Nissan CEO: Range Is “Off the Table”, Claims “More Than 400 KM” For LEAF In A Few Years


Comparison of different technologies by OXIS Energy

Comparison of different technologies by OXIS Energy

We have several reports of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn claiming that the automaker has real plans to double the range of the LEAF within “only a few years away.”  Here’s how the conversation went down:

Host: Is Nissan working on new batteries?

Ghosn: “Yes.”

Host: Can you tell us more?

Ghosn: “No.”

Host: Will the range double?

Ghosn: “Yes.”

Host: That means more than 400 kilometers (249 miles)?

Ghosn: “Yes.”

Not much to go on, and the point we’re hanging on to is the simple response “Yes” to the question, “Will the range double?”  Not “Maybe”, not “We hope so”.  Just a simple “Yes”.

Read into this what you will.  The Nissan LEAF batteries weigh in at a pretty decent 140 Wh/kg neighborhood, so if we’re looking at the same weight and/or volume, you need 300 Wh/kg, which is in the range of a few chemistries today, including cells discussed by Tesla.  As Musk is fond of noting, not a week goes by that a miracle battery isn’t announced, and we’ll hold off making a comment until we see it.  It does seem reasonable, however, and within the scope of  most every EV coming to market in the next few years.     

And of course, this is Nissan making the miracle battery announcement, not some unknown startup with no track record.  Furthermore, it’s Ghosn himself making the statement.  We don’t believe he’d feel comfortable stating it if he wasn’t confident that it’ll play out to be true.

Will the next-generation LEAF get 400 km+ (249 miles) of range?  That sure seems to be what Ghosn is implying, but remember these figures would apply only to Japan’s test cycle, so figure more like ballpark of 150-175 miles EPA if 400km is the exact number.

Remember 10 months ago when Nissan first started gauging interest in the 150-mile LEAF?

Suffice to say, if that’s what we’re looking at for in the electric car industry in a few years, it’s a game changer.

*Read more on The Daily Kanban, as well as HybridCars, for more detail, observations and speculation.

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86 Comments on "Nissan CEO: Range Is “Off the Table”, Claims “More Than 400 KM” For LEAF In A Few Years"

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For him to be that confident, they must already have test-mules running around with those batteries in them.

I thought there already were 150 mile test Leafs out there earlier in the year….in a few years 200 miles may be the basic EV standard….

This site previously posted info on solid state batteries, that may be ready for autos in 4 years.

Leaf? Bah… Electrify a larger car like the Altima. More people would buy it. The Japan-centric design of the Leaf is somewhat polarizing here in the states.

The LEAF is already due for an update, right around the time the longer-range battery is scheduled to appear. The LEAF update looks a LOT more normal.

I own a LEAF and rented an altima this past weekend for a 1100 mile trip. There is no more room inside the altima for passengers than the LEAF. Go sit in a LEAF for yourself, and you will get surprised

Don’t change anything about the LEAF except for improving battery range and longevity. Don’t want to drive anything that looks like an Altima, Maxima or Camry. Short nose car hatchback with plenty of interior space. I wouldn’t mind Zoe like styling in a Leaf dimension.

No, they do not have test mules driving. It is just empty claims that speculates with the progress of battery technology. But there is nothing to support these claims. It is just normal company rhetorics with exaggerated claims.

We have already seen these claims by several manufacturers. But the besic underlying problem here is that there are no financial activities that would indicate that Nissan is investing on new battery production lines.

If these claims were substantiated even partially, there should be similar activities ongoing what Tesla is right now doing with their Gigafactory. But of course there is nothing. No miracle batteries here!

Note that LG Chem is providing better batteries for LEAF and Infiniti LE, but these are not particularly cheap and they are not coming until 2016 or 2017.

Is the LG Chem battery for Nissan a fact? So far we just heard unconfirmed rumors. “As early as next month” which was three months ago. I guess the future will tell.
On the range topic – my Leaf is perfect for our usage. It covers 2/3 of our driving. For sure longer range would be nicer, but without Tesla like Superchargers everywhere I wouldn’t pay for it. Maybe a Model S later when we can afford one to get rid of the ICE completely…

I fervently hope that whatever next-gen batteries Nissan introduces are backwards compatible with the LEAF.


