With New LEAF e-Plus, Nissan Joins Desirable 200-Mile Club

JAN 15 2019 BY GARY LIEBER 60

New Battery Pack Puts Leaf in 200-mile Club

The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling BEV with almost 400,000 sold since 2010. But Nissan hasn’t been resting on their laurels, instead, continuously improving the Leaf, and has now released what is the best Leaf—as in the one with the ability to go the farthest—so far–the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus (also known as the Leaf e+ in other markets).

*Editor’s Note: Our thanks go out to Gary Lieber and Clean Fleet Report for sharing this exclusive coverage with our readers. Check out Clean Fleet Report here.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

Nissan is trying to leave the short-range EVs behind

The big news announced at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that the Leaf Plus increases its battery capacity 55 percent to 62 kWh, and its EPA range on a single charge is now approximately 50 percent more than the 40-kWh Leaf at 226 miles (385 kilometers). This puts the Leaf in the 200+ mile club.

The Leaf Plus will be hitting markets worldwide in the spring of 2019 and builds on the recent release of the second-generation 40-kilowatt-hour (kWh) Leaf introduced last year that will continue to be available.

It is possible that the Leaf Plus EPA mileage rating might be lowballing its actual range. The 40-kWh Leaf has an EPA range of 151 miles, but owners routinely report achieving ranges of 165 to 175 miles. If this hidden range carries over to the Leaf Plus, potential ranges of 260 miles are possible.

More Power

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

Nissan also adds more power under the hood

Along with more range, the Leaf Plus gets a more powerful 214 horsepower (hp, or 160 kW) electric motor with 250-pounds-feet (340 Nm) of torque vs. 147 hp (110 kW) and 236-pounds-feet (320 Nm) in the 40-kWh version. With this added power, we can expect the Leaf Plus to hit mid-six-second 0-60 times.

With a bigger battery comes more demands for better fast charging. The Leaf Plus continues with the CHAdeMO system, but its power has increased from 50 kW to 70 kW (100-kW peak).

Nissan’s 62-kWh battery exposed

There was a collective sigh of relief with the long overdue announcement of the Leaf Plus and its 62-kWh battery. More than three years ago this battery was first revealed by Nissan, but then disappeared from view. While Nissan has been silent on the details of the delay, the company’s efforts to sell its battery manufacturing subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) to a Chinese investment group–and the subsequent collapse of that deal—may have been a factor in the delay. Nissan still owns AESC and manufactures both the 40-kWh and now the 62-kWh batteries for the U.S. market in its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

The motor-battery connection

The new 62-kWh battery fits into the existing Leaf chassis with no modifications to the floor plan. The battery pack is slightly taller than the 40-kWh version and to accommodate the height, Nissan raised the suspension of the Leaf Plus .02 inches for clearance. The pack is slightly heavier, with the vehicle gaining about 300 pounds. A new flexible laser welding technology allows for more compact cell modules. The new pack has three different module shapes, each with a different number of cells (12, 21, 27 cells) where the previous battery has only one module size with eight cells. The new arrangement allows for 55 percent more battery capacity as the 40-kWh battery in the same space.

The new pack’s cells are laminated, and there are 288 of them vs. 192 in the 40-kWh pack. The chemistry is more heat tolerant, with a nickel manganese cobalt cathode, a graphite anode and an improved lithium electrolyte. Nissan continues to stick with passively air cooling for the bigger battery. With the continued improvement and tweaking of the cell chemistry since 2013, they feel that the service life and durability of the battery and its ability to operate at higher temperatures will be sufficient, such that active cooling systems, along with their increased complexity, weight and cost, are not necessary. It appears that the multiyear development and testing of the 62-kWh design have given Nissan that confidence. To back that, Nissan continues to offer its eight-year/100,000-mile as standard on all Leaf models.

Real Fast Charging

The Leaf Plus is now capable of charging at around 70-kW with a peak of 100-kW and allows the 62-kWh Leaf Plus to achieve 80-percent charging times similar to the 40-kWh Leaf. This increased charging speed also helps the battery pack run cooler during charging sessions and increases its durability. The net effect mitigates performance and capacity loss over years and many charging cycles.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

Charging with the Leaf Plus is faster

A criticism of the 40-kWh Leaf was that it mimicked the Chevy Bolt with an aggressive charging slowdown to manage pack heat buildup. Nissan’s continued real-world testing found that such a conservative charging strategy was not necessary and has since updated the charging profiles on the 40-kWh Leaf so that the charging time is significantly less. That more aggressive charging profile along with the ability to use higher power charging stations should allow quicker charging turnarounds and cut time for long distance travel with the Leaf Plus.

