Q & A With New Nissan LEAF Chief Engineer – Video

OCT 31 2017 BY MARK KANE 27

Bjørn Nyland has released a follow-up video to his walk-around of the 2018 Nissan LEAF presented in Norway, with answers to several questions posed to the popular presenter who spoke to Nissan’s Chef Engineer on their behalf.

2018 Nissan LEAF

Bjørn’s viewers asked about tow bar (there will be none, but the e-NV200 has the towing capability), roof rack (yes, but it’s not know yet the maximum weight) and vegan interior (not available, but there isn’t much leather beside seats anyway).

Another important question was about battery degradation in countries like Spain (think Europe’s Arizona…sort of) and there is no clear answer from Nissan. The EV doesn’t have liquid battery cooling (but it does still have warranty on the capacity).

Bjørn suggests it could still not be the best choice for Spain.  For the cold climate however, the battery is equipped with heater.

The next question is about bigger battery. It’s expected later in 2018 as a 60 kWh unit (with ~225 miles of range), but there is no solid details and Nissan is still mum on the details.

Can existing customers purchase the new 40 kWh battery pack for the old generation LEAF (24 or 30 kWh battery)?    The pack form factor is the same, so technically it could work, but Nissan says it will not offer the upgrade option.

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27 Comments on "Q & A With New Nissan LEAF Chief Engineer – Video"

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Was the previous Leaf equipped with a heater for cooler climates ?

Does this mean that the new leaf has a pre-conditioning facility ?

Yes, the LEAF has a battery heater since 2012.

Battery heater, but no pre conditionning as far as I know.

Ugh.. So that confirms the issue of battery cooling, then. So disappointing. I can’t believe they didn’t at least add a forced-air cooling or something, anything…

++
It’s not just hot climates. The 150mi Leaf is likelier to be used for road trips than the 1st gen. That means making use of DC fast charging, but with no active cooling, during 50kW charging sessions the battery is likely to heat up long before charging is over, so tapering will be necessary for that alone.
This is potentially even a worse problem for the upcoming 60kWh pack. If the latter does have active cooling, that means a retrofit of the bigger battery later on is more of an issue.

Good point about the quick-charging. Based on our experience this summer with a new 2017, even on a hot day it could handle 2 QC sessions in a single drive. Gauge does come near the red, but car still drives normally. With the 2017 this translates to a 250-300 mile drive, depending on conditions. I would be squeamish about doing a 3rd QC on the same drive, if it’s hot outside. If the 2018 has similar properties (and it should be similar *or* better), this translates to 400-ish miles. Note that already on the 30kWh model, there is almost no tapering off at the end, and likely that’s the case with the 40kWh too. All that said, unlike the typical attitude on this site, my hat is off to Nissan for trying to resolve battery/range issues from the “bottoms-up” approach, which is more cost-effective both economically and environmentally. Find the optimum between resources/expenses and needs with that part of the market who’s willing to work with you, rather than, say, drop a superbly engineered, over-capacity product on the heads of a clueless/hostile target like the average American car buyer, that gives them more than what they know to do with,… Read more »
“… drop a superbly engineered, over-capacity product on the heads of a clueless/hostile target like the average American car buyer, that gives them more than what they know to do with, let alone pay for the real cost of….” That’s an ARROGANT position to take, and from someone who makes as many errors as you do in your comments its doubly insulting. As I say, listening to an arrogant person who knows his stuff I’m fine with, but that doesn’t apply here. If you are referring to GM products, the batteries are not “Over-designed”, they are ADEQUATE for the typical service that their cars are going to experience across the USA. GM further cautions that in hot or cold weather, the vehicle “MUST” be plugged in when inactive to allow the battery management system (either heating or cooling) to operate to keep the battery working a long time. As far as stupid americans not knowing the difference – sales figures in ‘Lunch Pail’ Buffalo NY prove the difference. There are all kinds of VOLTs roaming the streets, but a Nissan Leaf is as rare as a Tesla “S”. Resale values are High for the VOLT, and Low for the Leaf.… Read more »

Whew!

I’m so glad you’re not resorting to personal attacks! It *really* helps you make your case 🙂

If you start a crap-flinging contest by posting “…a clueless/hostile target like the average American car buyer”, then you have no right to complain when someone flings crap back at you.

Its not personal – If you happen generically to be an arrogant know-little snob it can fit multiple people.

