price seems fair.
    2
    As far as connections I bet it is HV+ & – , 12 + & – ; if the batteries are the same they should charge similarly.

    =

    1. wavelet says:

      Does the car management computer magically know about the new battery? Does the instrumentation give any info about the updated range and/or charging state of the new battery? Can you set the car to charge it at off-peak times? Is there any thermal monitoring of the new battery?

      If the answer to any of those is “Yes”, how is it done?

      1. Cavaron says:

        I would say, if they exactly doubled the batteries, they hooked the new one in a parallel installation. So same voltage but more ah. Since the BMS/charger works voltage-based (high voltage = batteries are full, low voltage = empty), this should work. The guess-o-meter will adapt to the higher range in time.

        1. wavelet says:

          I don’t think it’s nearly that simple.
          — The orig. pack’s capacity & voltage vary somewhat with age, usage history, and driving conditions, as does the new one’s, so there’s no exact multiplicaiton factor you can use, 1.0 or otherwise.
          — A lot of the info given the driver (Wh/distance, available range) is in absolute units. I really want to know how many more km I can go at current consumption, not how many % of battery are left.
          — If the orig. battery’s BMS doesn’t know that the second battery exists, it may behave wrongly (the 2nd battery might mask a serious fault with one of the original’s cells, so the BMS won’t know and won’t alert you in time).
          — Does the add-on battery have a BMS? If so, how does it communicate any info to the driver? Even many e-bicycle BMS’s can give such info, and for the ones that don’t, shutting the battery down in case of emergency is not a biggy, because the rider can still pedal. Not so for a car.

          1. Murrysville EV says:

            All good points. Putting an old battery and a new one in parallel can ruin the new one, along with all the other concerns you mention.

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Batteries in parallel are never a problem if the end voltage is roughly the same.

              Series string batteries can’t be mixed within the string since current will be forced through the cell whether it wants it or not, so the only way it works if all the seriesd cells in a given string are similiar.

              But that doesn’t hold for a separate paralleled string.

              1. Texas FFE says:

                Newly assembled parallel batteries have to be balanced. This typically means pulling the battery packs apart and draining the cells individually. An unbalanced pack could lead to multiple cell failures during charging.

                Battery management systems are not designed to manage unbalanced packs. I’m not an expert on batteries but I did watch the clip on battery balancing on EVTV. It looks like it takes real commitment to balance battery packs properly.

                1. Bill Howland says:

                  NO.

                  Paralleled battery strings existed before EV’s. That’s why they call them batteries..

                  Hooking up 100 paralleled strings is no more difficult than hooking up
                  1 string in 100 different cars. Its what is going on inside the string that matters.

                  Leaf’s I thought didn’t have much management to begin with so who cares? Besides if the churner fan turns on for the original string that info can be used to turn on the dup
                  licate churner fan in the new string.

                  When I’ve paralleled strings I’ve just made sure the cells in the string to be paralleled are fully charged individually (on lead acids u can do that with an equalizing charge), but if your cells are especially finnicky you can charge them up individually just to make sure they are all the same charge level when complete, and then match float voltages of the to be added string to the existing string and it should work fine. You dont have to discharge anything. If they’re doing that its a needless step.

  17. John Hollenberg says:

    I must say, this “story” is not worthy of insideevs. There is no evidence that this “company” can do what it says… None. How about waiting until a couple of people get this (? vapor)ware installed, testing the resulting range, then writing a story?

  18. Ocean Railroader says:

    I remember seeing this website at least two years ago. And I have been wondering if anyone has used their services. What is interesting about this is they say they will use Nissan Leaf cells which are the first generation battery cells. But this makes me question what would happen if you added the next generation cells with 25% more capacity into this idea.Such as you could take 25% of the battery weight out of this upgrade idea. Or swap out the old cells in the existing pack.

  19. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I’ve been wondering if there would be enough of a market for an upgraded battery pack, to create an aftermarket for it.

    But this article (and many comments above) are right to be highly skeptical about this particular offer. Many people adept at fixing and modifying cars are capable of doing a jury-rigged conversion of a gasmobile to an EV. It would take more electrical engineering skill to hook up a second battery pack to a BEV’s existing one, and get them to work together including charging both off the same charger.

