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IssacZachary
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Tue May 01, 2018 11:31 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:Nissan didn't share the fact that they were experimenting with cost-cutting measures when they opted to not have TMS. I don't think you fully understand how much trouble they caused for people, and how much ill will they generated. If you did you would have added a qualifier or three to what you wrote.

Perhaps I don't fully understand the damage that has been caused. I do know that my own Leaf had a MSRP of over $40,000 and is now worth 1/10 that less than 5 years later. And like I've said, both value and practicality would increase greatly with longer living batteries (or batteries as they are but that cost 10¢ a piece).

The way I look at cost cutting measures is that they aren't always that bad in the long run. Look at the history of the VW. A lot of people around the world would never had had the opportunity to own and drive a car had it not been for that little pregnant roller skate. Many would contend they were one of the worst cars ever built, but in the end they changed the world forever in a rather positive way.

The Leaf is far from perfect. You'd think by now with the 2018 Leaf Nissan would have fixed this major flaw. The Leaf could be called one of the worst EV's in history. But on the other hand I wonder where the EV market would be by now without them? Strictly from an EV viewpoint, how many people would have had the chance to own and drive an EV without the Leaf? Yes, it may soon fade into inexistence as the air cooled Beetle did. And I do believe that unlike the Beetle they are a way over priced for what they are.

But there's some hope in the title of this thread. Maybe Nissan will keep making them as they are, but make both the car price and they batteries more affordable. If they could cut the cost of their cars and batteries in half without sacrificing the battery longevity any worse than a Lizard battery that would do the trick. I really doubt that they will, but hey, it's a possibility even if it's far fetched. Someone should, I really think the market needs something like that. Long range EV's with lasting batteries like Tesla are coming down in price to close to that of the Leaf filling in what the Leaf should be doing in it's price range. A much cheaper EV with much cheaper batteries would fill in a lower price bracket.
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WetEV
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 7:43 am

IssacZachary wrote:Read my posts again. I'm not saying they should continue to make non-TMS batteries. But that what Nissan has done so far has been educational and proof that we really need TMS. Even if a TMS costs $6,000 and only doubles the life of the batteries Nissan should do it. That's a lot cheaper than several more $6,000 bills down the road.


An active cooling system doesn't double the life of batteries everywhere. Might do more than triple the life in hot places. Would do nothing at best for cool places. I think Nissan should make better batteries, not an active cooling TMS. The "Lizard" 24kWh has been the best, and I'm really disappointed with the reports on the life of the 30kWh battery. But the 30kWh battery problem isn't a TMS problem, it is a battery problem. Fix the right problem.

IssacZachary wrote: Actually I'd be willing to bet that it they invested $6,000 per car to maintain proper battery temps all Leaf batteries should see way past 10 years of life.


Cool places see lower battery temperatures than an active cooling system could maintain, almost all the time. Not all Leaf batteries will make it to 10 years of life in cool places. This car, a 2014, (from Facebook) probably will not get to 10 years. 8 years and 160k miles at best.

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GetOffYourGas
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 9:20 am

WetEV wrote:Cool places see lower battery temperatures than an active cooling system could maintain, almost all the time. Not all Leaf batteries will make it to 10 years of life in cool places. This car, a 2014, (from Facebook) probably will not get to 10 years. 8 years and 160k miles at best.


The trouble with this reasoning is that the Leaf is a world car. It sells world-wide, and the same design needs to survive in Phoenix, Seattle, Madrid, and Tokyo. Saying that cool climates don't need TMS doesn't address this issue.

Also, saying that "some" cars won't make it to 10 years ignores the fact that most cars on the road live far beyond that. The average age of cars on US roads is over 10 years. Average. Think about that. For every new car sold, there's a car out there that's 20 years old to compensate. Or maybe two that are 15 years each. Any way you slice it, many many cars live beyond 10 years, and the Leaf should too.
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IssacZachary
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 11:17 am

GetOffYourGas wrote:The average age of cars on US roads is over 10 years. Average. Think about that. For every new car sold, there's a car out there that's 20 years old to compensate. Or maybe two that are 15 years each. Any way you slice it, many many cars live beyond 10 years, and the Leaf should too.