As much as I would love that to happen, I sincerely doubt it will. Much more likely, Nissan will redesign the battery pan to be physically larger, regardless of the final chemistry used. I think aftermarket is our only real hope for battery upgrades for our current Leafs.

Brian, hi,.

Don’t you have to get rid of yur Leaf anyway since it is leased?

Nissan has the most sensible charger options to my mind, which would work for almost all electic cars.

3.3 kw (or 110) standard
6.6 kw option level 1
6.6 kw and chademo for opt level 2.

THe volt could use a similar plan.

Ok now, since the Leaf is profitable, how about electifying one of their larger vehicles?

Actually, Bill, Nissan sent me a pretty decent offer if I buy out the lease. Since the car fits my needs well, I am considering it. I am waiting to hear back from my local dealer today before deciding whether to pull the trigger.

The way I see it, my Leaf can continue to fill its current role for at least another 8-10 years. Sure, I’d love to upgrade, and be able to travel further, but it seems like a better choice to stick with this car until I can afford to get a solid upgrade. When I can afford a BEV that I can drive all the way to your house, you bet I will buy it! Until then, my house will be a short-range BEV with a hybrid. And the hybrid will soon be upgraded to a PHEV/EREV.


Just don’t make the new Leaf fugly…

If they can deliver that range at the current price point I do t care how fugging fugly it is.

I agree, but what upsets me about the LEAF (and I drive one) is that it’s not that aerodynamic. If it was ugly, but had the best coefficient of drag, that’s a sacrifice (range for looks). That’s not the case though as it’s less aerodynamic than a lot ICEs. It’s ugly for the sake of being ugly.

I agree that the LEAF’s aerodynamics aren’t that good in the real world. It is affected by crosswinds a lot. After more than 3 years and 45,000 miles in my LEAF, I find my decision to replace it with a Tesla S85 was an excellent move for me…in all categories…

It does have an excellent coefficient of drag and manages to maintain a relatively tall cabin. Its easy to make a sports car shape with much better drag coefficient with no headroom, but its not very useful.
I’d much rather have what some call a fugly car than a gorgeous car that I can’t realistically stand to be in. The Chevy Volt doesn’t have enough headroom for me. The ELR is a like sitting in a tank with slit windows. No thanks. Give me fugly any day.
Or a Tesla that looks nice, has good headroom (especially Model X) and still has good coefficient of friction.


It would be so very easy to make the Leaf much more aerodynamic, just enclose the wheel wells, add a boat tail trunk, smooth out all the surfaces. It isn’t rocket science. Trouble is it would “look strange” in exchange for those 20-30 miles per charge extra range and higher top speed.

They could make a 150-mile Cube and I’d buy it!

sudden urge to loose lunch…

I would hope the range doubles! I don’t think they can ship a modestly improved Leaf and compete in the EV marketplace.

Based on the surveys we’ve seen so far from Nissan, I’m figuring the base Leaf gets 100 miles of EV range (EPA) on 28kWh, and a +$5000 model gets 150-175 miles of range (EPA) on 42kWh.

How do you figure? They are the number 1 selling plug-in car on the market right now, even with the 84-mile range. I don’t see that changing anytime real soon. So I think they can compete quite well. In fact, I think even a slight improvement to 100 miles EPA range would keep them in the top of the affordable EV market for a long time.

The next Volt will eat their lunch if they don’t increase range. Reports are it will have north of 50 miles EV range. Right now, you’re pushing your luck if you try to drive more than 60 miles in your Leaf. So that’s giving up _maybe_ 10 whole miles of EV range for the security of a gas engine that can take you hundreds more? And with seating for 5 and likely other improvements, Nissan better be working on doubling the range!

A 50 mile range is both undocumented and optimistic for the new Volt, from what we know now. Then comparing that to a pessimistic range (60) for the current Leaf is not fair. I guess if you can get 50 miles from the new Volt, you could get 90 miles in a Leaf under the same conditions: warm, flat, and hyper-miling.

