Let’s Take A Look Inside The Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery

JUL 25 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 76

Similar, but not the same as previous packs.

For 2018, the Nissan LEAF not only got a complete makeover of its exterior, it also got a significant upgrade to that most important electric vehicle component of all: its battery. Now packing 40 kWh — 10 kWh more than its immediate predecessor — it boasts a comfortable range of 151 miles, according to the EPA. But ever wonder how it differs inside?

The enterprising souls of the EVs Enhanced YouTube channel who, judging by their accent seem to be located somewhere in New Zealand, have just what you need to cure your curiosity. It’s a pretty brief video (above), but it’s all they need to point out how it differs from previous packs. In fact, it’s kind of impressive that they could spot some pretty tiny nuances.

Taking them at their word, the 2018 pack uses the same enclosure as before, and even the shares the same pin patterns in the exterior connectors. Inside, the familiarity continues with the modules having the same form factor, though with more energy dense cells within them.  The first difference mentioned is regarding the current sensor. It has four wires leading to it instead of three. Apparently, this new component has two sensors inside to better perform their task.

The next big difference is the pack’s main fuse. Because this new iteration puts out more current under full throttle, it’s been upgraded and relocated within the box.

Besides giving us insight into this new arrangement, the video whets our appetite for what’s coming next for Nissan’s stalwart electric vehicle standard bearer. Next year should bring a 60 kWh battery option and that one should be much different on the inside, as it is said to harbor a liquid-based temperature management system as well as much more range.

From the video’s description:

We open up a 40kWh battery pack from a 2018 Nissan Leaf to compare the visual differences between this and the previous 30kWh model.

Source: YouTube

Categories: Nissan, Videos

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76 Comments on "Let’s Take A Look Inside The Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery"

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Would it possible (not easily but possible) to upgrade a 24kWh battery to this one? Nissan (or some smart shops) could make some money , plus the older batteries could be still usable for energy storage..

I don’t see why not. People have been replacing 24 kWh packs with 30 kWh packs for a while now. Programming the BMS always seems to be the biggest challenge with these conversions.

If you wait a year or two you will probably be to replace a 24 kWh with a 60 kWh pack with liquid cooling. If a 2018 pack fits in an older Leaf then a 2019 pack should fit. The radiator of a 2019 Leaf should bolt right in to a 2018 Leaf but older Leafs might require a custom radiator.

Youre a fool if you think Nissan, or any manufacturer, is going to easily or affordably allow consumers to upgrade their battery. You will never be able to throw a 60 kWh pack into a 24 kWh Leaf. Not gonna happen.

Whether or not Nissan is letting them people are swapping battery packs. Ford doesn’t even sell the 23 kWh battery for FFE anymore and you HAVE TO replace the 23 kWh pack if it goes bad with a 33 kWh pack. It doesn’t make sense for manufacturers to stock multiple batteries sizes if they can get people to buy the more expensive packs.

yup. I got the 33kwWH pack swapped in my 2012 Focus. Love the additional range.

BMW and Renault will even do it for you and give you money back for the old battery.

No you are a fool Scott, Many of us Do it Yourself types can easily do this. Battery technology is old. Any smart person can swap batteries, Don’t overthink the process.

If bolting on a radiator is all it takes for TMS, everyone would be doing it. TMS requires hookups to AC and heater to chill/heat the water as well as stronger AC/heat for large mass battery pack. Making non TMS leaf to have TMS would mean new AC and heater as well as extensive plumbing. At that point, you might as well buy 2019 Leaf with TMS (or buy a Bolt now).

Something I noticed with Bolt is stronger AC compared to SparkEV (which is quite strong compared to gassers). I suspect AC is beefed up not only for bigger cabin space, but larger battery.

By the way, another 110F degree day here in SoCal. Just 10 miles inland (50 miles from the beach), it will be over 122F! I saw a Leaf connected to charger at a mall when it was 105F yesterday, probably well over 110F over hot asphalt, and I couldn’t help but think how the battery must be cooking without TMS while the charger is adding even more heat to the battery during charge.