Last year, Clean Fleet Report took a 2018 40-kWh Leaf on a 500+-mile road trip in California from Monterey on the coast to the Sierras and Lake Tahoe and back. We found it to be a vehicle more than capable of freeway and mountain driving. While we only briefly experienced the charging slowdown that some have noted, we can hardly wait to drive the same route with a Leaf Plus and report what we found.

L2 Autonomous Features Standard

The Leaf Plus now includes standard Pro-Pilot Assist semi-autonomous Level 2 driving support. Pro-Pilot Assist continues to be an option on the 40-kWh Leaf.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

The interior may look the same, but software updates are now OTA

ProPILOT is an advanced driving assistance technology that works on single-lane driving. A ‘hands-on, eyes-on’ system, it allows the car to stop, restart and stay centered in its lane in higher-speed cruising and lower-speed congested traffic scenarios. The technology is designed to reduce driving stress and fatigue, enhancing driver confidence behind the wheel.

Pro-Pilot Assist works with Leaf Plus’s other safety features including Intelligent Lane Intervention, lane departure warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.

In the cockpit, the instruments and displays are updated with a new interface that includes a larger 8.0-inch display with better smartphone integration. Software updates are now over the air (OTA).

Both the 40-kWh and 62-kWh cars are available in S, SV and SL trim levels. Pricing for the Plus has not been announced yet for the US market, but expect a $4-$6,000 premium for the Leaf Plus compared to the old Leaf. Nissan is all about value and maintaining its lead in the low-priced BEV market. The 40-kWh Leaf S will continue to lead that game with pricing under $30,000 and it would not be surprising if they deliver a 62-kWh Leaf S Plus for under $35,000 or less.

The exterior and interior appointments of the Lear Plus carry over from the Leaf; the only indication that it is a Plus model is a small badge on the rear hatch.

Leaf Plus will be a winner

Clean Fleet Report thinks that there will be significant worldwide demand for the Leaf Plus despite the upcoming competition from Kia, Hyundai, VW, Tesla and others. The Leaf pioneered the affordable BEV market and had stayed relevant because of Nissan’s continued improvements over the last nine years. The Leaf’s quality is the standard for the industry. It’s not uncommon for owners to report never having an issue with their vehicles other than replacing tires and wipers. Early cars had problems with the traction battery degrading, but Nissan solved that issue and stepped up confidence with a battery warranty that became the industry standard. The fact that there is increasing competition in the BEV space is excellent news and shows the worldwide conversion from internal combustion to electromotive propulsion is irreversibly in motion and has reached the tipping point. If Nissan had not risked being first, would that have happened?

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

The only clue the new Leaf is in the 200+ club

Source: Clean Fleet Reports

Categories: Nissan

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60 Comments on "With New LEAF e-Plus, Nissan Joins Desirable 200-Mile Club"

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Disposable battery, disposable car.

Take Leaf gen 1, if a battery degrades 30% by 50,000 miles, say if you regularly drove 70 miles (you can’t use all 84 miles easily) that is 714 cycles to drive 50,000 miles. If the new leaf can easily drive 200 miles and goes the same 714 cycles that is 143,000 miles before you have degraded to 70% of your original range (this is a rough estimate as I am not account for range drop with each cycle). That is assuming the old terrible original battery. My guess is this new Nissan Leaf battery will do just fine in a vast majority of locations, and Nissan actually makes some money (not having cooling makes the battery a lot cheaper).

Given improvements in the Leaf battery, my hunch is it is good for a lot more than 150,000 miles, which is probably good for the life of the car.

Possibly for Seattle or Portland. Even San Francisco.

I am planning on moving to Austin, Texas in the future. I’d have to say climate is still a major factor. Lizard chemistry or no.

If leasing is in your plans, go for it. LEAFs will suffer at resale time. Even if you live in a moderate climate, Nissan’s battery pack has a reputation., and a history. In my mind, no TMC was a bad road to choose for Nissan. The cost saved could also be had if they would build more LEAFs and more models using the same pack.

Leased and used cars must be resold. This us where the LEAF suffers most.

