Aftermarket Water-Cooled Nissan LEAF Battery Available Soon
Before Tesla, Nissan LEAF was the most popular EV ever produced, and millions of these quirky little vehicles are still operating. Owners love them, but their air-cooled battery was its weak point. Thankfully a company in New Zealand has developed a direct replacement battery.
EVs Enhanced, a Christchurch, New Zealand-based business, will debut its 16 Blade battery in March 2023. This new power platform will replace the battery in the Nissan LEAF and take it to the next level. While the car was revolutionary when it first came out, the battery posed a challenge due to its lack of liquid cooling. Air cooling could work for some areas without excessive heat or when rapid charging isn’t needed, but not in all conditions.
An active thermal management system is used and fits inside Nissan’s original battery pack enclosure. According to its mission statement, the company develops and offers upgrades to the electric vehicles, so they remain relevant and usable as they age. Current technology can make these vehicles significantly more powerful and extend the car’s range further than when they were first introduced.
Says EVs Enhanced in a statement. “The intention is to extend the usable lifetime of these vehicles as much as possible, firstly for the early adopters that originally purchased these vehicles and then for the following owners as they are ready to embrace this superior technology. We love electric vehicles and consider any steps towards promoting their adoption to be a worthy cause,”
Their 16 Blade battery will be available for all LEAF models with 24, 30, and 40 kWh batteries. Upgrades for LEAF models with 62 kWh batteries will not be offered due to physical mounting differences. Support for 16 Blade will begin with 24 and 30 kWh LEAF models starting with the model year 2013, followed by the 40 kWh Leaf models.
Support is also expected to eventually come to the original 2011-2012 Leaf models depending on demand. However, the company says it is working on a solution that will also allow owners of the e-NV200 electric vans to update their vehicles.
The 16 Blade battery will be available in three configurations based on cell type: RED, BLUE and GREEN. While differing in chemistry and characteristics, each version is still compact in the same sixteen-module form factor. The GREEN variant is the initial focus, using Long Life LFP technology to yield an impressive 40kWh capacity. The BLUE variant puts the range in the spotlight instead; over 70kWh should be able to take you far. As for the RED variant, it’s designed for performance applications and will be produced in limited quantities.
Thanks to its advanced thermal management system, the 16 Blade battery maintains consistent DC fast charge rates even on demanding days where multiple fast charges are necessary, such as during a long road trip. While the GREEN, BLUE, and RED variants have different maximum charge rates, the GREEN model has an identical fast charge current of 125A to that of a standard LEAF battery. Furthermore, this peak current stays consistent up to 80% SOC thanks to the cooling system. Charging time is reduced in comparison to a traditional 40 kWh LEAF battery which tapers off rapidly above 50% SOC.
Most people will naturally ask, how much will the battery cost? The company states, “Our target sale price for 16 Blade Green has been and continues to be approximately a third of the price of a new 40 kWh LEAF without government incentives. “It excludes the trade-in value that you will be offered for your original battery pack.”
A 16 Blade Green pack won’t be cheaper than what Nissan USA charges for their less effective air-cooled 40 kWh battery. The goal from the start has been to create an enhanced product with improved design quality, performance and durability beyond factory specification.
EVs Enhanced offers trade-ins for customers’ original batteries to lower the replacement cost. The amount given for the trade-in will depend on the condition of the pack, resulting in a reduced final cost of an upgrade. Those who wish to keep their existing modules/cells may do so, the company provides repackaging services for stationary storage.
The GREEN battery comes with a 160,000 km or 3-year manufacturer’s warranty with the option to extend it to 8 years. Upon completing the upgrade, customers are encouraged to adjust the increased value of their vehicle with their insurance company.
The Nissan LEAF is beloved by millions of owners worldwide and has achieved near cult status with many. The car was the first EV for many of its owners and has been the affordable gateway to EV ownership.
As a former LEAF owner myself, I can say firsthand that I would still have the car today had an affordable or improved replacement battery been available when we sold ours. Given this new product offering by EVs Enhanced, I would consider another one again.