Putting Nissan LEAF Battery Modules Into A Chevrolet S-10 Truck – Video

2 years ago by Mark Kane 16

Chevrolet S-10 EV (source Wiki)

Chevrolet S-10 EV (source Wiki)

Jay Summet recently released a video presentation on retrofitting a Chevrolet S-10 EV with Nissan LEAF batteries.

Originally, the S-10 EV was equipped with 20 lead-acid batteries, so the move to 48 lithium-ion modules from a salvaged LEAF is not only giving a second life, but also a a much improved life.

Better acceleration, range and handling are allachieved by swapping lead-acid for LEAF batteries.

Above you can find extended video, while details can be found directly at Jay’s Technical Talk.

This video shows about 26 hours of work replacing 20 lead acid golf cart batteries with the 48 modules from a Nissan Leaf battery pack in my Chevy S-10 Conversion electric vehicle. Most of the action is at 16x real-time.

more about my truck

more about the Leaf battery modules

500 lbs (battery weight) instead of 1,200 lbs (544 kg) makes the difference, especially when you consider that the cost of batteries from the crashed LEAF was lower than a new set of lead acid batteries.

“Because I got a good deal on a wrecked leaf, and reduced my costs by parting out the rest of the car, the actual LiIon modules only cost me $1200 (less than a set of new golf cart batteries)! However, the overall upgrade cost me $4100 once I included the cost of a new charger, EVSE, and BMS system to support the LiIon batteries, plus all of the miscellaneous materials and tools I needed to build the batteries and cables. Not to mention the hundreds of hours of work. If I sell some of the old Lead Acid batteries I may slightly reduce that cost.”

This is the salvage Nissan Leaf I purchased to harvest the high voltage battery pack from. After clearing the trouble codes, I was able to get it into “ready” to drive mode, and move it around under it’s own power.

S-10 Conversion EV Nissan Leaf Battery Replacement

S-10 Conversion EV Nissan Leaf Battery Replacement

Below we attached a lot of separate, shorter videos at different stages of the project:

Drifting the rear end of a (Salvage) Nissan Leaf

Shade Tree Mechanic dropping a Nissan Leaf battery

This video accompanies the full description of how to remove a Nissan Leaf Battery Pack from a Salvage car on my blog at this URL

How to disassemble a 2013 Nissan leaf battery pack

I show how to open and take apart a 2013 Nissan Leaf battery pack to harvest the 48 battery modules (each containing 4 cells) inside.

Building a 16 volt battery from salvage Nissan Leaf Modules

I took the 48 modules from a Nissan Leaf battery pack and assembled them into 8 “batteries” of six modules each. Each battery is in a 3P2S arrangement, giving 16 volts and 180 Ah capacity.
They are going into my S-10 conversion EV.

This is a compilation of all the work that goes into making a battery. Details, plans, etc can be found at the above link. All of the action in this video is played at 4X-16X real time speed.

How to create custom length high current cables

This is an overview video showing how to create custom length high current cables (00 welding cable) for electric vehicle traction packs, off grid battery banks, etc…

Rivaling mill accuracy with a printed template and centerpunch

Using a printed template you can center punch drill pilot holes and rival the accuracy of a milling machine. It’s faster than using a mill, and a lot cheaper as well!

Hiding a J1772 EV charging inlet behind a flip up license plate

It includes a J1772 salvaged from a wrecked Nissan Leaf as well as a 120 volt 15 amp RV inlet for opportunity charging with a standard extension cord. (details)

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16 responses to "Putting Nissan LEAF Battery Modules Into A Chevrolet S-10 Truck – Video"

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The article says:

    “However, the overall upgrade cost me $4100 once I included the cost of a new charger, EVSE, and BMS system to support the LiIon batteries…”

    Glad he spelled that out. Nobody should think you can just disassemble a li-ion battery pack and swap out lead-acid batteries. Li-ion batteries need to be carefully balanced and monitored while charging; that’s why a BMS system is mandatory, rather than optional. Or at least, it’s mandatory if you want to avoid a serious fire hazard from overcharging, and want to avoid premature aging of the battery pack from unbalanced charging and discharging.

  2. doug says:

    Could not the charger and BMS be salvaged from the Leaf?

    1. Mike I says:

      That depends on whether somebody has reverse engineered it or got their hands on the documentation to know how to talk to it. You can always pull it out and hook it up, the problem is making it do what you want and knowing what they are telling you. Also, if the pack configuration and voltage is different than to Leaf, those factory components may need reprogramming.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah, in theory you could use the hardware from the Leaf, the BMS, but you’d have to know exactly how to program it. Nissan certainly isn’t going to provide you with instructions on how to modify their proprietary software.

        Unless you’re really good at hacking software, and you want a challenge, it would be better to start with a third-party BMS that comes with instructions on how to program it for different configurations.

    2. Bryan Whitton says:

      No, he repackaged the cells to create a battery with a different voltage. That would mean that the BMS from the original system would likely not be salvageable.

  3. Mark C says:

    I’d love to take the Leaf motor, gearbox, charger, battery pack or two, dashboard and stick them in my Buick Century coupe. Love the old Buick, would love it more as an EV. Can’t convince myself to convert it though, as I’m not fluent in electrical work.

  4. EVcarNut says:

    Hats 0ff to you on a Great Job.&.Nice Neat work too . , However, I would’ve Tried Some How to Make the Entire LEAF battery Pack Unit Fit Under That Bed ,Instead Of doing All that Work…W0W!!…Good Thing He Works So Fast…L 0 L….That Was a Big Undertaking…..Good Job !!!

    1. Jay says:

      Yes, if you could just bolt on the Leaf battery it would save a lot of work, but the rest of my system (motor/controller) are rated to a max of 144 volts, so I had to empty the leaf battery and reconfigure the modules into a lower voltage higher amperage arrangement.

      With the driveshaft/axle under the bed, I just couldn’t fit the whole battery anyways. If I were doing the conversion from scratch, I would certainly have made the battery bays 3-4 inches deeper, allowing me to insert the Leaf modules vertically. I could have gotten almost two Leaf worth of modules in there that way, and the hookups would have been much easier to get to.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Really appreciate you putting together those videos of your journey Jay! …which I might add, is a very strong name, (=

      2. ricegf says:

        What would be the estimated range and recharge time using 2 Leaves of batteries? Would you use two chargers and EVSE, or one?

  5. vdiv says:

    “Notice I said easier, not easy.”

    cracking up really loud 🙂

  6. BraveLilToaster says:

    I like this post in his blog:

    http://www.summet.com/blog/2015/12/31/lead-acid-batteries-for-an-ev-not-cost-effective/

    Plus, one of the comments on that page also mentions how it’s not really worth your time to convert a vehicle anymore when you can buy a used Leaf for $10k, and have *much* less work and maintenance to do.

    1. David Murray says:

      Yeah, I converted a vehicle about 10 years ago myself. It took me a year to do it and cost me about $20,000 in parts. And I did a proper job using welded steel, etc. (I’ve seen some that were held together with wood and bailing wire) And it was never very reliable. I was constantly repairing it. I suspected for a while that the DIY EV market would evaporate thanks to cheap, used EVs like the Leaf. With the exception of those looking to make performance cars.

  7. Bobby sweet. , says:

    Awesome

  8. ggpa says:

    Thanks for sharing the upgrade details. I am curious what is the S10 range with the Leaf battery?

  9. martinwinlow says:

    Bit puzzled why Mr Summet didn’t just watch all the other YT videos on this subject before starting… MW