30 kWh Batteries For 2016 Nissan LEAF In Europe Are Sourced From Japan?!

OCT 19 2015 BY MARK KANE 26

2016 Nissan LEAF dash

2016 Nissan LEAF dash

While researching new test drive reviews of the 2016 Nissan LEAF with 30 kWh battery on Eurekar we found a surprising statement.

Despite the fact that the European version of the LEAF is produced in Nissan’s Sunderland factory (alongside the Qashqai, Juke and Note) and since two years ago there’s been a lithium-ion battery production facility there, the new and more energy dense batteries for the 30 kWh pack are sourced from Japan. Only the final assembly is done in UK.

“The new batteries are sourced from Nissan in Japan although still assembled in the North East for European markets.”

Some more exploration needs to be done on the topic, but for now it seems that Nissan has switched on its first battery factory in Japan for the new type of cells and not in Sunderland.  Given that Europe is getting test drives at the moment and not the US, it seems like Sunderland will be providing 24 kWh battery pack cells and the new tech will be imported.

2016 Nissan LEAF's 30 kWh Battery (being completely made and assembled in the US)

2016 Nissan LEAF’s 30 kWh Battery (being completely made and assembled in the US)

We have postulated in the past (surrounding a potential deal with LG Chem on future cells in the 2nd generation LEAF) that Nissan might want to scale back manufacturing of its battery cells for Europe, considering how its sister-company Renault does business there and the lower volumes need thus far in the region.

Whether Nissan is actually scaling back and replacing production at some point via LG Chem, or from itself now in Europe, probably is inconsequential to the business case decision itself – if indeed it has been made.

For the US, the 2016 model has yet to hit retailer’s lots (or our office) despite our expectations for them to arrive at the start of the month, so perhaps US production of 30 kWh pack cells was secondary to Japan?

Wanting, to confirm the US status in relation to this news for the 2016 model year (and to verify if all the 2016 editions in the US would get locally made cells from the start) we got in contact with Nissan today, and they made us feel good, saying:

“All U.S. sold 2016 LEAF vehicles will have batteries sourced from the U.S., and the cars are built here as well.”    We expect to have one of these US made EVs ourselves shortly.

Anyway, back to the review.  The new LEAF was called much more refined compared to the original LEAF of 2010.

Range test went well too, although the description is a little cloudy:

“…we have just put the new Leaf through its paces on a gruelling mountain drive which is used as part of the Monte Carlo rally….We set out from Nice in a recently charged new Leaf which was showing a theoretical range of 140 miles.

By the time we reached the top of the Col some 90 minutes later the Leaf’s onboard power display was showing the batteries had been drained to 33 per cent of their capacity and the available range had fallen to just 45 miles…since the route back to Cap Ferrat just outside Monaco was downhill the Leaf quickly clawed back the miles.

With regenerative braking boosting the batteries on the go, within 20 miles the batteries had been charged to 55 per cent and the distance available had shot up to 95 miles – enough to complete the journey without any so-called range anxiety…with 38 per cent power and 52 miles still remaining.

Do the math, as they say and the real world performance of the new Leaf on one of the hardest drives imaginable was not far off what Nissan claims.”

Source: Eurekar

Categories: Nissan, Test Drives

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26 Comments on "30 kWh Batteries For 2016 Nissan LEAF In Europe Are Sourced From Japan?!"

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That’s pretty impressive !

What was the distance travelled and the average speed though ?

38 % charge at the end.

That indicates the total distance was between 60 and 70 miles, assuming the downhill recharge cancels out the uphill, which is mostly true at low speed

According to the article linked by the author, it is 45 miles each way for a total of 90 miles, hence the comment that this vindicates the (European or Japanese) 140-mile rating.

Their results make perfect sense to me: we did a similar climb to Mt. Baker (blogged here last year), with an 84-mile 2014. It was 37 miles each way (and some 4500 feet up then down), and we ended with 34% remaining.

I was probably less aggressive on the uphill than these test drivers were – but they had 25% more range to play with…

Thanks, I did not see the link.

BTW, they did not return to the same starting point, and it looks like the total length was 95 miles (45 up +50 down).

Roads like that are often very slow going, which extends range quite a lot.

Ugh, I cannot drive like that. I drive normally.

65mph up a hill.
When going downhill, I follow the speed of traffic (fast). I don’t want to be an idiot to other drives just to prove some silly point.

Net effect is I get little regen going downhill, most of the boost is used to go at 80mph with next to no power (1-2 dots).

@Stimpacker silly, you cannot go 65 MPH (>100 KPH) up that road. You will end up in a ravine sooner that it took you to type up that comment.