I’m excited to see the range numbers go up, but I’d also like some different body styles and nationwide roll-outs of vehicles. Unless you’re in California, there are only a couple of BEVs to choose from.

The Volt is NOT a BEV!! Apples and oranges. A Volkswagen bug can’t four wheel up a hill like a 4x truck can. Apples and oranges. Jeez I wish you guys would stop comparing BEV’s to an extended range car!! So what if the Volt can get a whopping 60 miles on it’s battery. We’re trying to do away with burning fossil fuels, not just reduce the use of them.

We’re not going to get to 0 fossil fuel use in a day or even a decade or a century.

We should try to lower FF use as quickly as possible using all modalities.

An 80 mile BEV isn’t functional for many families. Would we rather them have a BEV and also an ICE? Or only an ICE? Wouldn’t it be better for them to have a 50 mile AER Volt where they can drive 95% electric and 5% petrol, which would also be a gateway car which could encourage them to consider a BEV for their next product?

I think the way forward will include PHEVs with ever increasing AER until the ICE is no linger needed.

“We’re not going to get to 0 fossil fuel use in a day or even a decade or a century.”

I would be extremely surprised if there is any new car made in the end of this century that runs on fossil fuel.

I may agree with you when it comes to coal plants and such. There may still be some fossil energyproduction at the end of this century. But I think the most part has been replaced with new generations of nuclear, both fission that burns nuclear waste and fusion that probably could lower the cost of electricity to a 1/5 of today. That in turn would make it feasable to use metals like Titanium in cars, since you only need energy to get it into pure form. The future is bright!

The sun and the wind are our faithful friends…

If you take a 90 mile trip, the Leaf gets 0 EV miles and 90 gas miles (in your rental), whereas the Volt still gets 38 EV miles. Which gets you closer to the goal of using zero petroleum?

That’s a very limited scenario from which to base such a grand question. People have a wide spectrum of driving ranges, so what does best for each of them will differ. Replace 90 by 60 in your question and you will see what I mean. Let’s not have an argument here over which car is single-handedly best for the planet. Leafs and Volts (and others) are helping.

Well, it’s a much less narrow argument than you’d think. Many people (such as myself) have short (90 mile) trips to nearby cities. The Leaf only has an advantage when you drive a lot of trips between 38-65 miles, and that’s a pretty narrow window. I say 65, because you can’t fully deplete the battery on a Leaf without using a tow truck (which uses gas).

In any case, I fully support having both types of vehicles, but the purist/zealot types frequently don’t think the math entirely through when they complain about the Volt, so I like to make them think.

Since when is a 90-mile commute a “short commute”? That is a long commute.

Individuals will vary, but taken as a whole, the distribution of commuting distances (which account for the bulk of trips) is heavily weighted towards small distances of just a few miles. See, for example, Figure 13 of this paper:

Leafs cover a portion of this spectrum, and Volts cover another portion. I’m glad you agree that they both help. But there are many other factors in the argument of which car is better for which individual than EV range alone. I agree with you that many, many posts to these forums simplify the arguments far too much to single factors.

Religion is always the enemy of logic. Your “thinking” is a case in point. You get more EV miles with a current Volt than a current Leaf. If the Volt has a similar range as a Leaf, then it gets a lot more EV miles.

Just depends on whether you care about using less gas or feeling righteous. You should work for CARB.

The real world electric driving range of the Leaf is pretty nearly twice that of the real world electric driving range of the Volt. 75 miles for the Leaf isn’t just the EPA range rating from a year or two ago; it’s also about the average of what’s been reported by actual Leaf drivers.

You can always find outlier data points that are far outside the norm, but let’s not pretend the Volt’s all-electric range is comparable to the Leaf’s. In fact, one study showed that Volt drivers stopped to recharge significantly more often than Leaf drivers, precisely because of the much shorter EV range.

And there are lots of Leaf drivers who routinely stop to recharge during a 90 mile drive; so again, let’s not pretend that anybody driving a Leaf can’t plan to drive 90 miles on one trip.

