coleafrado
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:58 pm

POLL: Would you pay $10k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:08 pm

[Updated June 2020 with recent prices]

Please read this before replying: viewtopic.php?p=585115#p585115

I'm looking to quantitatively understand how much people on this forum love their LEAFs :D

A simple yay or nay to the title question would be highly informative to the (several) companies operating in this space. This isn't necessarily a product that will actually happen, but more of a thought experiment; don't get your hopes up.

Here are the theoretical details:
  • 70 kWh nominal capacity; about 67 kWh usable from high-quality LG/Panasonic cells only. A driver getting 4mi/kWh would get around 250 miles of range at 55mph on a flat road with the AC running.
  • The battery would be actively cooled and heated. Temperatures would be regulated between 25-40 degrees C at all times, so "Rapidgate" would no longer be a concern even on >1000 mile road trips. Cooling would continue as necessary even after the car is powered off.
  • Upgraded battery would likely enable safe CHAdeMO DCFC at 50 kW until 80% SoC. Essentially, this means 200 mph charging for the first hour.
  • Expected minimum lifetime until >80% SoH (>210 miles range): around 140,000 miles on the new battery. For the average American driver, this would be about 9 years of ownership after the upgraded battery's installation date.
  • No intrusion into the passenger cabin or trunk and no suspension modifications would be needed. Added weight would be about that of an extra passenger, so the handling should be very similar.
  • No change to vehicle structure or aerodynamics; the original battery enclosure or a similar steel shell would be used to house the new battery.
  • Range meter and capacity bars would be recalibrated to the new battery and adjust to its health as time goes on. 80% charging limits, turtle mode, and other warnings/protections/features would be unchanged vs the original.
Here's the theoretical fine print:
  • $14k (US) would be the approximate starting price (including installation) before delivery, trade-in discounts, shipping or sales tax.
  • You would be given the option to sell your original battery for a rebate between $2k-6k depending on usable capacity and market conditions. Those cells would be repurposed or recycled in an environmentally friendly way. $3k is an estimated typical battery return discount.
  • These prices are estimates based on the US market. In Europe, VAT and inspections could make this upgrade cost between 25k-35k euros.
  • 70 kWh would be the only battery capacity available. Nothing less and nothing more makes economic or engineering sense.
  • The battery could only be installed in first-generation LEAFs, i.e. 2011-2017 model years.
  • The purchase would have to be paid in cash in advance of installation or financed through your own bank. No leasing model.
  • Only a limited defect warranty, on the order of 1-3 years, could be included. If you got stranded, you'll still need to be towed. There's no budget for "LEAF Rangers" at this price or scale.
  • It is unlikely Nissan would want to service this battery, but local hybrid/EV shops might be able to help.
  • Your LEAF would need to be delivered to the installation facility and shipped home; driving it back yourself would also be an option.
  • Installation could take up to one week.
More theoretical fine print:
  • You would be responsible for maintaining coolant levels in the car. This is one more reservoir under the hood you'll have to top up with antifreeze/water once a year or so. The temperature warning light and turtle/limp mode would be engaged to prevent overheating if a failure/leak occurred.
  • Your cabin air conditioning would be slightly slower-acting. The hardware required to avoid this would raise the price by $3-6k per car.
  • Unless provided or sanctioned by Nissan, this upgrade would definitely void your original battery warranty if not the entire car's. This should be no surprise.
  • No guarantee as to the resale value of the car. It may suddenly have more utility than a Bolt EV, but that doesn't mean people will want to pay $25k for it on the used market. It still looks like and is likely to be insured for the value of a first-gen LEAF.
  • No upgrade to the onboard charger would be included or guaranteed to be available. A 70 kWh battery would take nearly two full days to charge on L1 and an entire day on 3.3 kW L2.
  • No CCS/SAE upgrade would be included or possible at this price. If your car does not already have working CHAdeMO hardware, adding it will not be included either.
As a basic point of reference, here are some typical prices and nominal capacities for new and used EVs available in real quantities today. Whether it is relevant or meaningful to compare these is up to you.
2019 Tesla Model 3 LR (80 kWh): $48,000
2019 Tesla Model 3 SR+ (55 kWh): $39,500
2020 Chevrolet Bolt (66 kWh): $38,000
2019 Leaf Plus (62 kWh): $37,500
2019 Chevrolet Bolt (60 kWh): $32,000
2015 Tesla Model S (85 kWh): ~$39,000 used
2017 Chevrolet Bolt (60 kWh): $22,000 used
2018 Nissan Leaf (40 kWh): ~$21,000 used
2017 Nissan Leaf (30 kWh): ~$16,500 used
2015 Nissan Leaf (24 kWh): ~$10,500 used
2011/12 Nissan Leaf (24 kWh): ~$5,000 used

Happy to discuss, but please try to keep comments in this thread for posterity.
Last edited by coleafrado on Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:38 am, edited 7 times in total.

cwerdna
Posts: 10595
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:31 pm
Delivery Date: 28 Jul 2013
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:18 pm

No.
coleafrado wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:08 pm
As a basic point of reference, here are some typical prices and nominal capacities for new and used EVs available in real quantities today. Whether it is relevant or meaningful to compare these is up to you.
...
2019 Chevrolet Bolt (65 kWh?): $38,000
...
2017 Chevrolet Bolt (60 kWh): $22,000 used
'17 to '19 Bolt are 60 kWh. '20 will be 66 kWh.

