Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: Second Generation Battery Is Coming Online NOW

SEP 16 2012 BY JAY COLE 24

About a month ago we reported a news story out of Japan that said the Nissan LEAF was going to get a new, updated battery, giving the car as much as 25% more range, as well as a second/cheaper entry level model.

(Update: Indeed a cheaper S trim was made available, and range increased but more to a technical reason)

Previously, we also reported that the fully electric Infiniti LE due to originally come out in late 2013/early 2014 (later delayed) would most likely receive 2nd generation battery technology to allow for additional range (which costs less per kWh) over that of the current LEAF product in the market (that article here).

However, there has never been any official confirmation from Nissan that any of this is a reality.  Most information about new battery developments at Nissan have come from leaks, or from information out of their battery JV (with NEC) AESC.

That is until this past Friday.  In an interview, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn casually threw out this statement:

“There is a 2nd generation of battery coming (online) now…which is less costly than the previous one. We are in a race in which you reduce the costs and adapt the price.”

Nissan’s Current Battery Weighs Over 600lbs And Powers The Car For About 73 Miles

The second generation battery he is referring to is, in all likelihood, the NMC (LiNiMnCo) battery AESC first starting working on when the joint venture was formed in 2009.

This 2nd gen battery using a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode can offer about 65% more energy capacity over the standard chemistry (LiMnO2) currently used in the Nissan LEAF, and is thought to be only slightly more expensive to produce once the process is in place and streamlined.

Regardless of the particulars, this is the first admission that Nissan has perfected its 2nd gen battery, and that it is already entering testing production.  The promise of a better, longer range and cheaper fully electric car from Nissan looks to be realized at some point in the future.

Couple this new battery technology with Nissan finally shaking the chains of the Japanese yen/USD dollar trade in December with US production of the LEAF  in Smyrna, TN coming online, and we should at least see pricing changes coming shortly.

None too soon.

2014 Infiniti LE Set To Raise The Bar In Affordable Luxury EV Ownership

Old And Busted? Nissan LEAF’s Current 24 kWh Battery Pack (LiMnO2)


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24 Comments on "Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: Second Generation Battery Is Coming Online NOW"

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Swell… In the meantime, my battery capacity continues to dwindle on my 2011 LEAF… Down 15% so far…

Bummer Tom. 🙁 My 2011 still has 100% and my recent checkup got five stars all the way. Are you in Phoenix?

No… SoCal…

Same here… so cal. Got a 5 star checkup, but still the capacity is down about 15%

So I wonder if the new LiNiMnCo based modules can be used in a pack along side existing LiMnO2 modules? Or is it the pack must be of a single chemistry? If you can mix chemistries, that would be interesting because it would be a lot less expensive to recover lost range by replacing fewer modules with new ones with higher capacity.

While it’s probably technically possible to do so, you have to remember that capacity of a pack is limited by the capacity of the weakest cell.

So replacing any weak modules in the LEAF pack with one of the newer less expensive ones will simply restore capacity to the next lowest capacity module (LEAF pack is made up of 48 modules, each module has 4 cells – can only replace modules, not cells).

So the only benefit is that the cost of the replacement modules would be cheaper.

But who knows what problems might arise from using modules with significantly different capacity if the original BMS system wasn’t designed for it.

Why do the Nissan EV’s always have to look like fish. The Infinite LE looks like a menacing tuna with rows of razor sharp teeth!

If they would have electrified an Altima or similar body style, they’d have sold more.

“If they would have electrified an Altima or similar body style, they’d have sold more.”

This is the whole should our EV be “distinctive” or have regular car design cues debate.

Some have suggest that the success of the Prius was in part due to its very distinctive styling which gave instant green cred recognition for the owner/driver. Obviously GM and and Nissan followed Toyota’s lead on that.

Yeah, they’re all distinctive. However the Volt looks sporty and desirable, while the Prius and Leaf both look rather ugly.

