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Nissan To Offer Leaf Battery Replacement Plan: $100 A Month

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2013 Nissan Leaf, Nashville area test drive, April 2013

2013 Nissan Leaf, Nashville area test drive, April 2013

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To allay fears about loss of capacity in its Leaf electric-car battery packs, Nissan announced today that it would offer what amounts to a battery leasing program after the pack goes out of warranty.

The cost of ensuring minimum capacity will be $100 a month.

The company now warranties the Leaf pack to maintain at least 70 percent of its capacity (or 9 of the 12 bars on the display) over the car's first five years or 60,000 miles.

But for owners who want assurance that they will continue to have at least that level of capacity, Nissan is introducing the new program.

The program will launch during "the first half of 2014," and Nissan said would provide more details before then. The program was first revealed on the MyNissanLeaf forum.

Most won't need it

"Nissan anticipates that the great majority of our current LEAF drivers," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, "will never need this battery replacement option."

Some owners might also want the assurance that their car will have the very latest battery technology that's compatible, Nissan said--including any performance upgrades.

Leaf owners who sign up to pay the $100 monthly fee--presumably after the warranty expires--will have their car fitted with a new, 12-bar battery pack if the car's existing pack falls below 9 bars.

New or reconditioned

That replacement pack may be brand-new, or perhaps reconditioned, but it will provide 12 bars of capacity either way, said Brian Brockman, Nissan's senior manager of corporate communications.

Nissan will take back the car's used pack, to ensure proper recycling or reuse, but will own the car's newer pack thereafter.

What happens if the Leaf owner stops paying the monthly fee? Apparently the same thing as if the owner stops paying the car loan.

Life over 15 years?

More than 65,000 Leafs will have been sold globally by the end of this month, a number that includes almost 30,000 in the U.S.

But battery-capacity losses in a small number of Leafs operated in Arizona's high temperatures raised the question of what would happen to a hard-used battery pack that lasted the average lifetime of a car, or about 15 years.

Under such circumstances, a 5- or 10-year-old Leaf could potentially need a replacement pack.

The new program is designed to meet that need at an affordable cost.

It was designed based on discussions with current and potential Leaf owners, and it also drew from Nissan's experience in Europe, where Leaf owners can choose to lease their battery pack from the start for a separate payment.

Lithium-ion battery pack of 2011 Nissan Leaf, showing cells assembled into modules

Lithium-ion battery pack of 2011 Nissan Leaf, showing cells assembled into modules

Price to fall

The price of electric-car battery packs today is sure to fall, just as prices for earlier nickel-metal-hydride battery packs for Toyota Prius hybrids have done.

When the first 2001 Toyota Prius hybrid was launched in the U.S. in late 2000, the cost of a replacement pack was just under $10,000.

More than a decade later, with volume efficiencies, that price has fallen by a factor of four, to $2,299 after a "core credit" of $1,350 for turning in the old battery pack to be recycled.

Retail cost of pack: not available

The price of a replacement lithium-ion battery for the world's most popular electric car would be a useful number, you might think.

It would help owners assess both the value of this battery-replacement program and the Leaf's overall lifetime total cost of ownership.

But, Nissan said, "Retail purchase of a standalone pack is not currently an option" for Leaf owners.

That would appear to contradict statements last October by Nissan's executive vice president, Andy Palmer, that the company would give a price for replacing the battery pack by "this spring."

Today marks the last day of Spring 2013.

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Comments (65)
  1. So if you lease a new battery in a car you own you are stuck with $100 per month payments forever, apparently, or they repo the car. Not an attractive deal. Sell me a new battery instead. We love our leaf, but Nissan's battery issues are the reason we leased instead of buying. They keep changing their marketing and sales strategies when what they should do is put in a liquid thermal management system for the battery like other manufacturers.
     
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  2. I leased my 2012 Leaf for the same reasons. No battery cooling system and no disclosed cost for pack replacement? Come on!
     
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  3. Interesting… $100 lease vs. $199 lease for a new LEAF (S). A napkin estimate of 12-bar battery pack's value is $10,000 (S is approx $21,000 post-incentives).

    The first LEAFs are now passing two years old, many with over 30,000 miles and 12-bars they still have 30,000 miles to decide. For a 15,000 mile/year driver, it works out to $0.08/mile (still cheaper than gas). At 8,000 miles/year costs become $0.15/mile (plus couple ¢ents electricity).

