Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery: Deep Dive

AUG 1 2018 BY MARK KANE 23

The second-generation Nissan LEAF, when introduced in late 2017 in Japan, was equipped with a new NMC 40 kWh battery.

The 40 kWh is significantly more than the 24 kWh from 2010 (LMO type) and 30 kWh, but not fully competitive with the top long-range models like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3 or now the Hyundai Kona Electric (all at or beyond 60 kWh).

Before the 60 kWh battery for the Nissan LEAF hits the market (hopefully in the next six months), let’s see what we know about the 40 kWh, made by Nissan’s AESC subsidiary.

First of all, the battery pack is pretty similar to the old one – the same number of cells, same pouch type cells, same pack footprint and still no liquid battery cooling system.

  • 192 cells (nickel manganese cobalt NMC instead lithium manganese oxide cells LMO)
  • 24 modules (8 cells per module instead of 4 cells per module)
  • 40 kWh capacity (real value is around 39.5 kWh and only 37 kWh or less is available)
  • output power increased to over 110 kW (110 kW is peak power of electric motor – previously it was 80 kW)
  • charging power is lower than in case of 30 kWh battery – see comparison here – to prevent battery degradation we believe

The lack of liquid thermal management system seems to be the biggest drawback of Nissan EVs and only time will tell how long the new batteries will last, especially in hot climates. In Norway, Canada or even the UK, there are not many reported problems compared to areas like Arizona, Italy or Spain.

The upcoming 60 kWh LEAF is expected to have liquid battery cooling system and charging capability above 100 kW.

Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery (Source: Nissan)

Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery (Source: Nissan)

2018 Nissan LEAF 40 kWh battery: cell (Source: AESC)

2018 Nissan LEAF 40 kWh battery: module (Source: AESC)

2018 Nissan LEAF 40 kWh battery: pack (Source: AESC)

2018 Nissan LEAF 40 kWh battery: pack (Source: AESC)

Source: Green Car Reports

Categories: Battery Tech, Nissan

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23 Comments on "Nissan LEAF 40-kWh Battery: Deep Dive"

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Those of us that have the 2018 Leaf are learning a lot about controlling battery pack temperature. One of the things I’ve recently realized is that I can use the cabin AC system to influence battery pack temperature. The cabin is a big heat sink right above the battery pack and exhaust of the Fresh Air AC mode can blow right onto the battery pack through HV disconnect opening.

The top cells under the front seats heat the most due to stacking.

I thought it was a well-known fact that the battery relies on cabin cooling… Does the manual fail to mention that?

There is nothing in the manual about using cabin temperature to help control battery temperature.

One thing worries me and it’s not price (well ok, that too). Once the Leaf has the 60 kwh battery, will they still want to sell? Or will they become another impossible to get Bolt (Europe here). Because, if it does indeed cost 35000 EUR (40 kwh is 30000) and is as available as the 40 KWH, we have a winner

If the price premium indeed turns out to be $5,000, that should make it at least as profitable as the 40 kWh variant; possibly more. So I don’t see any reason to fear they won’t be willing to sell as many of them as they can 🙂

Because LG Chem (the supplier of the 60 kWh battery) has limited production capacity but sells to a lot of customers (e.g. Hyundai).

Since we have not heard about a “gigafactory” announcement from LG Chem, their production ramp up is probably cautious and they will not be able to supply enough batteries for the new Leaf.

Just as they are not able to supply enough batteries to Hyundai now (at least I was told by a Hyundai salesman that a huge battery shortage is the reason why they can only get a ridiculously low amount of Kona EV units to sell).

LG has several giga-factories… One in Europe, one in the US, one in China, some in Korea.

(Even though all of them together have less capacity than Tesla’s single one…)

The problem with Hyundai is that they didn’t order more batteries, so LG didn’t build capacity for them. Assuming Nissan ordered a reasonable amount of batteries, they will have no problem getting them.

Not a big fan, though the 40 kWhLeaf could have used one.

Ha Ha, only serious.

I was hoping for at least a passing discussion on cooling. If only as a recognition of past issues.