There was a story on Cleantechnica a few days back about someone who was fast charging her 40kWh LEAF daily in Phoenix last summer and after 40k miles, only saw 7% degradation. Extrapolating out isn’t quite 143k, but it’s certainly over 100k before it loses 30% of its capacity. That’s a reasonable useful life for most buyers.

LION batteries tend to lose the first 10% pretty quickly, then they tend to level out and loose capacity at a slow rate over a long period. Most people are getting over 100,000 miles with the lizard batteries and down about 1 bar, Most losing the first bar at 50,000 to 100,000 miles on facebook pages.

My 2015 LEAF just rolled over 40,000 miles this week. I still have all 12 bars and have experienced no notable loss of range. The GUID estimate shows that I have 98% of the original capacity in the battery.

Since 2014 the LEAF batteries have been doing exceptionally well for the price. we have a 2012 and it has been running on the lizard replacement battery for 35,000 miles and it still has 12 bars. Great car. The lizard batteries are much better. It also helps a lot not to drive the car 100% to dash dash dash everyday like I did for the first battery.

exactly that is why it is good to have high capacity battery, it lasts so loooong,
my daily trip is around 80km and in winter I have to charge my 30kwh Leaf every day, that means 1 day = 1 cycle, lets say I would have a car that has 400km range, 400km would get me to work and home for the whole week, so that would translate into 1 week = 1 cycle

now lets say the battery lasts 1000 cycles
1 cycle per day translates into 2,7 years
1 cycle per week translates into 18 years
huge difference
if the battery lasts 2000 cycles that’s like half your life

Then do what 80% of Leaf owners currently do, lease it…

Great car, if you use it 20-80% it will easily last 2x to 4x the battery warranty period. Even then it will still go over a 100 miles per charge. Buy it and use it for 20 years.

The base price is very likely to be ~ $37,495 (with destination chgs), along with the rest of the ~60 kWh offerings. The $30K base S does not include quick charging, nor the portable L1/L2 EVSE. Both are almost certain to be standard on all trims of the LEAF Plus.

They made a lot more changes than just upping the battery size. HVAC is now important. As such, this is likely going to cost over 40K for base.

Wrong. Pricing is out already

IF it is all this report claims it to be, then the E+ Leaf will be more than enough car for most.

No super charging network means inconvenience for weekend trips

It might, depending on how far you go. If you have to add 1 charge stop each way and charge overnight at your destination you could still probably go 300 miles each way easily. Model 3 might save you a few minutes each charge stop, but not for the overnight charging. Really depends on use case here.

If Leaf is offered with free charging, public fast charging will be practically daily occurrence for many (most?) people. After all, they pre-paid for “free charging”, they will take full advantage of it even if it slowly kills them.

Well, for me, there are no public CCS/Chademo within about 100 or 150 miles. So would rarely use free charging anyway, but my work has free J1772. So much of this is dependent on personal situations. I think the more miles and lower cost, the more people you will get.

The LEAF is offered with free charging and has been for years…

Having to drive from one supercharging station straight to the next is also inconvenient. For the 1 or 2 roadtrips i take a year, its much more convenient to just rent an ICE car for the freedom to explore.

I’m not so sure that this argument really holds water anymore. While it is true that Tesla was the first to build out a national network of proprietary fast chargers, the national buildout of industry standard CCS/CHAdeMO chargers is well underway and will soon outnumber the Supercharger networks. A weekend trip is usually defined at a RT under 300 miles, and this LEAF looks like it will be perfectly capable of doing just that.

Yep Tesla did a great job of putting superchargers where there are no people. Its excellent that Teslas can use other networks for urban areas.

There’s CHAdeMO everywhere now with Nissan dealers and EA

The downside is that EA is apparently only putting in a single CHAdeMO plug at their installations AND designing the sites so that it’s not really possible for two cars to charge at a time from the same pedestal.

Yep that is a problem with every EV made.

Er, Nissan has been putting money into charging facilities for years and they also continue to offer two years of free charging to buyers/lessees. Now that they have a long-range vehicle on the market, I expect that they’ll start putting the charging investment into places beyond the major urban areas that up until now, make up the bulk of the market for the LEAF.

Ive been opposed to the leaf and vehciles like the I3. Both are poorly designed.
However, this one not only increases the side of the battery, but adds HVAC on the cells (uncle-in-law that helps designs these). If so, then battery should last quite long and be able to take fast charges every so often (still, do not want to do it EVERY DAY).

In what way are the Leaf and i3 poorly designed?