    Although not a significant announcement, it does assure LEAF owners they will be able to maintain their current vehicle for approx. 10 years at ownership costs lower than a gas (ICE) vehicle. Like has been the case with Prius batteries, the price will decrease, so this is worst case replacement cost.
     
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  4. "it works out to $0.08/mile (still cheaper than gas). "

    A Prius getting 50mpg at $3.80/gallon cost $0.076/mile. Prius is faster than a Leaf in 0-60mph, larger, more spacious.

    Although a Prius is no longer as "cool (green)" as Leaf.
     
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  5. You are an obsessed volt fanboy. We all get it that volt was a good buy for your unique circumstances, but why do you insist that all leaf owners are either gullible or have been somehow conned into buying a leaf?
     
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  6. B/c Leaf is a "substandard" EV in my opinion.

    Let us look at it:

    Range? Not the best,
    Power? Not the best,
    Speed? Not the best,
    Price? Not the lowest.
    Looks? Questionable at best.
    Battery thermal management? Almost the worst.
    Battery warranty? Not the best,


    What is good about the Leaf? Availability! That is about it.

    So, for most people outside CA, you can have any EVs you want, but it better be a Leaf... and they are forced to buy something that isn't very good.
     
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  7. o_O Brilliant analysis, congrats...

    I could repeat it with other cars (e.g the Volt, for fun), with extra cherry-picked criteria like charging speed or seating capacity, but that'd be insulting (almost) everyone's intelligence.

    Let's rank EVs below 50k$ instead:

    Range: Fiat 500e (87 miles EPA), 2013 Leaf (fully charged, 84), Fit EV (82), Spark (82), Focus Elec (76), Smart ED (76), i-MiEV (62)
    Refueling: Leaf (50kW L3 + 6.6kW L2), i (50 + 3.3), others L2 only
    Power: 500e (111kW), FFE (107), Fit (92), Leaf (80), Smart (55), i (47)
    Speed: Leaf (93 mph), Fit (90), 500e (85), Smart (78), i
    Price: Smart (27k$), Spark (28), Leaf (29), 500e (33), FFE (40), Fit (260/m)

    2nd best range, quick-chargeable, best price for its size: pretty good IMHO.
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  8. @Just O,

    So, the lowest priced Leaf that you are using as an example does NOT come with your "refueling" capablilty. So, that is 1 mistake.

    Speed should be corrected to "top speed", but it is one of the SLOWEST getting to that speed.

    "2nd best range, quick-chargeable, best price for its size: pretty good IMHO"

    So, it should be said that it has "2nd best range, NO quick-chargeable and best price for its size and choices in color and availablilty".

    But if you look at it, that is ALL "Leaf" got. You have pointed out just everything that it matters. Isn't that sad?
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  9. @XL, all Leafs except 2012 SV have the DC quick-charge port available either standard or as an option.
    For the 2013 S trim, the "charge package" which adds this along with 6.6kw on-board charger and rear-view camera, lists for just 1300$.

    So yes: 2nd best in range, quick-charge-capable, best price for its size. Highest top speed too, but I don't think this matters at all.

    Beyond specs: the Leaf is the most popular EV, in the US and worldwide, has tons of awards only matched by Tesla, and 93% of customers are 'very' to 'completely' satisfied.

    In my view, and apparently the view of a lot of other people, it definitely qualifies as "pretty good", if not "pretty damn good".
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  10. There are more comments in this thread
  11. BTW, just so you know, I never said anything about the Leaf owner (except for few who still claims that Leaf can do 0-60 in 7 seconds). I said the car is NOT a well engineered EV.

    Many owners buy various cars for themselves. It doesn't mean their cars are the "best engineered" product. It just means that they bought what they could afford at that point.

    I don't think my Volt is the best product. I would rather have a Tesla S. But I can't afford it.
     
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  12. A more interesting question is… How will Nissan value a 2, 3, or 4 year old LEAF and if it will include a 12-Bar battery?

    Anything less than 12-bars for a used LEAF makes determining value of monthly payments difficult for average buyer. Purchaser can't know value without knowing vehicle history and having access to battery capacity measuring equipment. (biggest concern will always be lack of a data record for thermo management) Having a 12-bar battery pack option for used purchases removes a major unknown, but costs need to be factored into used price vs. a new lease.

