2016 Nissan LEAF & Battery Production In Tennessee – B-Roll Videos

SEP 13 2015 BY MARK KANE 53

2016 Nissan LEAF's 30 kWh battery pack

2016 Nissan LEAF’s 30 kWh battery pack

Nissan released two new videos related to the new 2016 LEAF.

The one video (above) presents some assembly or testing operations of the new 30 kWh lithium-ion batteries at Nissan’s Battery Plant at Smyrna, Tennessee.

The second one below is presenting look of the car, which is nearly identical to the previous 2015 model – so not a heck of a lot new to see there.

What we know about the new batteries (30 kWh version):

  • new cell chemistry (more energy dense and improved warranty from 5 to 8 years and from 60,000 miles to 100,000 miles compared to 24 kWh, until fourth capacity bar gone)
  • new cell and modules design
  • the same number of cells (192) but packed 8 cells per module
  • the same pack dimensions

As to the question:

  • Can you buy a 30 kWh battery to replace an old 24 kWh battery with low capacity in an older LEAF?

The answer from Nissan, is NO. Physically it will fit, but there are other differences that make it incompatible with the car.

Categories: Nissan, Videos


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53 Comments on "2016 Nissan LEAF & Battery Production In Tennessee – B-Roll Videos"

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Too bad about no retrofit….but that’s kind of what I expected.

Too bad, indeed! If Nissan expects to keep me in a Leaf they had better give me a great trade-in offer on a Leaf 2 or lower the price of a replacement 24 kWh battery by a couple thousand bucks! I wonder what PBS does with those cars donated to them.

I’m a little surprised they didn’t go with larger cells. The Argonne study we had an article on said there are cost savings associated with going to larger cells. Both GM AND Tesla are using bigger cells.

Nissan used to claim they had 66 Ah cells, although nobody I know of has measured more than 64.5 Ah in a Leaf cell, and 55-60Ah would be more typical. But even that is more per cell than either GM or Tesla are using. Obviously, larger format cells take up less space, and weight with packaging.

With 192 cells, figuring 3.7 volts average from 4.2 volts full to 3.2 volts “turtle”, from a “30 kWh” pack that is only 42.2 Ah per cell. So there is a lot more energy in there than they are letting anybody use.

Tesla had, and still uses, very small cells. And even the newer bigger ones will be relatively small, compared to the old ones. Using bigger cells, makes packaging more complex. If you ever played with lego bricks, you know that building something entirely out of 2×4 bricks, is a lot easier than with 2×8 bricks.
There is also the problem of reuse. Not like in recycling, but using the same format in different applications.
And last, but not least, heat buildup. If something grows in volume, its surface area does not grow with the same pace. That makes cooling, of smaller cells easier and therefore the continuous power of the pack higher.

Got it. Elon is a genius, and our savior, and everybody else is an idiot or an apostate.

NO, Carlos Ghosn that built capacity to sell 600k LEAFs globally per year but has sold less than 200k to date is a genius.

Elon Musk that took a startup looking to sell a 1k high end Lotus Roadster electric conversions per year and now has a company worth over $32 BILLION is a moron.

Got it.

Is that $32 billion in paper stock certificates? I hope you bought enough to paper your walls with, when the markets crash again, for the last time. 🙂

And when the GigaFactory1 will be up and running, our Savior will offer battery upgrades for the Leaf.

I don’t know about genius, but Elon exactly predicted the thermal problems Nissan’s pack would have.

Actually I sided more with Nissan on this topic (even though I’m more of a Tesla fan), since on paper, Nissan’s chemistry should be able to handle it just fine. However, they totally dropped the ball in this regard and Elon was proven completely right.


Very disappointed to hear about the lack of upgradablity. What if we say pretty please? 🙂

These old LEAFs would seemingly go forever, if we could keep the cells up to date.

I’m right now very mad that I feel like cussing at Nissan and calling them pretty much very filthy word in the book for moron. The reason why I’m so flaming mad right now at Nissan is that I would bet $50 that the morons at Nissan put in some type of software in to the car’s drive system that would shut down the system if you put a new larger battery in that could fit in. This software bull crap is used on computer hard drives and by HP Computers to stop you from upgrading a computer’s mother board. How the software works is it shuts down the computer’s operating system stopping the computer from booting up. This is done by the swine so that you have to go buy a new computer or in this case car meaning you have to throw away the old car or computer. What we need right now is some professional computer hackers to get in and destroy this line of code in the car stopping us from replacing the batteries. But at least Tesla figured it out that not all people can’t afford to buy a new car when they only have… Read more »

And what’s those “other differences” that make it incompatible?
Voltage, harness, software maping, or plain programmed obsolesence.
Will there be a retrofit kit to accomodate to “other diffences”?
It’s bad, if you are stuck wiht old battery technology and can’t improve your existing car.

