53kw CATL Upgrade on 2013 Leaf S

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Simon357

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2024
Messages
21
Location
Carlsbad, CA
Recently I embarked on a battery upgrade using a kit I purchased from SHENZHEN CHUNENG ENERGY ELECTRONICS CO.

https://chuenergy.en.alibaba.com/
www.chuenergy.com

They have several kits, but this one was for their 53kwh version. It included 8 preassembled battery modules, a mounting plate and all required accessories to make the conversion using the old battery shell and BMS.

It does require modification of the old battery tray before securing the new mounting plate inside. It was a pretty straight forward conversion, and the company walks you thru the entire procedure along the way. I was very impressed with their customer service.

The top shell does sit higher which does require spacers when reinstalling the HV battery.

The heater system from old leaf battery was not able to be reused; and I have absolutely no idea what impact, if any, this will have in the future. I am in southern california, so it is not of concern given our climate.

I performed the first full charge last night and the range has increased to 155 miles, but I am sure that will increase as the computer adjusts to the new capacity. The original battery was 24kwh with 64% SOH remaining (55 mile range).
 

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It still uses both halves, but the top section will be around 1.5-2 inches higher off the bottom half because that center section is too shallow to fit the new modules. They provide a thick spacer gasket that seals them together and longer bolts to secure the two halves together. When installing the battery in the car, they provide spacers and longer mounting bolts as well. This allow the battery to hang a little lower than stock to accommodate the extra height in the battery. Similar situation when installing the 62kwh leaf battery in a 24kwh stock leaf if that makes sense.
 
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What is the weight difference before and after?

Does your Nissan ride lower due extra weight (I understand the battery sits lower)?

Did you have to get stiffer springs?

Final Cost?
Hours you put in?
 
No suspension modification is needed. I think it is only 50-100 pounds heavier than 24kwh. Final cost with shipping was $6500. I would say about 20 hours invested, but I am a novice with EV batteries. An oscillating saw and angle grinder are invaluable tools with this conversion.
 

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@Simon357 great report, thank you for sharing it. I would be really interested in dinamic review of the package under load using leafspy at different state of charge.
Probably you are the first reporting it and everyone is interested ins:
1) evaluate cell quality (did you check capacity of each module and internal resistence? they give certification for each module?)
2) I see the kit use can bridge (copied from Muxan's project and probably with a custom Dala's firmware).
3) Are you able to quick charge to full 53kW and at what power? would be great a report of charge speed during time, a leafspy snapshot would be enough IMHO (having reference to the temperature too)
4) Can you share photo of the modification you did on the battery case?
5) some video of leafspy of the cell voltage variation during heavy load at different state of charge
6) everything else you can share :)

again really thank you for sharing and test the pack

regards
 
Recently I embarked on a battery upgrade using a kit I purchased from SHENZHEN CHUNENG ENERGY ELECTRONICS CO.

https://chuenergy.en.alibaba.com/
www.chuenergy.com

They have several kits, but this one was for their 53kw version. It included 8 preassembled battery modules, a mounting plate and all required accessories to make the conversion using the old battery shell and BMS.

It does require modification of the old battery tray before securing the new mounting plate inside. It was a pretty straight forward conversion, and the company walks you thru the entire procedure along the way. I was very impressed with their customer service.

The top shell does sit higher which does require spacers when reinstalling the HV battery.

The heater system from old leaf battery was not able to be reused; and I have absolutely no idea what impact, if any, this will have in the future. I am in southern california, so it is not of concern given our climate.

I performed the first full charge last night and the range has increased to 155 miles, but I am sure that will increase as the computer adjusts to the new capacity. The original battery was 24kw with 64% SOH remaining (55 mile range).
Thanks for a great and complete posting. What was the cost?
I was getting excited for a possible battery upgrade for my son's 2014 LEAF but as we live in Colorado the lack of a heater will be a problem. Any possible solution to that issue?
 
The weight difference seems to be 170km for the 24kw and 350km for the 53kw
a difference of 180km x 2.2# = 396#
I'm assuming that NEDC is the weight of the kit
 
@Simon357 great report, thank you for sharing it. I would be really interested in dinamic review of the package under load using leafspy at different state of charge.
Probably you are the first reporting it and everyone is interested ins:
1) evaluate cell quality (did you check capacity of each module and internal resistence? they give certification for each module?)
2) I see the kit use can bridge (copied from Muxan's project and probably with a custom Dala's firmware).
3) Are you able to quick charge to full 53kW and at what power? would be great a report of charge speed during time, a leafspy snapshot would be enough IMHO (having reference to the temperature too)
4) Can you share photo of the modification you did on the battery case?
5) some video of leafspy of the cell voltage variation during heavy load at different state of charge
6) everything else you can share :)

