Nissan LEAF Battery Cell Destruction Video – NO FIRE – Just A Little Smoke

FEB 28 2014 BY MARK KANE 14

2013 Nissan LEAF Battery Pack.

2013 Nissan LEAF Battery Pack.

2014 Nissan LEAF is (for the most part) Unchanged In Both Pricing And Features

2014 Nissan LEAF is (for the most part) Unchanged In Both Pricing And Features

An interesting video from Hybrid Auto Center appeared on the web with a Nissan LEAF battery cell destined for destruction.

As it turns out, a screwdriver and even a torch were not enough to stop this cell from supplying over 10A. After all the torture, the cell still had capacity of 30 Ah (from 33 Ah measured earlier).

“A used battery form Nissan Leaf 3.8V 33Ah, tested for how likely to catch fire when is destroyed or in flames. We had no success make it burn. Same battery after the burn test was charged/discharged twice at 1/3C – 10A – it has 30Ah capacity remaining. Before the test this cell was under salty water for 2 hours – you can see the contact are destroyed.”

Of the over 100,000 Nissan LEAFs in the world, none have caught fire to our knowledge.  That’s not strange to us though if you use such resistant cells as Nissan clearly does.

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14 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Battery Cell Destruction Video – NO FIRE – Just A Little Smoke"

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Well, one thing we can say about the Leaf’s battery… It is safe and won’t catch fire. Now if they can improve the heat tolerance in hot weather I’d say they would have the most reliable battery around.

Not accurate. A lithium ion cell from the Leaf battery pack is safe and is not likely to catch fire if punctured. Saw what happened when the screwdriver punctured it? There was an exothermic reaction and that smoke means heat was generated. Now imagine if many of these cells were simultaneously punctured, i.e. the pack itself is skewered like the Tesla that ran over a large metal object. I can’t predict what will happen but I won’t venture to the assumption that the “Leaf’s battery is safe and won’t catch fire”. Note: I am a Leaf owner and a big EV fan.

The battery chemistry the LEAF uses was specifically selected because of its safety profile. It has other downsides, such as sensitivity to heat, but it’s definitely one of the safest. This does not mean that it cannot fail catastrophically, just that it will be a lot less likely than with other chemistries. I think the numbers so far prove it. Half billion EV miles and not a single fire. Now compare that to some of the alternatives other EV makers went with.

I was hoping he would pour water on the battery after he poked holes in it.
No sense of adventure. 🙂


Can we get the Tesla / panasonic battery version of this?

Err, DanCar, the Tesla battery version of this is at least a generation ahead of the Leaf’s.

I’m not knocking the Leaf’s design – it is a good compromise for cost. It’s not a fancy car so it doesn’t need a fancy pack.

Really? The Leaf is not a “fancy” car? Have you ever driven in one or been in one?

I love these true ICE’ers LOL

More likely he’s a true Teslan…

I have a Leaf SL, my wife drives an Audi q5. Leaf is and feels like a small inexpensive car. I love it and I love the fact that I do not have to go to a gas station. However the navigation system, the interface the entire center control, the fact that seats are manual, the size of it, how it feels, it is a small inexpensive car, nice but not that nice. The ultra cool factor is that it is electric. And I love that! So let’s be honest. It drives well but it is no luxury, not even close. But it is safe!!

Drive an i-MiEV. The LEAF seems like a freakin’ Bentley in comparison. 😉

Generation behind? As in it doesn’t catch fire as well as a Tesla battery…

Ugh. I saw the same type video 3 years ago. It was a demonstration of how a Tesla battery cell wouldn’t catch fire if it were punctured.

Notice that there’s been a slight difference between “one cell being punctured” and “one battery pack being punctured”.

Try driving a pickaxe through a battery pack while it’s drawing power (to simulate the damage done to that first Tesla owner who drove over some bit of metal on the freeway), then I’ll be impressed.

Until then, you’re testing a catastrophic failure too gingerly.

These demonstrations are graphic and entertaining, but prove little. The fact is however, that based on solely on its properties, the battery chemistry Nissan has picked is one of the safest on the market. It’s less energy dense, and more prone to lose capacity due to heat, but it also releases much less energy when a catastrophic event occurs. The thermal runaway threshold is higher than other comparable cell types as well. This does not mean that a fire cannot occur, just that the probability of such an event is significantly lower. The numbers so far seem to back this up: half a billion EV miles, and not a single fire incident.

a drop in capacity from 33 ahr to 30 ahr after the propane torch test shows us what we already knew in that the batteries primary design goal was safety and stability with sacrifice to heat degradation. but this is a hard concept to pass to consumers due to highly publicized Tesla fires. this is a great demonstration towards helping to get that message out