Exactly! For an example, I have a 1985 VW Golf diesel that has over 500,000 miles on it. If the engine blew up tomorrow it would make economical (but not ecological) sense to spend $6,000 on another engine that would last another 500,000 miles and 30 years.

But the Leaf can be ten times more costly to keep on the road if you live where you have to change the battery every 50,000 miles or 3 years. Sure, there's the 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty. But once that's up your car is worth a bucket of bolts. And even if you live where it's cool the fact that these cars don't last in Phoenix affects their resell value everywhere.

If you knew that in a particular ICEV the $6,000 engine or transmission needed replacing as often as every three years would it make sense to buy that car?

WetEV wrote:Fix the right problem.

Why not fix both problems? Whatever increase on initial cost would likely be made up for in both resell value and cost-per-mile after the warranty period for everyone except those who live in Juneau.
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goldbrick
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 11:19 am

What is the average cost of maintenance for those 20 year old cars? I have cars built in 2000, 2001, 2002 at home and I've had to replace a head, an automatic transmission, timing belts, fuel injectors, water pumps, etc, etc, I do all my own wrenching so I only pay for parts and tools but if I had to pay a shop $100+ per hour to do this work it would add up quickly. Add in gas, oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, catalytic converters and all the other 'normal maintenance' parts of an ICE vehicle and having a 20 year old car can get expensive.

I fully expect my 2017 S Leaf to last 10 years with virtually no maintenance costs. Time will tell of course but complaining that an EV won't last 20 years with $0 maintenance costs is a bit unrealistic. I'd put the odds of a warranty battery replacement in the next 9 years at about 75% based on what I've seen so far but that is Nissan's problem, not mine.

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IssacZachary
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 11:37 am

goldbrick wrote:What is the average cost of maintenance for those 20 year old cars? I have cars built in 2000, 2001, 2002 at home and I've had to replace a head, an automatic transmission, timing belts, fuel injectors, water pumps, etc, etc, I do all my own wrenching so I only pay for parts and tools but if I had to pay a shop $100+ per hour to do this work it would add up quickly. Add in gas, oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, catalytic converters and all the other 'normal maintenance' parts of an ICE vehicle and having a 20 year old car can get expensive.

I fully expect my 2017 S Leaf to last 10 years with virtually no maintenance costs. Time will tell of course but complaining that an EV won't last 20 years with $0 maintenance costs is a bit unrealistic. I'd put the odds of a warranty battery replacement in the next 9 years at about 75% based on what I've seen so far but that is Nissan's problem, not mine.

10 years would be awesome if all Leafs lasted like that! I don't think at this point expecting 20 years is necessary or practical. But at least half that would be great. You seem to be an exception. Most 2017 owners are having terrible problems with battery longevity.

About maintenance, you have to take into consideration that if you go by the manual the maintenance costs on a Leaf at a dealer isn't all that cheap either. Edmunds puts it a nearly $700 average per year. Yes, a lot of us Leaf owners just drive the car and don't do any of the maintenance items, and if we do we don't go to a dealer or even a regular mechanic unless it's absolutely necessary. But along the same line of reasoning I've also known a few ICEV drivers that have gone for over 100,000 miles without changing the oil, filters or sparkplugs and are getting away with it!
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 12:03 pm

The way I look at cost cutting measures is that they aren't always that bad in the long run. Look at the history of the VW. A lot of people around the world would never had had the opportunity to own and drive a car had it not been for that little pregnant roller skate. Many would contend they were one of the worst cars ever built, but in the end they changed the world forever in a rather positive way.


The Beetle was self-evidently a cheap little deathtrap. The Leaf was not. There was no way to tell by looking at the Leaf that it would lose battery life much faster than Nissan predicted. Your Leaf has lost most of its value (because of the battery issues) but has not lost most of its range. You really don't know what it's like to pay that much for a car that loses both its resale value AND its utility.
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Wed May 02, 2018 2:48 pm