again really thank you for sharing and test the pack

regards

1.) I asked them for this data, and will follow up later if/when I get that. I will say that CATL cells, in general, are considered best in the industry. These are Li-Ion Prismatic cells instead of the pouch style cells the leaf comes with. Each cell is encased in thick aluminum. I am sure pouch and prismatic have their pros and cons, however prismatics are know to be far safer due to their rigid cases. They did tell me these were rated for 2000 (roughly 600k kilometers) full charge/discharge cycles before dropping to 80% capacity, and they can be charged up to 4.35V. CAN Bridge seems to limit the high end so you can only charge to 90-95% of 4.2V (considered top end for Li-ion) which would further lengthen cell life.
2.) They did supply the CAN BRIDGE, but I don't know which DALA software version is loaded on it.
3.) I can't give Quick Charge data since I don't have that option with my Leaf. I am stuck with the slowest charger (not worth to upgrade it IMHO).
4.) Bottom Shell Modification - video supplied by vendor.
5.) I'll see what I can do about getting more leafspy info, but I am just now familiarizing myself with it.
6.) Entire cost was $6500 (that includes all taxes, customs fees and shipping with lift gate drop off service). It took me a weekend to remove and tear down old battery, modify the shell, attach the mounting plate and lay down the new modules. I did a little work throughout the week which included lengthening one of the supplied BMS harnesses because it was too short and other general wiring. The second weekend was just installation and testing. I took my time since I have not done something like this before, but I am very familiar with building solar storage batteries and e-bike batteries.

Regarding the heater. I actually think those components can be reused. The old battery had metal plates at the end of the packs that are connected to a relay block connected to the junction block and BMS. I see no reason you couldn't keep all of that, but you need to figure out how to slip those metal plates between or at the ends of the modules. In hind sight, I am sure I could have done that but I didn't figure out the purpose of those parts until at the end of the build and I didn't feel like adding them in. Either way, the battery functions fine without error codes or anything like that. It would be interesting to know if the leaf tried to turn on heaters that weren't present; would throw up a code or not? Who knows, I have no way to test because it never freezes here.
 
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Thank you for this Simon! It shows one possible solution. I see the gasket has been glued down and drilled for bolts. Did you make that joint in the gasket? Did you do the pressure testing as described in the manual? Does it rain in Carlsbad? How do the aero covers go back on? Or don't they? How well labeled were the balance wire cables?

The spacers have me concerned because: typically when metal surfaces are bolted together the friction between the metal surfaces is a big part of the overall join strength. Consider replacing those spacers with lengths of square tube?

The high voltage cables really need to be properly secured for several reasons.
 
Keep in mind I have NOTHING do do with these, and my software does NOT support these kind of bruteforce upgrades. They seem to be lacking quite on the instrumentation/BMS management side, proceed with caution. Mechanically this might (and heavy emphasis on might), but software wise they are in my opinion a long way from complete.
 
Thanks for the caution, @Dala . Can you elaborate? Are you suspecting that the BMS will not handle the cells well, and that there is a danger there?
Is there a better way to get 40 to 50 kwh?
 
Thank you for this Simon! It shows one possible solution. I see the gasket has been glued down and drilled for bolts. Did you make that joint in the gasket? Did you do the pressure testing as described in the manual? Does it rain in Carlsbad? How do the aero covers go back on? Or don't they? How well labeled were the balance wire cables?

The spacers have me concerned because: typically when metal surfaces are bolted together the friction between the metal surfaces is a big part of the overall join strength. Consider replacing those spacers with lengths of square tube?

The high voltage cables really need to be properly secured for several reasons.
I did join the ends together there. Did not pressure test, maybe it would hold a few PSI. In a thermal event, that gasket isn't holding anything back, that is for sure. It's the only thing about this whole conversion I don't like. Is does rain here, but not much. After the two halves were joined together, I followed up on the upper and lower seams with more sealant and filled in any gaps I could find.

Good advice on the spacers, I will keep an eye on those to see if they loosen up over time. Also, the underbody panels fit back on perfectly.

The supplied BMS harnesses are very well labeled, and retains use of the original BMS. First reading from leafspy after installing battery showed a 17mV deviation, it was very well balanced; it sits consistently around 10mV deviation now. I am still driving it from the first charge. Supposedly I need to do a few full cycles for the computer to learn the true capacity, or so they say.
 
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Keep in mind I have NOTHING do do with these, and my software does NOT support these kind of bruteforce upgrades. They seem to be lacking quite on the instrumentation/BMS management side, proceed with caution. Mechanically this might (and heavy emphasis on might), but software wise they are in my opinion a long way from complete.
Good points to keep in mind. I would put this in the experimental category, and hopefully it can be improved upon in the future as the well dries up for leaf battery replacement options.

Also, I keep a respectable amount of caution...the car is not garaged. ;)
 
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Hi from Montreal thanks for sharing

Glad some companies are coming with a solution to our old batteries

My biggest concern would be charging/regen with lfp cell (if they are indeed lfp cells) in cold temp (old battery would click on heater at -14celsius if I remember correctly)

Meaning a gap between 0 celsius and -14 if heater is reused
 
Hi from Montreal thanks for sharing

Glad some companies are coming with a solution to our old batteries

My biggest concern would be charging/regen with lfp cell (if they are indeed lfp cells) in cold temp (old battery would click on heater at -14celsius if I remember correctly)

Meaning a gap between 0 celsius and -14 if heater is reused
Not lfp, they are nmc.
 
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