BTW– Some Leaf owners actually report a 90 mile range, routinely. Of course, they’re hypermiling. But I’d guess hypermiling to stretch out the range is more commonplace than a Leaf owner renting a gas guzzler for a mere 90 mile journey!

Phil you have no clue because regularly get 70 to 85 miles per charge on my 2014 Leaf.

Everybody talks about longer range. Sales proove only that one-eyeds are kings in the land of the blinds.

Microscopic 1%? sales for the Leaf and much P.R.

This is the Tesla effect, again. I will believe Goshn when I see 400 km Nissans on the road.

Tesla 100% electric sales! Yesss!

I think they should do what Tesla did, offer a few different package sizes and then see what sells the most.

All he’s saying is that battery capacity will be greater in the future. Not much of a prediction in my book.

They already have a one off Leaf with double the range. It has two battery packs. He didn’t mention the pack size, just the range.

Not really any room to stuff more batteries into a Leaf built for consumers (unless they kill the cargo room), so they’ll have to go w/a new chemistry.

Or maybe a little of both, some stuffing & a new chemistry.

There is still plenty of room under there.

Running modules from up between the front wheels all the way back to the motor, as Tesla does, they could fit 60 kWh of current chemistry.

True, at least another row of cells could be put in at the tail of the battery pack.

There is more volume under the front seats and floor area. 3/4 of current LEAF pack is currently under the rear seat and floor area. There is room for 36-48+ kWh of batteries; but the main engineerng design issue is weight. Added weight requires a body designed to standup to crash testing at greater weight.

The above stated 400 km (249 miles) is lacking context … on Japan drive testing the current LEAF is listed at 228 km.

This implies the 400 km rating could obtain “150 miles” under EPA test methods compared to 83 miles for current gen LEAF. Somewhat less than double the current range.

Any expectations for range beyond 150 miles will face design constraints due to weight of the battery pack vs. size of the vehicle. A LEAF sized vehicle can not carry the weight of a Model S sized packed. Reducing the weight of such a large capacity would be expected to fetch an initial price premium over today’s battery technology.

Any new BEV design can easily accommodate a larger battery pack. All you need to do is raise the floor an inch or three.

By using high energy density (ED) li-ion batteries in a BEV (as Tesla does), the limit is no longer the size, nor the weight. It’s only the cost.

Eventually other auto makers will start using higher ED batteries. Perhaps LG Chem’s claims for a so-called “200 mile battery” are a suggestion some other EV markers are finally planning to follow where Tesla has lead.

Nissan is working on better batteries, but so is everyone else, based on public comments. And they are probably all the same battery technology, more or less.

Right now “affordable” EV range is limited to under 100 miles because of battery costs. Based on comments from several manufacturers it seems the next big step is 150-200 miles, possibly because Tesla set the bar with Model 3 claims.

That’s pretty good because not so long ago most of us were hoping the next step would be something more modest, like 120 miles.

Ghosn didn’t indicate WHEN range would double. I’m confident that it will double at some point, the more interesting question is when.

“In the year 2000, a Nissan Leaf will travel 150 miles in one shot. Fox News will declare EVs can’t make it down the driveway and still cause divorces.”

Since LG will be doing the battery they will just mix in NMC with the LMO just like on the coming Gen 2 Volt. However they may up the percentage of NMC since the cycle life is not as critical as the Volt.

A Leaf can hardly make 160 kms on one charge, I can see how doubling that can make 400 kms.

Unfortunately, this is from the same company that insisted their batteries would stand up to Arizona just fine and that they had been extensively tested in the heat. Meanwhile, my Leaf has lost over 20% capacity in 3.5 years in a climate that was their benchmark (Los Angeles).

doesn’t your warranty cover battery degradation?

In a word, no. Nissan only instituted a very poor warranty after a class action lawsuit. In order to get a replacement battery pack, I would have to lose 34% of original battery capacity within 5 years/ 60,000 miles. I am on track to lose that much in about 6.5 years from date of purchase.

I also am watching the Class action law suit but it was my understanding the settlement was not finalized as a Judge in the same court objected to the lack luster settlement. He also owns a Leaf.