    But just because someone can do it, doesn’t necessarily mean it would be either safe or reliable. “Murrysville EV” is right to raise issues about changing the weight and handling of the car, and the safety of securing such a heavy weight in the car, too.

    I’d certainly recommend to anyone who’s thinking about such an upgrade to wait until it has been tested and reviewed by someone or some company with the equipment and experience to do a proper test.

  20. RexxSee says:

    The web site is prefab, it doesn’t mean they do not do a serious job, it only means that they are a modest startup.

  21. White Leaf says:

    I am particularly impressed by the “no testimonials yet” part.

  22. philip d says:

    Or just wait 2 years and buy the 50 kWh Leaf from the manufacturer with a usable cargo space and the manufacturer warranty in place.

    1. Filip says:

      Or I’ll buy it now and save 15000 bucks on gas over these years and then sell the car with the extra range in two years and buy a new one.

      The gas price in Sweden is 5,4dollar/gallon (and that is the cheapest we’ve had in at least five years).

    2. Texas FFE says:

      There 350,000+ late model EVs on the road in the United States right now. Most of those are first generation with limited range but will be usable for several decades to come, long after the warranties expire. We need options for upgrading these vehicles and keeping them on the road. Used EVs, even ones with expired warranties, provide the opportunity for lower income households to embrace with benefits of electric vehicles.

  23. Surya says:

    Can the extra pack also handle fast charging? What’s the life expectancy? Very, very little information to go on!

  24. Filip says:

    Really cool. Longer range is much needed! I would use the longer range every day. More weight doesn’t lower the range as much as one would think since the major resistance is the drag from wind when driving at high speed.

    Today i get a bit more than 60 miles from one charge. Less than that is actually hard to get if you’re not driving like crazy. With this I’d get 120 decent miles. Then i could drive for two hours without stopping and almost between any Chademo charger in Sweden.

    The 200mile cars later on will probably get you around 120 miles irl anyway.

    To buy a used Nissan leaf is 10000 bucks and this is an additional 6500 which is a bargin for 120mile irl range.

  25. ModernMarvelFan says:

    With the extra battery it will just end up with 100 miles range since they will degrade so quickly… LOL.

    With the extra weight, now the LEAF will be slower than a school bus.

    1. You spread lies over lies.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        So, it is the truth then.

        Fact: LEAF are slow. 0-60mph in about 10 seconds.

        Now, with extra battery weight, it will be even slower.

        Fact: 2011/2012 LEAF are known to degrade in heat with their battery.

        Extra battery will help with that by adding more weight.

        Maybe the famous Steve Marsh should get this option then…

  26. We are developing an auxiliary 18kWh and 36kWh battery for the 2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EV.

    With dual JdeMOs, the car will change at up to 250 amps (from two existing side-by-side CHAdeMO stations), which is a peak of about 90kW.

    Total battery capacity will be 45 + 18 + 18 = 81kWh total, or about 70kWh usable. At 3 miles per kWh (333 wattHours per mile), range would be over 200 miles.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      Thanks Tony for injecting some sanity into this thread. EVs are robust vehicles and can be expected to last decades with proper care but the batteries are a weak point. It’s going to take people like you to make sure that not only do these EVs stay on the road but that the performance of these first generation EVs continues to improve during their lifetimes.

  27. Warren says:

    I get that there is nothing happening with EVs for at least a year, but this post is pretty sad. The picture is of a plug-in Prius conversion, not a Leaf. If they had done Leaf, there would be a picture.

    Could they do it? Even I could add second Leaf pack to a Leaf, in parallel. This isn’t nearly as hard as a DIY ICE-to-EV conversion. Why bother when you will be able to get a factory job with a tax credit, and a warranty in two years? Putting a Leaf drivetrain into a Miata would be a much more interesting project.

  28. danwat1234 says:

    I’d like to see a similar setup for 1st gen Volts to get 75 miles EV range or so!

  29. George Sedlmayr says:

    I think another avenue that is worth exploring is replacing the cells in the current Leafs with a higher capacity, say 2 KwH cells instead of the 1. If not this year then perhaps in next 3-5 years.. then maybe Leafs will get the dreamed of battery upgrade rather than the supplemented battery pack talked about in the article above. maybe Hybrid Industries could try tghis one day.. food for thought