Here are some current prices from the dealer I bought my Bolt from: https://www.chevroletoffremont.com/Vehi ... rice%7Casc. These actually aren't great deals given that the GM EV/PHEV tax credit is now only $1875. Earlier this year, this same dealer was openly advertising a base LT MSRP of $37,495 for $25,495. This was before $3750 Federal tax credit and $2500 CVRP (https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/eligible-vehicles, if you qualify. I don't.) and before any utility rebates ($800 for me:https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/s ... icles.page).

For future reference, they currently have an MSRP $38,655 LT for $31,032 and an MSRP $42,760 Premier for $32,917 + 24 other Bolts.

The most expensive one I see is a Premier (higher trim of the two that exist) MSRP $44,130 for $34,170. It has DC FC inlet, $395 extra for the red color, infotainment package and driver confidence II. This is identical to mine except mine isn't red and thus doesn't have any extra charge for paint color. This is about as fully loaded as you can get short of crap like all weather floor mats, cargo organizer or black bowtie logos.

Used '17 Bolts are less than $22K now. I'd imagine the prices will come down when the '17s come off their 3 year leases and their CA HOV stickers expire. Bolt began shipping in mid-Dec 2016.

'19 Bolt Premier
'13 Leaf SV w/premium package (owned)
'13 Leaf SV w/QC + LED & premium packages (lease over, car returned)

Please don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 14898
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:45 pm

Rather than conjure up a complex battery with exact specifications and a price, maybe it would be more useful to determine what people want in each of those categories, and what they are willing to pay or sacrifice to get them. My suggestion would be a modular battery with thermal management that could be anywhere from 30kwh to 90kwh, depending on number of modules. The price could range from less than $15k to more than $30k.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

coleafrado
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:58 pm

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:37 pm

cwerdna wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:18 pm
'17 to '19 Bolt are 60 kWh. '20 will be 66 kWh.
Thanks, corrected!

Cheap Bolts are indeed quite compelling, but there's still a ~$6k difference in price vs. upgrading a LEAF.
LeftieBiker wrote: My suggestion would be a modular battery with thermal management that could be anywhere from 30kwh to 90kwh, depending on number of modules. The price could range from less than $15k to more than $30k.
Modularity is unfortunately not zero-cost. The additional revenue from a slightly expanded market is inevitably swamped by the development costs, especially with a battery as strangely shaped as the LEAF's. It's incredibly difficult to have all three of high energy density, easy reconfiguration, and safe/efficient wiring and plumbing.

As for smaller capacities, any battery below about 50 kWh will show serious degradation (even with cooling) long before the 150,000 mile mark. If one only desires 150 miles of range, it makes more sense to buy a 2018 LEAF or pay to retrofit a salvage 2018 battery (and hope either one has ten years of life left). One would only save a couple thousand dollars versus the notional pack posed above, but would have far fewer miles of range available per charge.

Fenix Power has specifically set out to address the modular battery market, and they have an intriguing strategy that absorbs the cost of any potential customization into the dev cost of a single serviceable modular pack. I hope they succeed! This notional battery is aimed at a slightly different segment - people who like their LEAF a lot, want to keep it long-term, and are willing to pay the price to no longer rely on a gas car. The ecological argument against having to produce an entire additional vehicle is also quite sound... but that's unfortunately not something Americans have ever prioritized.

As for batteries in the 90 kWh range, it simply isn't possible with current chemistry. You can just about cram 75 kWh of the best cells on the market into the original pack, but that leaves zero space for liquid or even air cooling - so you'll eventually overheat and rapidgate just like the Leaf Plus. Fenix has (publicly) said a few times that 38 kWh is the maximum capacity of their modular battery... I'd take their word for it.

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 14898
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:54 pm

I wasn't thinking of a battery for the Leaf only. Now that I understand that you are focusing on this car only, I'd suggest whatever capacity battery will fit into the space without a huge premium being paid for a few extra KWHs.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

coleafrado
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:58 pm

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:56 pm

cwerdna wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:18 pm
No.
Thank you for this answer - I should clarify that I'm not trying to sell these packs. When the answer is "no", that's an incredibly valuable data point.