    Access to CarWings data for a used LEAF and more informative Battery Reports over life of vehicle will increase a used-buyer's confidence (in vehicle value).
     
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  13. I just read an article on kbb.com that stated they were lowering the value of used leaf's. If these batteries are losing capacity, nissan should step up and stand behind their product, rather then put the burden on the consumer.
     
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  14. An extra $1,200. bucks a year for battery insurance? WTF? I can hear the skinflints screaming already.
     
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  15. So, first Nissan told us that there are no problem with the battery pack. Then they said the battery pack degradation is ONLY limited to hot climate. Then they said that the battery pack degradation is "normal" and you lose more up front and won't lose much later. After much uproars, they finally provide a warranty for 70% (but with a reworked battery which performs at least 70%).

    Now, they are telling me if it is out of warranty and worse than 70%, I can LEASE a 100% battery pack for $100/month and LOSING my original up to 69% capacity battery pack? And if I don't pay, then I get repo?

    So, I ask, if I believe Nissan and my battery pack shouldn't degrade much after 70% right? If NOT, then why give it up and pay more to lease?
     
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  16. I would be a little worried if I were a Leaf owner since this move basically ackowledges that there ARE problems with the battery packs. To have to pay $100 per month for battery insurance is insane. Nissan is simply transferring the risk and burden to the consumer should their engineering fail.
     
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  17. when not should.
     
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  18. No read again they never said they would give you a 100% battery. They said they would give you a 12 bar battery. Any battery above 85% is a 12 bar battery. I would question the wisdom of this "Lease" deal. you can lease a whole car for almost this amount.
     
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  19. Leasing won't work for people who drive more than 12K miles per year.
     
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  20. Also, how does the "used" car market work?

    If I sign up for the lease and I decide to sell the car after another year, what do I do? Sell the lease to the next owner? Buy them an used battery?

    What if I am an used Leaf buyer (which I am thinking about)? Do I get that leasing option?

    All these details and confusions are certainly going to put a Leaf's used car value in question...
     
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  21. Anyone (first owner or third owner) can opt into the rental (it's not a lease; you cannot buy it out) option, at any time or mileage count. But if you stop paying that $100/mo, they can take your rented battery back.
     
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  22. Do you get your "used battery pack" back or you end up with a BEV that has no battery?

    Doesn't that sound "silly"?
     
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  23. Based on what Nissan has said so far, you do NOT get your original battery back. You're left with a glider.
     
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  24. As much as I like my Leaf this new "deal" just muddies the water for the Leaf. I have no plans to sign up for what seems like a bad deal since I am not in the least concerned about my battery. That said, I just don't see this deal as strengthening the image of the car to potential buyers as I understand it.
     
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  25. It actually shows that Nissan isn't really confident about its battery after warranty period...

    Again, a "poorly engineered" product.
     
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  26. If it is "poorly engineered" then why the quotes?

    My Leaf battery will last here in South Texas for as long as my attention span or about ten years.
     
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  27. I guess you don't need the entire range then...
     
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  28. If Nissan wasn't confident about its stuff, why would it provide the option to lease the battery, therefore assuming all the risks?
     
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  29. "Assuming all the risks" for $100 a month, is not "assuming all the risks."
     
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  30. Effectively it is.

    That fee is for the rental of a new battery pack -- only if and when one should need it --, and includes unlimited subsequent replacements or repairs as needed to maintain a certain capacity.

    Imagine that a new battery today is worth 10k$ incl installation. When you want it (not before), you start paying 100$/mo. It means that Nissan better hope that pack lasts over 8 years, otherwise it won't recoup its costs.
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  31. So you are saying that the battery is only good for 8 years in order for Nissan to make sense on this option?

    Does Nissan get a Federal Tax credit for "renting" the battery pack?
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  32. If Nissan was confident, then why bother with the battery lease program since NOBODY SHOULD WORRY about it after warranty period, right?
     
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  33. This sounds insane. If you saved $100 a month you would bank $6,000 in five years, not including interest or dividends, etc. By 2017 a battery replacement or individual cell repair job should fall considerably in price and all that money saved could be used to pay for any repairs needed.

    Plus, I seriously doubt the contract would allow repossession of the 'leased' battery for failure to pay.

    It's probably just an extended warranty. You stop paying and the protection ends. But if you already made a claim and had your battery replaced, it's yours. I couldn't imagine it would otherwise be a lifetime 'lease' and be enforceable. How could you repossess a battery?