John, A friend of mine in AZ just had his 3 year old Nissan Leaf battery replaced by Nissan for free. His had gotten down to 80 miles and Nissan called him to come in and he did. They put the new Lizard battery in and his read 120 miles after this install. Maybe different dealers do things different or just AZ vs CA. I don’t know but my friend is very pleased.

I live in Virginia and I also lost 20% in less than 3 years.

If they double the range of the Nissan Leaf it might take away 80% of the gas powered Nissan Versa’s sales.

@Ocean Railroader — Unless they double the price. Hmmm… ‘Infiniti Leaf’ has a nice ring to it…

Can you tell us more?

::proceeds to tell more::

I have simple criteria for my next BEV:

1) The battery must last at least 10 years to EOL (70%) up here in Michigan.
2) EOL + Winter + Heater should be 100 miles at 55MPH.
3) Must be affordable.

Else { Volt.


Giant, humongous “ifs” remain: Will GM learn that the proper way to sell 100,000 Volts per year is to compare it’s abilities to Prius and Prius Plug In? Will Nissan stick with it’s EV program long enough to build a 150 mile affordable compact BEV in lieu of oil companies’ efforts to kill electric cars by keeping prices per gallon of gas low? All the well-meaning folks chiming in have to realize it’s a free market economy, and in the end it is as Bill Clinton stated: “It’s the economy, stupid!”. When gas prices are low, all of this speculation is just wind – lots and lots of wind. People go out and buy efficient cars when gas prices hit them in the pocket book. Greenies and early adopter techies aren’t enough to guarantee an electric car future. Given this environment of 2014-15, the already-available choice between Volt, and EREV that makes sense for many, and the solution to range anxiety, and LEAF – the only mass-produced electric car available nearly nationwide as a gas-free city/commuter car, is enough. These are the price ranges that push forward mass acceptance. If LEAF loses it’s small city car market, and by small,… Read more »

GM does not WANT TO sell 100,000 Volts per year. They don’t want to cut that deeply into their core product, which is gas guzzlers. And their profit margin on the Volt is very thin, if they don’t actually lose money on them.

The first car company to sell 100,000 BEVs in a year won’t be a legacy gas guzzler manufacturer. It will be an upstart like Tesla; it will be a company which makes no gas guzzlers.

@James — I think I see where you are going, but here’s the point: Gas isn’t cheap. It would have to be $1.01 per gallon, and used at 40 MPG, just to match the 4.05¢ per mile cost of operating an electric car. Lensman is correct. General Motors has no interest in supplanting either the Cruze or Malibu with Volt sales. Just as they had no interest in the ELR capturing buyers looking at the ATS Coupe. Like the majority of traditional automobile manufacturers, GM wants to send the message that once you add a plug to a car: 1) You must pay more for it; and 2) You will get less range for your money; and 3) You can kiss any inkling of performance driving ‘Goodbye.’ That strategy contributes to the goal you intimated, which is to marginalize plugins as cars for greenies, tree huggers, and EV nuts. Like us. They do it on purpose. Compare the Prius cost and range to that of the Prius PHEV. Look at the Accord Hybrid and compare to the Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Look at the aforementioned Cadillac ATS Coupe and compare to the ELR. A distinct pattern emerges.

Oops… Make that:

$1.62 per gallon at 40 MPG


$1.01 per gallon at 25 MPG

…for fuel cost parity between ICE and EVs.

Of course range will double…. it’s just a matter of the time frame 🙂

Just like we will put men and a base on mars but probably not until the end of the century at the earliest.

On the future, one always tend to over estimate the short term and under estimate the long term. So a doubling could take some more time but by the end of this century we could have several cities on Mars.

Our littel E-UP. VW , has 8 years on the batts. And it is a super car for city driving. Norway

400km is 250 miles.

The Nissan Leaf’s current range is 84 miles or 134km. Doubling this would get 168 miles, or 268km.

Whichever way you look at it, there is some bad math going on in that interview.

Not bad math at all. They just aren’t using the EPA numbers.