You’re just guessing as I am. We will find out next year when the 60 kWh pack comes out.

Guessing? It’s Physics. How are you going to keep the battery temperature above/below ambient without AC/heater?

News flash, most everyone is “guessing” out here, even though they sound absolutely sure. That is EGO.

If you think cooling/heating beyond ambient with AC/heater is guessing, feel free to try it yourself. It is you who have a giant ego to think something so well demonstrated with scientific method is just “guessing”

You are rambling again, get back on your meds.

you’re guessing that active cooling preserves more battery capacity than the actual energy cost of the cooling.

The LEAF will do just fine, they do not heat much when level 2 charging. They should keep it below 80% charge since the heat coupled with 100% charge is what is bad for batteries. It should stay well below 120F, just a few degrees above Average temps. 70F to 110F averages around 90F. In Alabama it is similar highs of 95F and then drops to 80F at night. We never see our cars get any closer than 2 bars or 3 bars from the hot red bars.

too bad about the two idiot downvotes, but this is my understanding and experience, too.

Yep, I live in Vegas and just resigned myself to premature degradation. I charge at work to for free until the temps pass 115F.

Please try and Refrain from using the “Free” word or term, if at all possible. Be advised that Bolt EV (formerly SparkEV), will start in with a post on his # 1 Pet PeEVe!

Free charging SUCKS!!!!!!!

What’s wrong with free workspace charging?

Nothing; free charging at work is great! It’s just that Sparky can’t see straight on that subject. When his eyes see the words “free charging”, the frontal lobes of his brain completely shut down and his hindbrain responds by reflex. 😉

Leaf Batteries have been known to “Bake” as well, don’t ask me how I know, especially on today’s cooking show.

There was a 2013 LEAF Charging on the DC CHAdeMO today, at The OAkS (Thousand) Forever 21 store, here in sunny So. Cal.

The ambient air temp was just 101 degrees F. about an hour ago,

If the battery starts to get Blisteringly Hot, will shedding tears, by any chance, help with cooling the pack back down?

I’m asking for a friend,

( they’re SizzLeaf izzz currently @ 11 capacity bars, approximately 60k mi. / 83% SOH ).

It’s not the 101 degrees F temperature that makes the battery hot, it’s the fast driving and fast charging that really heats up the battery. My Leaf sits out in the Texas sun every day (105+ degrees F) and never gets above 7 bars. But I’ve had the battery up to 11 bars several times on long trips after multiple fast charges.

You want to keep the battery cool? Don’t take long trips with multiple charges or, if you do take long trips, slow down, take frequent breaks, drive at night and charge until the CHAdeMO charger tapers to L2 speed.

Excellent advice!

I’ll also add that large regen also cooks battery. 122F here was about 3000 ft above sea level, 50 miles from the beach. So if one were to visit the beach at peak temperature hours, regen should be turned off (neutral?) and friction brakes used to save the battery heating.

Don’t matter, the LEAF is probably leased…

He mentioned residual too high with Bolt lease, so he may have been planning to keep the Leaf after lease. I hope I’m changing his mind.

I charged my 2018 Leaf yesterday, both at 7AM at 75deg and 5PM at 105deg.

Battery temps were the same. 30 degrees F delta may feel hot to our skin but I think the batteries themselves can handle it.

Where the damage comes from is DC charging up to 100% combined with a really hot pack from taking a lot of amps out of the pack via extended fast driving.

I turned in my 2015 Leaf with a SOH at 88% last month, and I DC charged that sucker every day in the hot summer sun after work.

I forgot, the Leaf already has a radiator. The radiator cools the motor and the inverter but not the battery pack. Maybe the 60 kWh models will just have larger radiators.

I doubt the liquid flowing through inverter/motor is chilled by AC nor heated by heater. But battery needs AC/heater since the temperature needs to be in much narrower range.

The Leaf already has a battery heater. My 2017 FFE didn’t use the AC for TMS and I don’t think your Bolt EV does either. Provide a link for information on ANY EV that uses AC to cool the battery.