Nissan is bringing a new LEAF to my house this coming Saturday for a test drive. I still have my 2012 LEAF, so I will be able to compare them side by side. I hope they will let me take pictures and possibly even some video.

Wow, that should be a back to the future experience!

We’ve gone the recycling-lease route, so the 2012 morphed into a 2014 and now a 2017. We still fondly remember our 1st one with the kitschy blue color. Recently some idiot on FB disbelieved me that the 2011-2 Leafs didn’t have that awful bump in the leg space of the middle seat. He posted links “proving” the bump was always there, and I’m telling him link to your heart’s content, we actually sat in this baby for 2 years 🙂

Please do write a story about your drive here if you’re up to it. Jay loves driver-experience posts.

John Ray- Where are you located? (Europe?) How did you arrange the test drive? Thanks. Look forward to reading your review.

Metro Atlanta. I got an invitation via email around the time of the launch event. It’s called a “Drive and Discover Experience”. I’m not sure if it was open to anyone or only current Leaf owners. I got a confirmation text this morning.

Nice! All *my* dealership is doing this Saturday is changing my tires to winters. Plus I have to pay them.

That lack of active thermal conditioning is the defining characteristic for me.

I wish them well, but am truly disappointed.

I think it’s a poor executive decision, based rather on saving on a redesign and the Japanese hierarchical system, don’t make waves, do what you told, we are smarter than you, so don’t question our decisions, is responsible.

You can hem and haw all you want but the case is that no liquid TMS is simply inferior.

I am really surprised that Nissan still refuses to put an active cooling system into the Leaf. It seems that Nissan is doing well at capturing the bottom end of the BEV market, but that’s at best a short-term strategy which is going to lead to the car being obsolete within a very few years.

I feel the same way Mark C.

As much as I agree that lack of liquid cooling is a poor decision, I think I can make a few supporting case for it as “devil’s advocate”… 1. Larger battery means the same charging speed of 50kW will mean lower C rating which will generate less heat, thus a less concern vs. the 24kWh. 2. Larger battery means the degradation will be lower due to naturally lower number of cycles at the same mileage which means the owners are less likely to complain, thus the cheaper solution for Nissan. The longer term problem are potentially transferred to the 2nd owner which won’t impact new LEAF sales. 3. Larger battery with more range means long distance driving will require less consecutive DC charging which will be less likely to have excessive heat. Combined with both lower C discharging and charging compared with old/smaller battery, it will potentially generate less heat. Overall, I still think it is a poor decision not to have the liquid cooling despite the claim of “new heat resistant chemistry”. Ultimately, it is less robust. But Nissan is actively trying to compete on price/value rather than performance/coolness like Bolt and Model 3. Personally, I wouldn’t buy the… Read more »

Good points. I’ve often wondered how much of Tesla’s longevity is simply due to big packs. The Tesloop battery that went 200k miles was an 85 kWh, if I recall. That’s like 60k miles for the original Leaf.

“It’s better to buy a new car than a new battery”
Yeah sure, for Nissan it is! Not for the customer or the environment!

I have read that the longer range leaf will have a thermal management system unlike the current new model. Will have to do a search to find that article.

As an original Leaf owner from AZ, and a buyback, I’m shocked they still haven’t implemented active thermal management. Ridiculous.

I hope they start changing their position on upgrading packs.

You are not alone, far from it.

I guess everyone with a 1st Gen Leaf (pre 2013 model) that hasn’t had a new battery already installed by warranty needs that. And the current “offering” of 7k-8k€ for the 24kwh is a joke. Nissan, please just do what Renault does: 9.9k€ (?) for new 41kwh battery. That is “fair”. And it would still be an inferior car, as it only gets 16Amp charging (for normal speed charging), less baggage space, etc. But would be a compromise most, if not all 1st Gen owners, would eventually go for. On the other hand, time should open 2 options: 1 – 1st gen Leafs are out of warranty already (or almost), so maybe in 1 or 2 years there are enough 1st gen Leafs that some 3rd party companies provide battery replacements that are acceptable (price vs capacity vs warranty) 2 – at some point, Nissan will want to stop producing the 24kwh battery. So a 1st Gen Leaf owner asking for a new battery either receives a 30kwh, or it is simply denied…… I’m hoping that at least some countries have legislation that forces them to replace parts, and in their best interest (cheaper for them) it will at least… Read more »