Where is the aftermarket industry when we need them?. I want the “we can shoehorn a 30kw into your old Leaf” guys, as well as the “we can take apart your old battery and change the bad cells out”.. preferably “while you wait”:-). I wish I had studied power engineering.

I believe the power electronics module isn’t compatible. So you’d have to replace that too, if the replacement is compatible with the rest of the car. Well you might as well just buy a whole new Leaf at this point.

Unfortunately, nothing really new in these videos we haven’t seen before except the paint color.

No retrofit. … that sucks.

This sets a precedent going forward, … I’d expect all the sequential battery upgrades to come won’t be available for the previous model.

This is how apple has gone with their computers in the last few years. They’ve gone out of there way to make sure you can’t upgrade anything.

I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything different from a “laptop on wheels”.


I’m sure if you installed a larger pack yourself, then Nissan won’t touch the car going forward. Thus locking yourself out of any “factory authorized” service.

Hopefully, independent shops and retrofit products will become prominent enough to work around.

But, of course, this problem isn’t EV specific. The OEM’s are doing everything they can to crush independent shops ..including making it illegal for them to work on your car.

It’s Econ 101: Nissan, like any car company, will do whatever they perceive to be in their best interest. Right now, while EVs are still owned almost exclusively by early adopters (like many of us here, including me) and offered in very small numbers, it makes little sense to offer an upgrade. Once customer can choose from buying, say, a dozen different 200+ mile/charge EV models, then suddenly car companies will have an incentive to sell battery upgrades, as it means they’ll be stealing business from competitors.

To me the biggest surprise is that the new 30kWh battery seems very similar to the current 24kWh battery.

This would have been the ideal opportunity for Nissan to start a trial run of the new LG chemistry that will be used for the long range Leaf 2.0.

Which makes me wonder … how mature is that new LG chemistry? Will be see Bolt and Leaf 2.0 soon? Or should we expect delays?

Cells will never be as cheap, or as good as people are hoping for. They will never beat ICE for price or range. The answer is to get over yourselves, and embrace smaller, more efficient vehicles…or enjoy watching the ice melt.

Hmmmm, not sure “never” is the right choice in this comment. Never covers a long time. You will still eat these words.

Gas, in my area, is under $2 per gallon, cheapest in ten years. EV sales are down here, and new SUVs and trucks are everywhere.

With luck, I might live another 20 years, long enough for the effects of climate change to be obvious even to deniers. If there is a battery “breakthrough” after that, maybe Musk can use it to detonate his nukes on Mars.

Never sound as long as infinity!
And like someone else have said, ” It’s a long wait specially at the end”

I’m going to have to disagree. The battery technology we have now come close to making an EV price competitive with an ICE vehicle. In fact, already so if you include total cost of ownership. It would only take cell capacity doubling from what it is now (at the same cost) to make the ICE more or less obsolete.

The new 107 Mile range of the 2016 Leaf is really enough for most people and their day-to-day travel. The issues we have in making that work for people have more to do with charging infrastructure and education than it has to do with the cells themselves. Once 200 mile BEVs become affordable in another few years, the ICE will be very threatened.

The private car has been obsolete for decades. Making it electric doesn’t change that.

As for the cost of EV vs ICE, and all our problems, I agree education is the biggest problem. I am afraid we Amerikans already know everything there is to know, and your edumication ain’t wanted.

I’d like to have a peek too into that crystal ball you’re using. You seem to be pretty certain of what the future is gonna bring.

And meanwhile, stare at this picture and you’ll know why an ICE drivetrain will never beat that of an EV on cost:

There is no doubt whatsoever that an electric drivetrain is superior to ICE….for more reasons than I have room to list. It is cars-as-horseless carriages that are old and in the way.

Take two!
Hundreds of moving parts..

ONE moving part !

Hey mod edit! What is the maximum resolution suitable?

Generally anything under 1000 pcx wide will get exploded into picture form once it gets trolled (every 30 mins or so). Your above links are fine…although they still wont fit perfectly – 750 is max viewable

The biggest killer of a dino juice powered car that I have seen is the transmission and the oil pan on a car. In fact Cadillac are very prone to transmission trouble and near to impossible oil pan leakage.