Not to pick on anyone, just using your quotes as a place to start the discussion:
IssacZachary wrote:...I do know that my own Leaf had a MSRP of over $40,000 and is now worth 1/10 that less than 5 years later....
Yes, depreciation has been bad, but "not quite" that bad. The original MSRP was $34-35K, plus almost all early adopters received the $7500 tax credit and some form of state incentive (e.g, $5000 in CA and no sales tax in WA). https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2011-nissan-leaf/review/
Yes, I personally spent full MSRP because there were NO other incentives out here in the sticks. CA had some dealers providing some additional incentives ($1000-$2000 off, IIRC). Today, in hindsight, it looks rather comical now, but back then many people had experienced the GM EV1 lease/crush fiasco. For me personally, the Leaf was about the same as buying a new $25K ICE, so "not" too bad. I could afford to pay cash for the vehicle since I'd been waiting and saving for a "real" (not DIY) BEV since the 1990s, I just didn't think I'd need to wait 20 years! When I factor in the $10,000 savings on gas/oil/maintenance, it becomes much more palatable. My electricity is 100% hydro and $0.06-$0.07/KWh, so essentially zero emission and cost. Sticking my finger to the oil industry: Priceless :twisted:

Furthermore, if one purchased a BEV with degradation in mind (like I did because my commute is 8 mi, or about 10% or the original 73 mi EPA range of the Leaf), then the 10 yo BEV works just the same as the newly purchased BEV. I intend to drive my 2011 Leaf with the original battery until I can't make it to the grocery store (2 mi RT), or Nissan sells me a new battery for less than the value of the car (I'm pretty sure that's not happening). I'm making sure that Nissan gets absolutely NO VALUE from my used battery even if I have to drive it another 30 yrs! Last summer I sold the only ICE vehicle (1992) that I've ever purchase after 25 yrs of faithful service. I will never buy another ICE vehicle and the oil industry can waste all of their money pounding sand (hmmm, I guess that's what they're doing).

So, depreciation happens and it happens fast with fast-moving technology. Deal with it. As an example, how much should someone pay for the hottest new Apple MacBook Air from 2010? $1800? Nope, I found a refurbished one on Amazon for $300 (I'm not sure if it's even usable). Surprisingly, that's about the SAME depreciation (80-90%) as the 2010 Leaf (both were announced and released about the same time).

WetEV wrote:An active cooling system doesn't double the life of batteries everywhere. Might do more than triple the life in hot places. Would do nothing at best for cool places. I think Nissan should make better batteries, not an active cooling TMS. The "Lizard" 24kWh has been the best, and I'm really disappointed with the reports on the life of the 30kWh battery. But the 30kWh battery problem isn't a TMS problem, it is a battery problem. Fix the right problem.
While I mostly agree with this, I'm not sure if the 24 KWh "Lizard" battery is really that much better. It might just be a bigger battery (say 26-28 KWh) that is software limited to only use 21-22 KWh, thus allowing hidden degradation. For example, 20% degradation on 28 KWh works out to 22 KWh. Most folks took about 2 years to see 20% degradation on the 24 KWh battery (highly variable depending on location). Since, the 2016/2017 "30 KWh" battery is just about 2 yo, we should start to see similar degradation in non-Arizona environments. There are probably a whole host of other factors involved (yes, changes in chemistry, but also density, cycle depth, exterior conductance, insulation, etc. may also play a roll).

While I do believe that Nissan should focus on affordability, a TMS could greatly improve battery function in much of the world. Yes, the Puget Sound, the UK and a few other areas might not see "significant" improvement in battery function when using a TMS, but the rest of the world, and those marine areas during inclement weather, would see some improvements. A heat pump TMS system, combined with the cabin, could improve battery function and durability. I'd like to see such a system available as an option. Perhaps we could have the option to purchase without TMS for marine environments, with cold-weather TMS (resistive heating only) for northern/arctic environments, and hot-weather TMS (heat pump) for more southerly areas. I would certainly love to see batteries capable of handling 10 C charge/discharge rates without a TMS, last 20 yrs (to 80%), cost less than $100/KWh, and work the same from -50C to +50C. Unfortunately, we aren't there yet.
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Tue May 08, 2018 6:05 am

WetEV wrote:
jlsoaz wrote:It is not necessary to issue 500k electric cars to arrive at the conclusion that Nissan got the multiplier wrong - they needed to issue a vehicle with more range - a significantly higher multiplier of the daily commute.


What range do you think is needed? Half of the daily trips, mostly commutes, are less than about 10 miles. Sure, the average is much higher, 29 miles, both according to the AAA. Would 8 times the daily trip be enough?