Bolt EV does indeed use AC to actively cool the battery, I was looking at a heat exchanger between an AC circuit and a coolant circuit the last time I had the hood open to add washer fluid. As an extension, when DCFCing you can hear the cooling system running to keep battery temp down. When driving around on a really hot day you will also see energy consumed by battery conditioning. This would only show up due to a significant energy load, ie. the AC system chilling the battery.

There is plenty of information on that out there. Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t put the responsibility on others to find it for you.

I did find a diagram that was suppose to be of the Volt/Bolt EV battery cooling system that showed the battery packs are cooled by both a radiator and a refrigeration chiller.

I suspect FFE also had chiller. Otherwise, there’s no point of having liquid cooling, might as well blow hot ambient air.

Not sure if radiator for ambient is used for the battery; that’d be pretty useless since TMS is to keep the temperature beyond ambient.

By that logic, ICEs would still use air cooling…

Liquid cooling is more effective, even without a chiller. Also, it allows for a sealed, and thus more reliable battery pack.

Having said that, using a chiller is of course still a good idea to achieve best batter life in warmer weather…

You’re making no sense. That’s like arguing that an ICEngine’s cooling system (water jacket, water pump, radiator) is useless since it doesn’t use a refrigerant.

The radiator is used to cool down the battery pack coolant after it passes thru a warm(er) pack. Just what do you think a cooling system’s radiator is for, anyway?

Yup. When the glycol/water coolant flowing thru the Volt’s battery pack gets too hot, the A/C system will be used to cool it via a heat exchanger. If you say the Bolt EV battery cooling system works the same way, that wouldn’t surprise me.

“By operating the electric air-conditioning compressor, R-134A refrigerant will be throttled by the thermal expansion valve/s and permit super-cooling of the battery coolant as it passes through the chiller unit.”

See diagram here:

https://gm-volt.com/2010/12/09/the-chevrolet-volt-coolingheating-systems-explained/

“The Leaf already has a battery heater.”

Thank you! I was hoping someone would point that out.

“Provide a link for information on ANY EV that uses AC to cool the battery.”

According to George Bower:

“The BMW i3 cools the bottom of the battery case with refrigerant eliminating the liquid coolant entirely.”

https://insideevs.com/chevy-bolt-200-mile-ev-battery-cooling-and-gearbox-details-bower/

Don’t you need some key card that only comes from Nissan, specifically tied to one battery, that lets you reprogram the BMS? Otherwise car will be forever stuck in turtle mode?

Or is there some hacking that you can do to fool the BMS into thinking that it’s still the old battery in there?

You can battery swap packs but they have to be pack specific. Nissan has a program to replace old packs, and some of those packs are being used in stationary storage systems, as you suggest.

No. Nissan has taken active steps to prevent this. Each battery is cryptographically signed to prevent any swapping of batteries between vehicles without factory cooperation. Even batteries of same capacity can not be swapped between vehicles without factory provided “keys”. Seems to be one of the rare features in Leaf that was competently implemented. (not that crypto signing has been that complex for quite a few years now)
And since they’ve gone to this kind of extent to prevent swapping, it’s unlikely that they will ever support upgrades. They have also publicly stated that they will not, so rather then just being passive when it comes to swapping batteries, they’re actively trying to prevent it.

All those guys that are performing battery swaps would disagree with you.

Source please. MyNissanLeaf forums seem to indicate that no battery upgrades have been done. Some people speculate about the possibility of ripping open the battery and physicall swapping cells, but that’s hardly very practical for several reasons.

There are a lot of videos on Leaf battery swaps. Just google “Nissan Leaf battery swap”.

That is new to me.
For sure Nissan and their dealers don’t do it in NA.
I will look up the net further, but I doubt there’s one reliable cheap and easy way for doing it.
Very astute DIY could have done it,or pretend so, but for now, it’s just rumor like the easy link you coundn’t give us.