The cooling system of all previous Leaf battery packs was poorly designed resulting in accelerated degradation in warm climates or after frequent fast charging sessions (although my brother’s early Leaf has suffered accelerated battery pack degradation despite living in Seattle, rarely fast charging, and driving very few miles). The 62 kWh Leaf battery pack is passively air cooled just like all Leafs. So what is this “HVAC on the cells” that you have referenced?

The i3’s battery pack is actively cooled by climate control refrigerant, an excellent design.

I have found my 2012 LEAF to be an excellent vehicle., much nicer car than our old Prius and Honda CRV. Only cost $312 in over 7 years for a windshield. 7 bottles of wiper fluid. Outstanding. Just make sure the car has enough range for your commute. With any EV you need twice the range of your daily commute for AC, heat, and extra errands.

Last I heard the I3s and Teslas have massive degradation problems in hot climates too. You need to avoid 100% charge in the hot climates.

That’s an interesting point for those cars…. Of course Teslas don’t spend much time charging over 100 kw. I always wondered whether the car refrigeration system was large enough to keep up. Possibly that is also an indirect reason for the almost immediate tapering….. The batteries are allowed to heat up quickly, then they are confined to generating the amount of heat the chilled glycol system can remove.

At some point Nissan is going to have to dump Chademo for CCS. The US market cannot sustain a separate plug type for a single model.

It would be like a single model from a single brand requiring it’s own type of gas. Obviously that doesn’t work in the long term.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Top selling PEVs with fast charging in the USA in 2018:
Tesla Model 3: 139,782 (Tesla)
Tesla Model X: 26,100 (Tesla)
Tesla Model S: 25,745 (Tesla)
Chevrolet Bolt: 18,019 (CCS)
Nissan LEAF: 14,715 (CHAdeMO)
BMW i3: 6,117 (CCS)
Mitsubishi Outlander: 4,166 (CHAdeMO)
Volkswagen e-Golf: 1,354 (CCS)

Why should a Japanese (CHAdeMO) manufacturer who sells in China (GB-T), Europe (CCS,. CHAdeMO), the USA (Tesla, CCS, CHAdeMO) and other markets switch to CCS, when it’s not the dominant standard in its home market, China or the USA, and chargers can easily be made to support multiple standards?

250,000 sales per year would be sufficient to allow complete, dense coverage of the contiguous US states in 10 years.
As long as Nissan plans to grow its EV sales, it can easily stick to CHAdeMO.

You’re picking and choosing your vehicles there. 500e is above e-Golf. Prime and Clarity are higher than Leaf, and you can’t dismiss them as PHEV if you count the Outlander. Almost all PHEVs use CCS. Rumors are a Tesla CCS adapter is in the works as well

The only PHEV on that American market that offers fast charging that I know of is the Outlander PHEV and it uses…CHAdeMO! The 500e doesn’t offer fast charging at all and only the Clarity EV has CCS, not the PHEV.

It is impressive how much ignorance you managed to squeeze into a single post… try to do a simple analysis how the situation will be like in 5 years or 10 years when the car that is sold today still is on the roads.

How about a CHAdeMO-CCS adaptor

Not a big fan, nor do I think big fans are the answer. The Leaf has consistently denied that their batteries, or battery cooling engineering are inferior, this has been shown to be incorrect. The swift degradation of their earliest batteries, lead to disgruntled early adopters. Their improved battery was better but still far from the best available and still only used air cooling. Rapid-gate, which was term people applied to the inability of the battery to charge quickly, and repeatedly, for many months was no problem at all, according to Nissan it was just something people made up. Eventually Nissan came with a solution, which did reduce the inability of the battery to accept more charge. Rapid-gate occurred in the first place as an engineering effort to save the battery, which clearly was recognized as the Achilles Heel of the vehicle. So as a result of no LC will the batteries degrade more rapidly. This seems likely and will be evident over time. I think the car in itself is decent, just not really convinced with the battery choices Their continued insistence on not adopting a liquid cooled system, which is the recognized gold standard, will result in an… Read more »

Still missing a lot of details (such as the actual 0-60 and price/lease deal), but standard pro-pilot and OTAs are definitely a plus…

I suspect that only infotainment system updates are OTA, not rest of the car system. It is still nice, but limited compared to Tesla that can update any system OTA.

The 0-60 times are supposed to be < 7 seconds.