My guess is that most people would flip to saying "yes" to an upgrade of this magnitude around the $10-12k threshold. It's just that there's no way for a small company to make money or even break even on dev cost for a 200+ mile replacement battery at those prices while cell-level cost is still above $100/kWh.
LeftieBiker wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:54 pm
I wasn't thinking of a battery for the Leaf only. Now that I understand that you are focusing on this car only, I'd suggest whatever capacity battery will fit into the space without a huge premium being paid for a few extra KWHs.
I've focused on the LEAF for a few reasons: it's the only one I have personal experience with, it's the only "real BEV" cheap enough for an everyday person to buy into, and it's the only relevant major EV of the past decade (and today) that's offered with such a tiny, short-lived battery. In other words, it's the only one on the market for which it's (even slightly possibly) worthwhile to develop a battery upgrade. The market for non-OEM battery replacements once GM/Nissan/etc. get their battery sizing in order is likely to be miniscule.

As for the premium on extra capacity, the incremental difference in material cost between each level of 40/50/60/70 kWh is only about $1300 (or $130/kWh). A 40 kWh pack would not be half the price of a 60 kWh pack, it'd be closer to 70%. Most people, from what I've seen on this forum, would rather pay a bit more to get the most range possible - and those are the consumers a company in this segment has to target starting out.
Last edited by coleafrado on Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

alozzy
Posts: 1498
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:25 pm
Delivery Date: 18 Jan 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Contact: Website

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:31 am

No, I'm pretty sure ;)

My main concern with investing that much to upgrade the battery is with component failures on the rest of the car. Some of the components/parts of the LEAF are incredibly expensive to repair, so having $17K tied up in the car would make me feel compelled to eat any ripoff repair cost. Having said that, I would definitely tackle some repairs by myself, but I wouldn't touch any of the high voltage components, except perhaps the PTC heater.

Without the battery upgrade, I would consider repairs of up to 40% of the value of the car - anything more and I would sell the battery pack, scrap the rest of the car, and look for a newer (but used) EV.
Vancouver, CA owner of a 2013 Ocean Blue SV + QC, purchased 01/2017 in WA
Zencar 12/20/24/30A L1/L2 portable EVSE
1-1/4" Curt #11396 hitch
After market, DIY LED DRLs
LeafSpy Pro + Konnwei KW902 ELM327 BT OBDII dongle
Loving my first BEV :D

LeftieBiker
Moderator
Posts: 14898
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2018
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:34 am

Most people, from what I've seen on this forum, would rather pay a bit more to get the most range possible - and those are the consumers a company in this segment has to target starting out.

Keep in mind that with BEV choices expanding rapidly, people will only retrofit their Leaf if it makes at least some financial sense. An extra 3-5$k for maximum range might seem fair (and might be fair) but it could also drive away a substantial portion of the already small potential market. The current fantasy is to have the 40wkh battery in the Gen I Leaf; if 38kwh is reasonable and 45+kwh is much more expensive, I'd suggest offering the best price rather than the most possible range.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
BAFX OBDII Dongle
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

powersurge
Posts: 1742
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:24 am
Delivery Date: 06 Dec 2014
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:37 am

That is a tough question... Although I love my Leaf, I would never just "pull out" my good battery in order to do an upgrade. I think most people would only replace their battery when the original is toast. BUT at that point, the car would be older, and as someone else stated, other systems would be in danger of failing, plus the car's value would be very low. Like renovating a $100K house with $500K worth of upgrades.

I think the sweet spot on Leaf replacement batteries is to keep them at the 20-30 KWH range, and offer replacements for $3-5,000. Anyone that wants a 60-70 KWH battery and high range will wait until they can buy a new car that has that.

I think the real battery replacement market is to keep all of the existing Leafs alive and working. Although today, the push is to increase EV range to the 300 mile level, I think that most current Leaf owners are happy with the Gen 1 size battery. The real issue is to keep that car rolling as long as possible with a modestly priced "original size" battery. I could easily see myself being happy to drive my Leaf 200,000 miles on a 24 KWH battery. If the replacement price of the battery was in the sub $6000 range.

johnlocke
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:47 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Dec 2015
Leaf Number: 300582

Re: POLL: Would you pay $17k to install a 70 kWh active-cooled battery in your 2010-2017 LEAF?

Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:55 am

$17K to replace the battery even if it's 70KWH is just too much. You still end up with an older Leaf with old electronics. Value with a new battery might jump from $10K to $17K but you are never going to recover the cost. $17K is a whopping down payment on a used Tesla or almost full boat on a used Bolt. By the time you get to market, used Model 3's are going to start showing up. A 3 year old model 3 might go for $25K at a guess. It might be a deal if you could find an old Leaf for $3-5K and replace the battery.
2016 SV, New battery at 45K mi.
Jamul, CA
San Diego East County

Return to “General / Main Owners Forum”