I have been referring to the LEAF design as the “Space Carp.” And eventually it dawned on me, this is not by accident. In Japanese culture, Koi or Carp, are revered as symbol of good fortune and perseverance. The Japanese fly carp flags, and hang carp kites for good “luck.”

Personally I think someone should go the full monte and by some carp barbs to have coming out the side fender near the grill to complete the look. 🙂

Jay quote
“This 2nd gen battery using a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode can offer about 75% more power capacity ”

Jay don’t you mean 75% more energy capacity??

Power is associated w/ the C rating of the battery.

Energy density is usually in kwh/lb

Yupe, yupe. I meant more energy, don’t know why I wrote power. My bad, (=

They can’t switch over to this battery fast enough…. The Leaf battery losing bars hasn’t hit the mainstream thanks to the Volt politics…. They may have dodged a bullet..


The big question; can the early cars be switched to the new chemistry? And at what cost?
My batt is still fine after nearly a year, and I have extra range for my daily needs, but more is allways better!

An excellent question. This also directly affects the resale value of the vehicle.

The type of the output of the battery would be that same as from any battery. I think the only issue would be charging which could be accomplished with a software change.

good news indeed – more range – lower cost overall – heading in the right direction but still a long ways to go to hit the sweet spot.

Hey Carlos Ghosn, here is an idea. How about you finish what you started and take care of your current owners… I live here in Phoenix and have ~30% battery loss in 9 months of ownership! Ghosn going around praising his EV’s and p!sses me off when he did the same thing before i purchased mine. My mistake was I believed Ghosn, Nissan and Perry – now i am stuck in EV hell here in Phoenix with Zero resale value, and Zero help from Nissan.

I got the same battery issues here in Houston, but not the resale issues. I am glad Nissan stuck their neck out and offered the lease terms they did, knowing they would kill the resale value of the cars with the 2nd gen battery packs.

I might not have enough range to make my commute (66 miles) by the end of the lease though. Lesson learned, active cooling with a little longer range (read Tesla) for the next car.

That said, I love my LEAF. If the car retained the battery performance it had on day one, I would never give it up. It has convinced me I will never own another ICE.

Perry? You mean William “The Refrigerator” Perry? I wouldn’t mess with that guy. 😉

Hopefully the new chemistry is more heat resistant or Nissan designs some active cooling into the pack. For sure in hot climates and when quick charging (especially if one quick charges multiple times a day) active cooling will be very beneficial. There have been multiple LEAF owners who have utilized the west coast green highway through Oregon/Washington performing 4-5 QCs in one day which resulted in the battery temp gauge getting up near the red zone which indicates a battery temp over 120F despite ambient temperatures in the 50-70F range. If nothing else, starting off with 25% more range will mean that your end-of-life range should be that much better. With the current pack you start with 73 mi EPA range – after 5-10 years you might be down to 75% capacity (outside of Arizona) or have 55 mi range. But if you start with 25% more range – or 91 mi EPA range, after 5-10 years you’ll still have around 68 miles EPA range which is not much off the range of a new LEAF currently. Given that most people tend to want to keep at least a 10 mi buffer at the bottom of the pack, that means… Read more »

I have been looking to purchase a 2013 because of the stories that a new battery with a bit longer range was coming with the 2013, but I spoke with several Nissan reps this weekend at AltCar expo here in Santa Monica and they swear that there will be NO upgrade in battery or range for the 2013 LEAF. MAYBE, 2014 but definitely not 2013. I hope they are misinformed.

The way to address the degradation issue is to not own the battery at all and let the battery owner take those weaker batteries off line and replace those weaker modules, This can only be done when the EV is purchased without the battery, as the service provider owns the battery and is responsible for its functioning. if i feel the battery i picked up last time is less than it is supposed to be I 1. swap it 2. let better place know why and its up to them, if they want happy customers
a 75% greater range will finally put a stop to all this whining about limited range, especially in country replete with swap-stations and charge-spots.