750, thanks!

“Never” maybe 5 years ahead.

Beat ICE in price or range is pretty easy. But no one likes the solution:

Cheap 20 mile electric car, totaly doable. Beats the ICE in price.

Very expensive 2000 mile car (Price > 10 million). Beats the ICE in range.

Both solutions are not wanted, most people want somethink like same price as ICE, half the range and decent charging (>100kW) all over the continent.

Why would they make it compatible?
Don’t forget, Nissan in the end is just another old style car manufacturer that never looks back.
Their solution to you needing anything upgraded in your car is for you to buy a new car.
I noticed that the only way to get LED headlights now is to get the opt of the range……

Tesla also improve Model S and brings new versions like P85D, P90D Ludicris and so one. I know some MOdel S driver disappointed, first they waited long and then there comes new Model S. They buy a second and their women get the old 🙂 .Every car maker wants to sell cars! In the end every upgrade incompatible is good for the market, we get mor used electric cars on the market.

So, in a way, every disapointed actual owner contribute to the used market.
Sadly, they also have contributed more for creating the new car market.
“Every trail discoverer has his back full of arrows”
Or something like that!

Leaf will need bigger and bigger battery to satisfy customers => costs rise or at least remain the same.
Volt will enjoy rising battery density => costs down, efficiency rise (as a result of weight loss).
Higher price for 30kwh Leaf proves it.

I won’t bet much on that!
Let see how the future promise of 200 miles EV will really be and will be fixed.
Probably a downward slope for price as better manufacturing technique and competition between the big boy really begin.
At the end, if you solve the battery parameter, BEV are much simpler vehicule and thus sould really be more affordable then now.

No amount of improvement in batteries can make up for people’s poor choices.

As an example, look at these EPA figures for the first Honda Insight (Still the most efficient production vehicle ever made.) vs the first Prius, which people bought instead, and later Toyota hybrids. Keep in mind that all of these cars spend the vast majority of their time with one person onboard.


Given what we face, how can anybody morally justify producing an electric SUV, let alone buying one?

This is a long history of poor choices then.
Armament, OGM, Nuke, cigarette, and whatever else is devil in the eye of the observer.
Chocolate cake, fat, Bigmac and TV could also be very poor choice.
But I would’t bet on that either.
I still tink BEV is a good improvment that improve people choices.
Don’t you think?

Your list is a pretty good one. I’d say cars fit right in, but ultimately may prove worse than all the others combined.

***mod edit (auto)*** images too large to embed, please click to view ***mod edit***Warren

Here is another example. This 16 year old car design, with a modified golf cart motor, and 21 kWh worth of used, first generation Leaf modules under the cargo area floor, has the same range, as a 2016, 30 kWh Leaf.




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images too large to embed, please click to view
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A modified golf cart motor ain’t gone push a street car very quickly or fast.
I doubt this could pull a car with 4 peoples aboard uphill in many places.
I get your point that everything could be made more efficient and this two place car might be going in that direction, but I would consider it inadequate for family traveling and inadequate for urban transportation of one soul only also.
Motorcycle or car of similar size would be good.
Cycling or walking would be better, but that implied a diffenrent way of living closer to each other.
Although rain, snow or bad weather doesn’t really help those.
It’ not the way we built our city and infrastructure.
So we have to live with what we did.

It is running an HPEVS AC-50.


There are hundreds of DIY conversions running this motor. Any car under 3000 pounds will get down the road just fine with this motor. Not 160 mph sociopath fast, but plenty fast for legal highway speeds.

This guy drove from Clinton, TN to Cape Girardeau, Missouri and back, at highway speeds, using J1772 charge stations, just like any Leaf owner would do. This conversion performs as well or better than the original.

Poor choice? I test drove one once bad rear view, very small interior and so fragile to handle! A very good strategy from Honda NOT to sell many.

Shouldn’t this drive down the price of used leafs?

I’m not going to buy a used leaf now for the time being due to this major flaw of not being able to upgrade the battery even though it fits in the same space. In that buying a used leaf and upgrading the batteries later on was one of my plans of getting a used electric car.

Right now I’m going to see what the Mitsubishi i-miev does with battery upgrades. I think Mitsubishi might be more willing for a upgrade due to them being a much smaller car maker and their EV has a horrible range.