This is the most interesting article I’ve read here in a while. Thank you, and keep it up please..! Lots of info on the battery pack was especially appreciated. I too think the e+ will be a strong contender. But that makes Nissan’s decision to make just 9000 of it for the global market this year all the more difficult to understand. Is it battery pack supply that constrains them? I don’t think it’ll be demand! Can’t wait to see Bjørn Nyland race this against Kona and Model X, if possible on a route equipped with high power chargers. Kona equalled his Model X when it only had access to 50 kW chargers, while the Tesla used superchargers (his Model X does have somewhat reduced charging speed due to having been supercharged a lot). I think the Leaf e+ may well beat both when using HPC, as its consumption should match Kona at higher speeds (say, above 100 km/h). I’m waiting for my Kona to be delivered sometime in late spring or early summer (Q2 is the estimate), but must admit this version of the Leaf might be at least as tempting, if the price for the top spec isn’t… Read more »

Highly unlikely that the next generation Leaf is only one year away. A mid-cycle refresh I would believe, not a new generation yet.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re only able to produce 9k this year. It’s a crowded field for those LG packs.

For the record, 226 EPA miles yield 362 km.
Not 385 as stated in the article.

Maybe it’s 226 EPA miles and 385 WLTP kms?

Correct.

“A criticism of the 40-kWh Leaf was that it mimicked the Chevy Bolt with an aggressive charging slowdown to manage pack heat buildup”

This is completely wrong. Bolt pack does not reach almost 50C when the ambient temperature is -6C which the Leaf does. When Leaf average charging power is only 19 kW between 45% to 60% using 50kW charger at -6C ambient temperature due to heat build-up, it is not even remotely close to Bolt.

The author was referring to the charge taper of the Bolt compared to the LEAF. Regardless of the pack temperature the Bolt has an even more aggressive taper than the LEAF.

Which Bolt charges 19 kW from 45% to 60%? Bolt does not taper until about 90%, it just steps down at 55% and 70%, and the reason is not thermal. Leaf OTOH, tapers at any percentage (even 20%) even when ambient is -9C due to thermal.

It will be interesting to see how dealers price the LEAF Plus.

Pro Pilot is a dealmaker in my mind, over Bolt EV. No ACC in Bolt after 3 years is embarrassing. Add a nicer interior environment to be in and the LEAF still makes a strong case for a lease, in my opinion. Buying an air cooled battery? Not so much.

$35-40,000 for a FWD compact vs. stepping up to a Model 3 at that point would be a no brainer.

You can’t lease a Model 3 as of yet. So there is a window of opportunity for LEAF for some market penetration. Used and off lease LEAFs bring the price of an affordable, viable EV to attainable levels for a very large number of consumers.

I got a 40kWh Leaf last year as a long play; the guaranteed 25kWh range out to 2026 is sufficient for my in-town driving, and I plan on getting a much better BEV next decade sometime ( if & when a mfr makes something other than a boring 4dr sedan) for intercity / weekend jaunts.

I kinda wish I coulda waited for the 60kWh, as that battery probably has 15-20 years of useful range (for in-town driving) before needing replacement, but I got my 2018 for $6000 under MSRP so can’t complain too much now.

I get the feeling that the MY2020 Bolt will get ACC, especially now that the Volt is gone.

I’m thinking about it in a year or two

If its true they are only going to make 5,000 worldwide in 2019, as has been reported in many places, then its an irrelevance how good (or bad) it is.

That’s in Europe I believe. They’ll produce a lot more in the US I imagine, (the E Plus seems to me to be more targeted for the US market).

A lot depends on how much effort they put on selling this e+ version. Automaker should produce and sell, dealers should sell, only then the sales will increase.

N

I am cautiously optimistic about the Leaf now that it’s joined the 200 club and added better performance. This is starting to look like very viable option, depending on initial pricing and later dealer discounts. The improvements in range mean that this now becomes an option to make a relaxed medium to long-range trip, though charging structure is problematic.

The Leaf has been a mostly reliable car … right now there’s only one model year flagged as lower than average reliability at 1/5, much worse than average, and that was 2016. Other years are a mix of 1 average, 3 better than average, and 3 much better than average. Earning a 4/5, better than average, prediction of reliability for the 2019 models.

The Leaf is a ten year old design with new body panels, new infotainment, and larger battery pack. The new variant is likely to be overpriced in Europe, which compared to the efficiency and features of products from Hyundai/Kia.