I am a big fan of the fan.

(in the e-nv200)

Good info on the Leaf Battery. I too saw this info at the media event in Canada last April.

I’m not sure if running the AC really makes a difference in the back temps. Check out James at Lemon-Tea Leaf (YouTube), where he just did an experiment on this recently.

As far as pricing, when the MY2019 comes out, I believe it will be offered in 2 versions. Current 40kWh as is version, and a new 60 kWh active managed version with more output (bigger motor) and greater range of course. Both will share same physical chassis and looks externally, prob a badge to maybe show the higher pack. Both will have up to 50kW CHAdeMO and normal L1/L2 J1772 ports. Interior and tech will be same as we see today. Maybe a different gauge (screen menu) option for the 60 kWh.

So pricing will remain relatively the same for the 40kWh version, since Nissan still wants to get to the lowest priced marketplace, and IMO the 60kWh will cost probably $12-$15K more.

I watched James’ video closely and it actually inspired me to delve into this deeper. James performed the test at very low battery temperatures and there was no indication whether the AC was in Fresh Air mode. The situation changes considerably when the battery is cooking and Fresh Air is turned on.

I performed my own unstructured test with the AC when my battery was cooking and got some positive results. I have also seen some test result from other people that were positive.

The charging test also seems way too short to me. The passive heat transfer is slow; so the cabin temperature will only affect battery cooling over an extended time period.

20kWh for $12-15K more?

400 – 600 $/kWh?

How does that compute when the industry is now below $200/kWh and leaders are at $150 ?

Reports from reliable users about battery life in cold weather is scaring us away from the 2018 Leaf despite great discounts. Why not wait or buy a Bolt, is our thinking.

Just done 360 miles in my leaf at 60mph had to charge several times it took 11 Hours 30 my 30 k leaf took 1less charge and only 9hours on same route the mark 2 is a rip off

Starting with the “the battery is not competitive” is a huge disservice to all Electric Vehicles. It’s not designed to be competitive with a Long Range Model 3.
The 2018 Leaf is designed as a run-around commute car. With the average commute well under the 88 miles of the 2015 Leaf, this is designed to be a cheaper car that is great as your second, commuter vehicle.

Since Electric Vehicle are growing up, we have to stop making them all equal. That’s a really good thing. We have enough different vehicles that they start to fill the niches now. The Leaf doesn’t compete with even the Tesla Model 3, let alone the S and X.

With the 2018 Leaf start at UNDER $30k, and with Fed Tax credit bringing the car down to UNDER $23K that’s where we should be thankful that Nissan didn’t price itself too high with the long range battery to begin with.

I got $4500 off at the dealer on my 2018 S (plus 0% 72 mo loan). Another $15,500 off thanks to gov’t rebates etc. makes my net cost $15,800. Even with a salvage value of $0 after 6 years, this is a free car compared to any ICE alternative thanks to the lower operating costs, lower maintenance cost, and the $4,000 I’ll collect in interest putting all that rebate $$$ in investments.

That is a good deal.

However, here in the EU, one would pay $30K EUR after incentives for it.

Much less appealing.

Bad experience with battery capacity on our 2013 Leaf has soured me on Nissan EVs. It was a good car with lousy battery engineering. Not going back to them until they get liquid thermal management. Now have a Chevy Bolt and a Spark, and both manage battery temp actively and well.

Yeah I don’t understand Nissan’s practice here, since they seem to come out with lousier batteries as time goes on.

I’m sure the Nissan Representative here thinks that ‘Criticizing Nissan is badmouthing all ev’s, but unfortunately, that’s not the case since when the shoe was THOUGHT to be on the other foot, Nissan engineers criticized the 2011 VOLT for having too complicated a battery. Except the battery works and theirs ostensibly does not.

I take it that Nissan thinks ev drivers are dumb and will accept anything. In countries where they are the only game in town, I guess that is so, but I’d think anyplace someone can buy something else, EV buyers would jump at the chance.

They used the thicker module in the 30 kWh packs, the capacity reduction was worse.