In 2011, multiply the added battery size by about $1000 and add that to the price of the Leaf. Or look ahead a few years and add $500 per kWh. For a 48kWh battery, would a Leaf at $50k sell as well? Sure, battery prices have dropped a lot since then. Which is why Nissan has increased battery sizes. I'd rather Nissan focused on reducing the price, maintaining battery life, and increasing volume at this lower price. Different than Tesla, yes, and this is not saying Telsa is wrong, only that different strategies can be productive.


Nearly 10 years ago I was speaking with an EV advocate and he voiced to me that in his view EVS would not really take off in broader interest until they hit 150 miles range. Sure, you get some sales under that, but he was referring to (and I am referring to, and Ghosn is referring to), the question of what range is necessary to reach a more mainstream broader addressable market. Some of us asked or begged Nissan and Mr. Ghosn to give us a choice of a larger more expensive battery in the Leaf or another BEV, but it took quite some time before larger battery Leafs started coming out, and they did not seem to keep pace with the best of the competition (the Bolt, the Model 3).

Some of us knew, or suspected, when we watched Mr. Ghosn following this reasoning (did he talk about this in Revenge of the Electric Car?), that he was too set in his ways. Some of us feared that Nissan and Mr. Ghosn were relying overly much on an argument we had employed in the 90s and 2000s in California to get Gen1 EV explorers to realize that the average commute is a short distance and can be served in theory by a shorter-range BEV. We knew that this argument is limited, and does not get at the heart of the matter when trying to reach a broader addressable market. If I recall, Nissan had aspirations of building the Leaf at higher volumes, when it first came out. If they had wanted to, maybe they should have offered a longer-range option and given consumers the choice of whether they would pay more. Instead, for a very long time, nobody offered a widely-available choice, in the range between the shorter ranges of ~24-30 kWh or so, and 60kWh or so.

Couldn't Nissan's luxury infiniti line have stepped up to compete with Tesla during this time? Perhaps a contributing factor here was Nissan's commitment to shorter range and less-well-cooled battery technology, and (apparent) refusal to consider options more quickly.

Anyway, what stands out is not just Mr. Ghosn's contention as to this 300 km (or thereabouts) number, but that he claims nobody could have predicted something along these lines without selling 500,000 vehicles. I am disappointed, but not surprised, to hear him saying this, and I have to call it into question. Had he consulted broader opinions, or even listened more closely and acted with greater urgency on the surveys that his own organization conducted, Nissan Leaf sales might have followed a different trajectory. As it stands, I'm glad that Nissan has finally come out with a 40 kWh Leaf, and when they finally bring a 60 kWh (or so) Leaf to the US, that will amount to the righting of a wrong, but it will not change that others recognized this market sweet spot before he did, even if few would have been able to act on producing the vehicles, even if nobody did act on this in any sorts of numbers, and even if buyers were unable to vote with their dollars since there were no vehicles widely available in that part of the market.
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Re: GCC: Nissan shifting EV focus to affordability instead of range

Tue May 08, 2018 4:53 pm

jlsoaz wrote: Some of us feared that Nissan and Mr. Ghosn were relying overly much on an argument we had employed in the 90s and 2000s in California to get Gen1 EV explorers to realize that the average commute is a short distance and can be served in theory by a shorter-range BEV. We knew that this argument is limited, and does not get at the heart of the matter when trying to reach a broader addressable market.<snip>

The argument is considerably older than the 1990s. Exactly the same arguments about how limited BEV range was all you needed for a city (read commute) car, that they could handle 95% (or more) of people's trips, etc. were being made by US EV advocates in the 19-oughts and (increasingly desperately) in the early 19-teens. It was just as true then as it is now, but the car-buying public didn't see things that way in either period. They wanted the range to be able to tour and not be 'tethered to a wire,' even though they'd rarely do so (the roads outside of cities weren't hard-surfaced, and were either dusty or mud furrows), and as the price of cars came down and the middle class could afford one (but only one), they wanted a universal car rather than a limited one. While many more households in the U.S. can afford multiple cars with considerable specialization now, as was only the case with the rich when cars first debuted, there is still a lot of resistance to the idea of limited vehicles, and that will continue as long as they are more expensive than unlimited ones.

Probably the easiest way out of this is when AV car sharing arrives in the not too distant future, as that will allow the public to have routine access to specialized fleets rather than having to specialize on a household basis, and do so at much lower cost.
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