150-Mile Nissan LEAF Could Become Reality…So Too Could a 76-Mile Chevy Volt


Current LEAF Has 75 Miles of Range, Per EPA

Current LEAF Has 75 Miles of Range, Per EPA

Current Chevy Volt Has 378 Miles of Electric range, Per EPA

Current Chevy Volt Has 378 Miles of Electric range, Per EPA

Could…That’s the only word that matters here.

As has been widely reported now, the Nissan LEAF could get multiple battery sizes someday, one of which could allow it to travel up to 150 miles on a single charge.

If we assume that anything could happen in the future, then we’d have to assume that someday the Chevy Volt could get a battery pack that allows for 76 miles of electric-only range (double the 38 miles listed on today’s Volt).

One look at the current generation Nissan LEAF would assure all that stuffing a 48-kWh battery pack within is not feasible without losing some of the back seat or cargo area to kWhs.  This is not an option worthwhile for Nissan to pursue.

So, what Nissan is actually saying amounts to this:

When battery technology improves significantly, the LEAF will be able to go 150 miles on a single charge.

The same could be stated of all of the electric vehicles out there.

So, someday, the Chevy Volt could go 76 miles on only electricity.  It could happen.

But will it?  And, if so, when?  If we go by what the recent rumors surrounding the introduction of 2nd gen batteries into the R8 e-tron say…it could come as soon as the end of next year.

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25 Comments on "150-Mile Nissan LEAF Could Become Reality…So Too Could a 76-Mile Chevy Volt"

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And the Ford Cmax Energi would suddenly have 42 miles of range. The Plug in Prius would finally have 22 miles of range. I’m not holding my breath for any of this. And I don’t think the short term goals should be so much about doubling range as they should be reducing cost and increasing the range incremental amounts. For example, a Leaf with a true 100 mile range would be significantly more attractive to the public just for hitting that 3-digit number. That should be the goal for Nissan, anything over 100 miles EPA range. That’s only like 24 additional miles needed. The Volt, on the other hand would seem significantly more interesting to people if the EV range were over 50 miles. But, IMO the best way to handle this is to have multiple battery sizes. Then you can market the Leaf to people by saying, “Drive up to 104 miles on a single charge. Price starting at $22,900” or something like that. But when people get to the showroom they’ll find that the lower price is really for a Leaf with only 75 miles range. But then, train the salesmen to be able to look at a… Read more »

They just need to build the next gens with more range, period. Are you already forgetting Tesla dumped its short range version of Model S, because no one wanted it.

There’s a huge difference between the Tesla model-S and Nissan Leaf as far as customers are concerned. Typically, anyone who could have afforded the base model Tesla could probably afford the next step up to the 200 mile range version. People who buy a Tesla already have disposable income.

A Nissan Leaf is the poor-man’s EV and every dollar counts.

You misspelled “Mitsubishi i-MiEV”… 🙂

Silly “could” better would be “when”. Are battery improvements going to all of a sudden stop?
The battery industry is excited about lithium-sulfur batteries, that create this kind of revolution.
Here is a recent article:

There are 100’s of millions of dollars being spent on battery research.

I’d be happy if they just sell replacement packs with full mfr support and warranty for those with current gen vehicles, not just require you to buy a whole new car.

i.e. if gen two batteries offer double, Nissan will make Leaf gen-1 sized packs to drop in and instantly double your range, and GM offer volt gen-1 sized packs, etc

Then those who are purchasing instead of leasing might not feel so bad when those come out.

I think what is going on with Audi E Tron if they did have a existing model that could go 130 on a charge and they said they had some type of battery break though or several battery breakthroughs that raise it to 250 miles. Considering this is a major company and the Nissan Leaf along with several other car makers have had their EV’s have the same range for the last four years such as a Nissan Leaf still gets 80 miles a charge in 2014 vs. 2011 so even if someone had a small break though in the last few months we might be getting to see the first signs. Or most likely in my opinion the price of batteries has dropped so much that they can now jam more batteries into the same car for the same price.

I bet it’s 250 miles on the European testing cycle. So, 150 Amurican.

And while you wait for the unicorn, there’s this diesel, right over here. 😉

Yep, It may take a while before Audi pushes e-trons into markets. Because EVs are serious threat to their own business model, it is better that traditional auto manufacturers delays the advent of EVs as long as it is possible. And right now only Tesla is seriously pushing EVs forward.

But 2014 will difficult year for Audi because Tesla’s media coverage will increase exponentially. And as Tesla is ramping up production, Audi’s ultra-profitable premium car sales are just collapsing under Tesla’s sales.

I really think Lexus should be worried in that at a local Lexus dealership at least half the cars are pushing over $70,000.

Doubling the range would to much for EV sales.

The MY2015 Focus Electric scheduled for a ‘refresh’ that starts production July 2014, ‘should’ see a refreshed face and interior, and expected Combo Charger option, along with a boost in range.

The range boost would primarily be due to software enhancements that allow more use of current battery capacity, while still maintaining battery life. 20% of the Focus Electric battery pack is saved for safety and to extend battery pack life. Bumping the EPA range up to 80 miles would be a nice improvement if possible.