Yeah, it looks like you might be able to take those hairpins at a maximum speed of about 15 mph.

You can *try* to exceed that, but keep in mind that leaving the road means spending about 15 minutes tumbling around inside the car before finally coming to a stop.

> 38% charge at the end.

And they call this a range test? What, are they scared they might not be able to find a plug somewhere or something? You’re reporters! Test it to turtle, scaredy cats! If there isn’t a tow truck in a range test, it means nothing!

Perhaps the Nissan LEAF battery factory in Japan was the first to be upgraded to produce the new cells and modules?

The U.S. and European battery factories could be upgraded at a later date. Expect the largest production line changes are related to assembling modules with 8 cells each vs. 4 cells per module. The physical logistics and test equipment would need to modified.

Did any of the 30 kWh LEAF reviewers look under the hood to see what tweets were made to inverter, charger, or other items in the motor compartment?

That is my assumption as well. The Japanese factory is the first one with the new chemistry. After they tune that factory, they’ll copy it in Sunderland and Smyrna.

Yes, that’s the scenario I envision too, after reading this article.

Has anybody seen a 2016 in the U.S.?

I am pretty interested in this new Leaf. When the gen 1 first came out I almost got one but it was just a little marginal for my 70 mile round trip so I got the Volt instead (lease now over).

The problem is this car is just another intermediate step.

With the 200 mile EVs coming out soon I expect Nissan will have to give some pretty good deals on these 30 kwh Leafs after they have been out for 6 months or so.

so, if the the new batteries are made by LG-Chem, does that mean they have liquid cooling systems on them?

Speaking of. That would explain why they cannot be retrofitted into an older Leaf.

I’m not sure, but I think I read that Nissan still has no plans to put an active battery thermal management system into the Leaf 2.0.

The good news is that the new battery chemistry (apparently licensed from LG Chem) may be less sensitive to heat.

But that doesn’t mean I’m defending Nissan’s decision to double down on not putting in active thermal management. Even if the new batteries can handle a lot of heat without premature aging, it seems almost certain they will still suffer from reduced performance (and range) in very cold conditions.

Our family drive 2 LEAFs… a 2013 and a 2015… can really tell small diffs between 2nd rev 2013 and 3rd rev 2015… the 2015 routinely starts the day with 4.2 miles per kWh and showing over 105 miles on range estimator. Older one never showed that many even when new. This new 2016 30kW shows even more promise. Reset your trip odometer every day for a week to see if these cars will work for you. If you only drive 100 miles or under a day and do a fair amount of city or crowded commute stop and go driving they are an excellent fit. If you live near a reasonable charger network… then it is even easier to utilize them and eliminate your care for the price of gasoline. I have and it feels great.

Here is a video Review with 124 miles trip (en francais)

22% regen on the downhill is huge. That must be a monster hill, and/or they must be going slower to optimize regen. I’d love to know the actual elevation gain and loss on that drive, and how they drove. I’ve driven the Grapevine in So Cal (about 4,000 feet elevation gain) with our Leaf many times but never got more than 7 or 8 percent regen on the downhill.

Really? We did the Duffy Lake Road here in British Columbia this past summer, and on the downhill we generated about 50% of the pack. Of course, this was on a course that they *really recommend* you don’t exceed 60 km/h. We found it hard to keep it under 80 with full regen and not otherwise touching the brakes.

So yeah. There’s plenty of routes that are steeper than your Grapevine. They did this in the French Alps after all.

No way you could get away with 60kph on the Grapevine. I know speed is part of the equation. Would still really have liked some speed and elevation numbers from the article.

Yeah, from the original article:

> The hairpins on the road to the Col de Turini are notorious and the 45 mile run rises from sea level to more than 5,000 feet.

How long does it take to get to 4,000 feet on the Grapevine? 🙂

How long does it take to get to 4,000 feet on the Grapevine?

Actually, about the same distance, but most of the climbing is int he last 14 miles. All freeway driving, though, so much faster.

This is why the Nissan Leaf 2016 30kwh is +-2000€ more expensive?

This article is actually really light on details. I find this particular comment telling:

“Compared to the original Leaf of 2010 it is much more refined and the latest models are now fitted with the Nissan Connect multimedia system which includes sat nav and smartphone connectivity which allows for some of the car’s functions – such as air conditioning the cabin prior to start up – to be controlled remotely via apps.”

Wow, um, that sounds exactly like Nissan’s Carwings from 2011 to me. Maybe they’ve improved the interface?

This, plus how the author never even bothered to really test the range of the vehicle tells me that he barely cared about writing the article either.