I just find some dudes replacing their worn out 8 bars battery with a new one having 12 bars and expressing surprise they got more range! WTF!
Never heard of replacing a 24 kWh pack with a brand new 30 kWh one, and we all wait for your link TexasLeaf.

I post several links to several videos but the Insideevs.com moderator deleted the post so I’ll just give you the names of the videos instead.

This one placed G2 cells in a G1 battery case; “How to swap G2 Leaf battery cells into a G1 battery case”.

This one replaced a 2011 battery pack with a 2015 battery pack under warranty; “Nissan Leaf Battery Swap”.

This one replaced all the cells in a 2011 Leaf; “2011 Nissan Leaf Pack Refurbish Timelapse”.

This one put a second set of cells to give a 48 kWh capacity; “Nissan leaf 48kwh extended range conversion part 1”.

Perform a search on YouTube to view these videos.

I actually swapped the battery myself. Upgraded from 2014 24 kWh to 2016 30 kWh . Bought the battery battery and VCM ( vehicle control module) from same damaged car . You can’t swap the entire battery without also changing the VCM, since the old VCM is not compatible ( in my case 2014) . Also, when you swap battery and VCM from same donor you don’t need to pair the battery since it’s already paired. Only thing you have to do is register your car keys with the new VCM. I did this last step at Nissan but there are cheep key programmers you can buy if you want to do it all yourself.

And, yes, there is a thread about this on MyNissanLeaf

http://mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13333&start=30

Wonderful! Thanks for that first-hand report, Jostein Sand. It’s great that a Nissan service shop assisted with this. I thought it was policy to actively discourage third-party battery pack replacement/ refurbishing, so it’s refreshing and encouraging to see Nissan actively assisting with that.

Are you sure you are not talking about cell swapping?

Yes but please do your own research. Even with that battery replacement program in Japan they are talking about battery pack upgrades.

I googled it and no one is swapping battery “upgrades” to a larger kWh for the LEAFs. Tesla is commonly replacing hundreds or thousands of bad batteries with bigger batteries since the smaller batteries no longer exist or are no loner being made. That’s a great idea. those bigger batteries will have a lot more headroom to help increase battery longevity. But lets not forget why they are doing it, they are doing it because the original battery sizes are no longer being manufactured, its not a upgrade, its a lack of replacement parts.

Try watching a few more videos, they are there. I would provide you a link but I’m working off of my smart phone.

I do welcome the idea, but I could not find anywhere where it has happened. Usually when you buy a car, thats it, thats what you bought. People do not buy a 2018 Z motor and drop it into a 2012 Z chassis. they just go out and buy a newer Z.

I used to work in a shop that made a business out of pulling engines out of Jaguars and dropping in small block Chevy V8s. So yes there are people that do that kind of thing. But I never suggested that you pull out a perfectly good Leaf battery pack.

So, can we conclude from this that the performance and chemistry of the cells should be the same as the 30kwh?

No it’s not. Chemistry/performance is not the same even within 24kWh battery revisions.

I feel the 30kWh batteries are superior to the 24kWh batteries. Just our experiences.

My speculation on why Nissan didn’t bother with a TMS for the 2018 Leaf:

This 40kwh pack is the last gasp for AESC; next year come new packs from LG Chem, which will include a TMS. So in order to include a TMS for the 2018 Leaf, they would have needed to redesign the whole pack, for a single year’s production, from a manufacturer that will soon be losing Nissan’s business. So, rather than go through all the headaches of design, testing, retooling etc., they just said screw it and throttled the charger in order to keep the pack from overheating.

This explains the decision, though it doesn’t really justify it. There’s really no excuse for selling a 2018 EV with heavily throttled fast charging. This is a design compromise that came out of the fact that Nissan didn’t pay enough attention to keeping up with competition on the battery packs. Tesla’s heavy focus on the gigafactories is the sort of thing Nissan should have been doing if they wanted to stay competitive; instead they were left with two bad choices (no TMS in 2018 vs. all the development costs of a TMS for just a single year’s production).