    $10 a month for extra protection is fair for this deal -- not $100.
     
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  34. Paul, this price is for leasing a NEW battery. But unless and until you want it, you don't pay a cent.

    Like most, I also expect batteries costs to decline, so in 5 years, the same lease will surely be considerably cheaper.
     
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  35. It's not a lease. It's a rental. Once you stop paying the rental, you have to return the rented battery. The battery belongs to Nissan. They're currently not offering a buyout option.
     
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  36. I think this option is AWESOME!!!! I drive a lot of miles...25,000 in one year. When my warranty expires in a couple of years, I'm going to need a new battery. I never plan on selling my Leaf, so $100 a month for a replacement battery is a super cheap option! Thanks Nissan!!!!
     
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  37. Or you could lease a new Leaf with a new battery for $199.
     
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  38. Leasing a New Leaf won't work for him since he drives 25K miles per year.
     
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  39. Let's just say it's a good thing you never intend on selling your Leaf.
     
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  40. When will Duracell make a battery pack for the Leaf? I would think that another battery maker could do far better for this market, if this is all Nissan is going to offer.
     
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  41. Having an option vs none is better than anything. This is a starting point.

    It may work out well for leases if you can turn in the car with a leased battery w/o penalty.

    It sucks in my situation where I purchased the leaf. If I elect this option I basically cannot get out of it and am stuck with an eternal lease, as Nissan confiscates the original battery. How would trade-ins and resale work in this situation? This will negatively impact value of the vehicle. First I'll have to set a low selling price, then inform the buyer there's a $100/month eternal lease fee.
     
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  42. This is one reason I avoided the Leaf. In order to save money, Nissan neglected the cooling system for the battery. But the customer is the one who ends up paying.

    Perhaps if Nissan charged up front for a real cooling system, the customer wouldn't have to pay on the back end?
     
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  43. Some research on this very topic, including the low-impedance option Nissan chose: http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/energystorage/pdfs/48933_smith.pdf

    tl,dr: skip to page 26.

    If interested, other similar presentations are at http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/energystorage/publications.html

    Now you can draw your own conclusions on a base a little more solid than "comments repeated on the interwebs...".
     
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  44. So, based on that link, it already shows a difference between liquid cooling and NO cooling (Leaf is passively cooled) as much as 10% with ONLY 1 charges per day and if you increase chargers per day and deep cycle of SOC, then it will degrade even faster.

    The fact is that study STRESS the importantance of thermal management and SOC. And Leaf's battery pack is LEAST protected in terms of cooling among all BEVs offered today.
     
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  45. While electric vehicles can help us move toward a future where we are free from oil, they are not a near-term solution to our oil problem. Fuel Freedom is working to reduce the cost of driving existing vehicles by opening the market to cheaper fuel choices at the pump. EVs are great in combination with other viable replacement fuels, like ethanol, methanol and natural gas.
     
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  46. Wait, you think that by lowering fuel prices… We can somehow lower our oil dependency? The exact opposite must happen. We should increase fuel taxes every year to force the market into cleaner vehicles that wont rely on such volatile fuels. When we hit peak oil (very soon) oil prices will sky rocket, if we do this preemptively, slowly, we can already get off of it so it doesn't destroy our economy. Ethanol isn't viable and uses just as much oil as it replaces and natural gas has no infrastructure. Electric is the future.
     
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  47. This is one of the reasons why the Chevy Volt is a much better choice. The Volt's battery has a cooling system and the Volt charges only to 80% and its operating range down to 30% which greatly extends the Volt's battery life. That is why GM is able to offer an 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty.
     
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  48. Or why the Ford Focus Electric offers an 8 year/100,000 mile warranty. It is also charged to 80%.
     
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  49. The 8 year/100k miles warranty GM and Ford offer is the same as Nissan: what's guaranteed is only that the battery will function (ie deliver power), not that it will still store a certain amount of energy. "Normal, gradual capacity loss" is not included.

    The 5 year/60k miles capacity warranty Nissan offers comes in addition.

    Regarding battery charging limits: the FFE weights more than the Leaf and has a slightly smaller battery. To get the advertised range, its pack will be cycled about the same if not more aggressively.
     
