One of the highly discussed aspects of EVs of course surrounds the battery that powers the vehicle. Nissan, with their upcoming LEAF is considering many different options in regards to battery purchasing, battery after life, and battery longevity.
Right now, Nissan is still undecided about whether or not to include the battery in the price of the LEAF. According to Nissan's North American Vice President of Product Planning, Larry Dominique, "Nissan has not decided whether the battery will be included in the price of the LEAF or be covered by a separate lease. Either way, Nissan would prefer to have consumers see just one bill."
Though battery pricing is a concern for Nissan, there are others. Nissan is fully confident in the batteries ability to hold a charge in sub freezing temperatures, but still insists on installing a warming system to allow the vehicle to hold a charge if it sits for extended periods of time during winter days. As Dominique said, "If you're using your EV every day in a cold climate, there's enough density and residual heat in the battery pack that your battery can still take a good charge in a relatively short period of time."
Assuring customers about battery ability, longevity, and durability is a primary concern for all EV makers. Nissan tentatively plans to include roadside assistance for LEAF buyers to eliminate any concerns about battery related failures. Additionally, all fast charge units will only charge the battery to 80% capacity to prevent damage and increase the life of the battery.
Other considerations pertaining to the batteries involve the end of life uses. When the battery is no longer holding a charge capable of moving the vehicle down the road for a length of time, it will become useless in the vehicle application, but it could do other jobs. According to Dominique, "Nissan expects LEAF batteries to retain 80% of their charge capacity at five years. And if you look even 10 years out, it doesn't degrade much after that."
What about 15 years out? Well Dominique believes a new industry will emerge to support the secondary life of these batteries and Nissan is already planning for it. They see uses such as emergency power storage or powering an entire home as possibilities for the high tech batteries. The batteries retain a strong charge for a near limitless amount of time, but don't like to be constantly cycled as they age.
15 years from now, your used up LEAF battery could power portions of your home, could eliminate blackouts, or even help charge your next EV. It's all a relatively unknown at this point, but Nissan is planning ahead and in doing so will be ready.
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