With the collapse of the sale of AESC to GSR Capital, are you certain next year’s batteries will come from LG? The collapse was previously reported on IEV, and is also reported in Business Insider:

Nissan has scrapped the $1 billion sale of its electric car battery business to a Chinese investment firm
https://www.businessinsider.com/r-nissan-cancels-potential-1-billion-sale-of-battery-unit-to-chinas-gsr-2018-7

But at the time the 2018 Leaf was being designed, they didn’t know the deal would collapse. So they were still thinking they’d be doing all-LG Chem batteries come 2019, and thus it wasn’t worth adding a TMS to the AESC battery packs.

Their failure to sell AESC single handedly ensures that the 40 kWh, non-TMS version of the Leaf remains on sale and in production.

Currently, the 60 kWh edition seems to be coming as a top trim of the Leaf.

I hope Leather is at least an option , on the “Top Trim” Leaf, in the 2019 60 kWh edition.

I think that all the vehicle logs confirmed for Nissan that most LEAF owners, like most ICE owners, seldom take long trips. So Nissan designed the 40kWh LEAF for that demographic. The extra range completely eliminates range anxiety for those drivers. It addresses winter range loss and long-term degradation. It has more torque, more power and more tech at the same price point.

Something EV owners keep trying to explain to EV critics is that people are prone to buying more car than they need for edge cases that are seldom if ever encountered. The next 60kWh LEAF is for them.

It bothers me that there is a vocal minority of people who are critical of a very good EV just because it doesn’t meet their imagined needs. They are no different than the EV trolls saying they won’t buy a LEAF until it can drive 500km and recharge in 5 minutes. If they are EV owners, they should know that is not the only criteria for judging an EV. Being fugly is.

As long as it’s not capable of distance trips (and the 40kwh Leaf isn’t practical much past 180 miles, thanks to the lack of TMS), it’s hard to see the Leaf as someone’s sole car, at least here in the midwest.

This comment is based on bias not reality. Limon Tea produced a video where he traveled 376 miles with realatively low CHAdeMO charge times. Using a few simple techniques to manage battery temperature you can drive the 2018 Leaf continuously, all day and night, with low CHAdeMO charge times.

This is me ^^. I paid under $16,000 for my 2018 Leaf S. If I want to go more than 150 miles, I’ll just go to Enterprise and put the miles on their car for $50 – $100.

Looks like heaps of room around the edges of those cells, just putting a cooling loop inside the pack would make a huge difference, like having the air con in your server room, so long as the room is cool the equipment is cool.
Everyone says how hard, how expensive, yadda yadda yadda, but it’s a well developed industry, the radiator could even be in the rear with a fan force.
I think the real reason they didn’t do it is because the low range write be even more impacted with this sort of TMS (but I think even that power requirement could be kept to a minimum).
How about radiator fins and active air flow? I’m sure there are dozens of ways to reduce that interior pack temperature without having to do a whole lot of crazy redesigning.

So here I am, the temperature in the shade is 122F, I want do charge, do you think “radiator fins and active air flow” will do the job?

Next year? Isn’t the 60+ kWh pack supposed to come this year?

There are only some rumors and speculation, that production of the 2019 60 kWh Leaf, may start coming off the production line, sometime later this fall, possibly OCT/NOV?

So, my best guess, is that maybe some/few early DEC ’18/JAN ’19 dealer deliveries?

This video simply confirms what most Leaf owners were able to deduce, the 2018 isn’t the next gen that we’re looking for. The battery pack is the same old design. No TMS.

This isn’t a bad thing. This is exactly the LEAF that the LEAF should have been all along. Perfectly suited for the current LEAF owners for all the reason I wrote in my post above/below.

yup, I got the 2018 as a $5000 upgrade over keeping the old 2015. Will tide me over fine until next decade when really good EVs start coming out at the $30,000 pricepoint.

Theoretically BEVs should be thousands cheaper than ICE equivalents, once battery costs fall.

OK Nissan time to upgrade the many wilted LEAF ! Others are upgrading their EVs as we can see by the notes below.