It’s also expected there will finally be a lower trim level offered for the Focus Electric. Ford recently announced an amazing 16 new models to be released in 2014 for just North America, and 23 globally.

It’s kind of depressing that a Ford EV would still only have 80 miles in 2014 when the Nissan Leafs have had a 75 mile battery range for the last four years. I think at the least with falling battery prices they could at least stuff enough new batteries into the car to at least raise it’s range to a 120 miles a charge which in turn take pressure on making the battery system last longer.

The volt could have more than 76 miles range on electric charge tomorrow.

Just get rid of that parasitic, polluting gas engine…

Nope I will keep my gas engine in my volt, I use it at least three times a week, I am Chinese food delivery driver, and get about 75 mpg lifetime. So a battery upgrade would be great, and three times a week I always drive between 90 to 160 .miles a per those days and I can’t stop to charge. My old car was about 24 mpg, so I am doing much better. I also used to have to do a Oil change every three weeks. So life is good. I also charge outside and rent. I think that I broke a lot of people’s excuses. I have owned my volt for about 19 months. 🙂

At the current rate of improvement in battery capacity of 6-8% per year, we can expect a doubling of capacity in approximately 5 years. Compound interest on technology innovation is awesome. Just think, in 5-7 years when an EV battery pack reaches end of useful life, a replacement of same volume (and weight) could double the original range compared to when the EV was new!

Looking at battery innovation from another perspective … in 5-7 years the 85 kWh capacity pack of today’s Model S could be made half the size and half the weight. Because of reduced weight, the maximum range would more than double.

While improvements in the lab occur every year; improvements in commercial production of batteries happen in a step fashion every 3-5 years. Timing may mean we only see a 40-50% improvement between vehicle generations.

The catch … a bigger battery capacity without faster charging may mean much longer charging times. Hopefully rapid charging becomes a standard option on the next generation of EVs. (eg: a 48 kWh LEAF charging on 3.3 kW will take ~16 hours, or over 30 hours plugged into a wall outlet)

At 7% per year, battery capacity would double in around 10 years.

Bigger battery does not mean longer charging times. That is because bigger batteries are proportionally faster to charge. It takes about 30 minutes to charge EV battery into 80 % with modest cell degradation. Therefore it takes for both 24 kWh Nissan Leaf and 85 kWh Tesla Model S about 30 mins to fast charge the battery. Somewhere I have seen that fast charging degrades battery about two to three times faster than standard charging. But this does not matter much, because it is likely that Tesla’s EV batteries are degrading due to old age rather charging cycles.

“…The catch … a bigger battery capacity without faster charging may mean much longer charging times. ….”

That’s not true at all. The charger will not charge more if the car is not discharged more. Longer charging times only result if the person drives more, and what’s so wrong about that?

Suppose my 230 mile roadster suddenly got a 2300 mile battery. I’d still use my plain old 30 amp charging dock and it will still run the same number of hours. Now if I went on a trip to georgia and the round trip was close to 2300 miles, then, yes, it would take probably weeks of average recharging to refill the battery…

You do not have to have a full charge every day, nor do you have to get done recharging your battery in one charging session. The only thing that matters is “does your battery have enough charge in it currently for the places I want to go today?”

Leaf is a city car, and in the city Like here in Vancouver where public chargers are every few km in any direction ,the range does not really matter to me. Waiting for 2014 Nissan Leaf.

Could…That’s the only word that matters here.

Seriously though.. I think ranges may increase a bit, but costs would come down first. As much as everyone one wants more range, I still think there is more pressure to get the sticker shock down, for those people who refuse to do math. For those of us that can do math, I hope they offer longer AER options for a price of course.

Do people remember the semiconductor fab pains in the 90s? You know how PV prices depend on the number of PV fabs versus the global demand? Lithium technology already powers the 275 mile continent-straddling Model S*. So, the problem is production capacity which puts a ceiling on price. When we get more production capacity, price will be ameliorated (as was the case with PV and even is the case with semiconductors and flat panels) down closer to the physical minimum energy and materials needed to build the cells, which is a LOT below the current price. THEN we will have more 150 mile cars. Cell chemistries will improve in mass- or volume- or [dis]charge-density around 8% or whatever. But we are not waiting for that. We are waiting for capacity. Nissan and Tesla are the biggest pushers, and they are waiting for capacity. It’s rather clear at this point. *(Yes, it requires a charger network, but even more fundamentally battery size is directly related to how fast it can re-gain miles at a charger–because every single lithium cell charges from 20-80% in 30 minutes, they need to be in giant pack to get more miles back more quickly.)

A Volt with 76 miles would be great especially if it has five seats.

I am delivery driver i only one seat for me four or five makes no difference and most cars th i drive by are occupied by just a driver and occasionally a one or two passengers, and the average US family size is dropping. So who cares about a 5th seat that is Almost never used.

I couldn’t agree more. Even with 40 electric miles, if the Volt had 5 seats, I might not be driving a LEAF right now.