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  50. GM offers 70% capacity warranty on Volt's battery. It was offered since the start where Nissan ONLY offered after a public uproar from the Arizona owners...
    And Nissan's offering is short of what GM offers on the Volt.

    With that point, I do like to point out that GM doesn't give Volt owner's entire battery range to play with, so in effect it is already "derated" for its owners. So, it is NOT exactly a fair "apple to apple" comparison.
     
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  51. In CA where AT-PZEV designated Volt are sold, it gets 10year and 150K miles warranty.
     
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  52. My advice, as someone who owns a LEAF, is to buy the car and the battery. If you do that and you put 140,000 miles on the clock, then the car has paid for itself (at least in the UK), from fuel savings alone. This assumes some increase in fuel price over the period of ownership, but doesn't include road tax savings, servicing savings, lower maintenance savings, etc... When the battery loses too much capacity for it to be your main car, don't sell it, keep it as your local run around second (or third car). Keep putting the miles on and when you get 140k you've done it, it is free! Plus you can have a nicer first car (Tesla?), safe in the knowledge that most of the miles will go on the local run around.
     
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  53. What is the point of keeping the Leaf if you have a Tesla? :)

    Doesn't the Tesla cover just about everything that a Leaf can do?
     
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  54. No, it isn't cheap! If I do local miles, which are convenient and comfortable in a LEAF, then I can get a finance deal for the Model S with the lowest possible number of annual miles allowed. This should make the lease as cheap as possible (and therefore affordable).
     
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  55. I am NOT aware that there are any "leasing" deal for Model S with any kind of mileage limit... Maybe it is an UK thing.
     
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  56. Probably not yet, but I'm sure there will be. And in any event the residual value of the vehicle after three years is greater if you do less miles in it!
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  57. Do run to the local tip (10 miles total) in brand new Tesla Model S, or in five year old Nissan LEAF. Which one do you think is cheaper as a journey?
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  58. "Do run to the local tip (10 miles total) in brand new Tesla Model S, or in five year old Nissan LEAF. Which one do you think is cheaper as a journey"

    About the same to me if both cars are already paid for and their efficiency is so close for 10 miles that any difference is beyond the decimal point...

    If the Tesla S battery going to last longer, then it will be cheaper to run it in the Tesla.

    I am NOT aware of any kind of financing deals that limit you to certain miles per year.
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  59. Yes it would be great if Nissan would release the price for a replacement battery. It would make the decision to lease or replace the battery or sell the car much easier.
     
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  60. This is not likely to happen for a coupe years as battery pricing is a competitive advantage. We're likely to see individual module pricing before pack pricing is released.

    Nissan and Tesla are two EV manufactures that build their own battery modules that go into their battery packs. Most other auto manufactures purchase battery modules from a third-party (likely at greater cost, somewhat related to shipping numerous heavy modules).

    Nissan and Tesla are currently building battery packs at 20,000 per year in the U.S. … Few other manufactures sell over 5,000 BEVs per year. Wait a coupe years as BEV sales volume increases and battery suppliers become more competitive. With 1,000,000+ BEVs built before 2020, there will options.
     
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  61. As the number LEAFs passes 50,000 in 2014 in U.S. (100,000+ globally) a 3-rd party might look at this as an opportunity to repack a LEAFs battery pack. Outside of the battery (tires, brakes, shocks, etc) a LEAF could be driven over 200,000 miles.

    There is nothing precluding Nissan from offering other battery pack options, or cheaper options in next couple years as new technology becomes available.

    For any LEAF owner (or potential owner) it may provide some piece of mind by following Plug-in America's LEAF Battery Survey Results: http://www.pluginamerica.org/surveys/batteries/leaf/survey.php
    The result of this survey will provide a great deal of insight into what to expect as more LEAF owners add data points.
     
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  62. Like I said before, you have to take that survey with a grain of salt.

    1. It was only a survey done at most a 2 year old Leaf. Insufficent data on the long term.
    2. It was sampling only 240 owners mostly in the mild to cold climate from 25 states, Canada and UK.
    3. Even with the low sample rate, it showed a high correlation between high temperature and accelerated aging. The higher mileages also correlated with slightly higher % of aging.

    I would be nice if plugin America would do a survey like this yearly on a wider temperature distribution AND larger samples.
     
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  63. That might be true if the new batteries are backward compatible with the old cars. Nissan has already said this is not a sure thing.
     
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