NEDC range = 200km
JC08 range = 228km

Yeah, the Japanese equivalent of U.S. EPA range ratings gives really inflated numbers for EV range. Don’t blame that on bad math. We can, of course, blame EV manufacturers for promoting inflated numbers for EV range, but that’s no worse than gas guzzler manufacturers giving inflated MPG ratings for their cars. Unfortunately, it’s the industry standard.

A few comments on here re petroleum dependency and by inference, emissions which distort the reality of most EV owners charging methods.

Unless the power to charge the vehicle is from renewable sources, petroleum dependency is no different than for a comparable gas powered vehicle and in the same vein, the relevant emissions in the case of hydrocarbon generated power for charging simply results in emissions shifting from tailpipe to power plant.

Do some research before spouting these tired lines. Yes, the power plant has emissions. No one is denying that. However, if a Leaf were charged with 100% coal (none are), it would have similar emissions to a Prius. The average grid is much better than that. Is the energy powering a BEV emissions-free? No. But it is much better than a comparable gas powered vehicle.

Petroleum dependence for the grid is just a flat-out lie. The grid uses petroleum for a tiny fraction of its energy. Instead, the overwhelming majority is domestically sourced natural gas and coal. Wind and Solar are growing fast. The grid is getting cleaner every year.

So you see, the energy for EVs get cleaner every year. That means my 2012 Leaf is cleaner today than it was brand new. That will never be true of a gasoline vehicle. They always get worse as they age, emissions protections wear out, seals wear down, oil gets into the combustion chamber, etc.

well said, Brian..
FOX FUD is still apparently alive and well regarding ‘shifting from tailpipe to powerplant’
Can’t beat an easily remembered one-liner, ain’t politically motivated media informative..

“…the relevant emissions in the case of hydrocarbon generated power for charging simply results in emissions shifting from tailpipe to power plant.”

*Cough* *Cough*

Excuse me, I’m having problems with all the dust that fell off that musty old “long tailpipe” argument.

That argument is quite easily disproved (and has been, many times) if one looks at actual facts and figures… and doesn’t ignore facts that Big Oil promoters find “inconvenient”. For example:

Most ev owners also have solar panels, and most will buy clean energy. Like I buy it from from a company only providing me with 100% emission free solar and wind energy. That there are plenty of others that don’t care and use the same grid to transport their dirty coal power, that’s not my fault.

Just as using the same highways as drugs smugglers doesn’t make me a criminal.

but you are buying and using the drugs, which is criminal


You’ve never been to Japan or heard Japanese speakers. He answered “Hie!” which means either “Yes” or “I understand/heard you”. (The latter is the one case where it is OK for a Japanese person to lie.)

Inside EVs wrote, “The Nissan LEAF batteries weigh in at a pretty decent 140 Wh/kg neighborhood, so if we’re looking at the same weight and/or volume, you need 300 Wh/kg, which is in the range of a few chemistries today, including cells discussed by Tesla.”

Hmmm… Apples & oranges perhaps, but… For some reason this is quoted as Wh per kg, instead of Wh per liter. Gravimetric instead of volumetric. Does anyone happen to have both numbers, for Nissan and Tesla Motors? My gut feeling is this isn’t really ‘in the range’ of what Tesla is using from Panasonic.

My own calculations might be off somewhat. But I got ~252 Wh per kg for the Panasonic NCR18650A battery cells gravimetrically. The published volumetric capacity is 675 Wh per liter.

The color blobs representing Lithium-ion battery cell technology are incorrect in this image:

It represents on the horizontal scale Wh per Liter. The NCR18650A battery cells introduced by Panasonic in 2009 had a volumetric energy density of 675 Wh per liter… Which would literally be ‘off the chart’, due to being well beyond its 500 Wh per liter maximum grid location on the x scale. Yet this chart shows the most that Lithium-ion battery cell technology can achieve only 325 Wh per liter maximum, a gross misrepresentation of facts.

On the vertical scale there is a similar issue. It shows Lithium-ion battery cells maxing at maybe 140 Wh per kg, when Panasonic’s NCR18650A is over 240 Wh per kg.