tkdbrusco
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Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:12 am

When we bought our leaf, the manager of the dealership seemed to think that in the future, there may be replacement batteries sold with increased range? 110 miles+. I looked at him with a sense of skepticism as I don't see how this would be a good business move for Nissan. My guess is that no matter what, they will only keep selling replacement batteries with the 84 miles of range that currently exists, although possibly the price will drop below $5500 over the years. Why would they offer someone an option to keep an older car when they'd rather just put you into a new model? What does everyone else think? Seems like there could be a few variables to consider which may effect this.

(1) What if the technology used in the existing leaf battery becomes too expense compared to newer tech? This might make it more cost effective if you sell batteries that have increased range instead.
(2) What if dealer lots are flooded in 3-5 years with lease returns that they simply can't move with 84 mile range (or less if degraded and not swapped by dealers) batteries. If you can buy a new leaf with 150 miles of range at that point, who is gonna buy a used one? They may have to up the range on replacement batteries to get them off the lots?
(3) Environmental concerns of unsellable used leafs after 3-5 years. If new models have significantly more range and nobody wants the old leafs, then there are some serious environmental concerns of a car that has been driven for 50-60K miles and basically being unsellable. Most gas cars are re-sold time and time again until close to 200K miles before being scrapped. The environmental waste that would entail a <100K life span on a car would be astounding if you had to junk it! Seems like that would defeat the purpose of driving an EV in the first place.
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bigrob90
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:31 am

tkdbrusco wrote:When we bought our leaf, the manager of the dealership seemed to think that in the future, there may be replacement batteries sold with increased range? 110 miles+. I looked at him with a sense of skepticism as I don't see how this would be a good business move for Nissan. My guess is that no matter what, they will only keep selling replacement batteries with the 84 miles of range that currently exists, although possibly the price will drop below $5500 over the years. Why would they offer someone an option to keep an older car when they'd rather just put you into a new model? What does everyone else think? Seems like there could be a few variables to consider which may effect this.

(1) What if the technology used in the existing leaf battery becomes too expense compared to newer tech? This might make it more cost effective if you sell batteries that have increased range instead.
(2) What if dealer lots are flooded in 3-5 years with lease returns that they simply can't move with 84 mile range (or less if degraded and not swapped by dealers) batteries. If you can buy a new leaf with 150 miles of range at that point, who is gonna buy a used one? They may have to up the range on replacement batteries to get them off the lots?
(3) Environmental concerns of unsellable used leafs after 3-5 years. If new models have significantly more range and nobody wants the old leafs, then there are some serious environmental concerns of a car that has been driven for 50-60K miles and basically being unsellable. Most gas cars are re-sold time and time again until close to 200K miles before being scrapped. The environmental waste that would entail a <100K life span on a car would be astounding if you had to junk it! Seems like that would defeat the purpose of driving an EV in the first place.
Good assessment. I think
1) is almost certain to happen. The batteries are getting better, and there is talk of supercapacitors and such as well.
2) Once the long range vehicles at affordable prices come out, the used market will go into the tank, and those cars will be bought by people who prefer to pay cash in full for cars but don't have the full amount for a new one, people with bad credit, and perhaps by people for dependent drivers specifically because of the restricted range.
3) I don't think it will be unsellable. There haven't been *that* many Leafs made, so there will be a price where people will buy. But that does not mean they will be sold at a profit.
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minispeed
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:25 am

tkdbrusco wrote:(2) What if dealer lots are flooded in 3-5 years with lease returns that they simply can't move with 84 mile range (or less if degraded and not swapped by dealers) batteries. If you can buy a new leaf with 150 miles of range at that point, who is gonna buy a used one? They may have to up the range on replacement batteries to get them off the lots?

I think this is possible, but it may only happen with Nissan certified pre-owned leafs. That would have a double edge effect of making the trade in value at Nissan dealers higher than what other dealers will offer and get more repeate business.

They could also make it available to existing customers but they would probably price it at a point that it wouldn't be affordable to do it just to increase the value of the car.

I also think no matter what the car could handle you'd see Nissan peg it at 80% of the next gen range. If that next gen is the 150 as expected that would be 120 in an old leaf, still 50% more than any other used leafs and still more than brand new BEV's from most other makes if Nissan could do that before 2nd gen i3, FFE (if we get one), Soul EV and Golf E come out. The only other brands on track to match or beat it that I know of are the Tesla model iii and rumoured Sonic EV.

PS, if Nissan doesn't do it I think someone else will, the big question then is do they stay in business and make money and is the product actually affordable and reliable.
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Nubo
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:47 am

There are already plenty of companies in the business of rebuilding battery packs for all kinds of uses -- often with better capacity than the original. Once there is a confluence of cheaper/better cells and a used EV fleet of sufficient size, the aftermarket will take care of this, guaranteed. Already happening for Toyota Prius, iirc.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

sredlin
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:20 am

Nubo wrote:There are already plenty of companies in the business of rebuilding battery packs for all kinds of uses -- often with better capacity than the original. Once there is a confluence of cheaper/better cells and a used EV fleet of sufficient size, the aftermarket will take care of this, guaranteed. Already happening for Toyota Prius, iirc.
I would expect an emerging after market battery industry for the Nissan Leaf is just around the corner as the 2011 models start aging out of their battery warranties and range starts to become a problem for people. I have 30k on my 2011 and range is still okay for my 30 mile round trip, mostly freeway commute, but it may become an issue in a couple more years? And if a 150 mile range replacement battery is available at that time for significantly less cost than a new Nissan Leaf or other similar EV, I would consider just replacing the battery instead of trying to sell or trade in the car for peanuts.

minispeed
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:26 am

Nubo wrote:There are already plenty of companies in the business of rebuilding battery packs for all kinds of uses -- often with better capacity than the original. Once there is a confluence of cheaper/better cells and a used EV fleet of sufficient size, the aftermarket will take care of this, guaranteed. Already happening for Toyota Prius, iirc.

Yes but look at the shipping cost for the Prii battery, or Honda hybrid battery vs a complete upgraded leaf battery, also 2 way shipping for core returns.

I have no doubt that the aftermarket will get in the original cell business bringing packs back up to around 84 miles. Someone will probably try to market an upgraded battery, but to actually replace a whole battery with one of larger capacity and make the business work? Maybe they'll make it work for a short while in a good used leaf market but national? The leaf cannot be driven far to get the work done at a specialty shop like you could in the insight or a prius, especially once you need a battery.

There were plenty of plug in prius battery conversions that I read about in 2011ish. I don't think any of them are still in business now. You can't compete putting $6000-10000 in a used car with the cheap cost of just leasing a new car.
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bbrowncods
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:55 pm

Replacing a battery pack or putting new cells in it, is akin to putting a new engine/transmission into a ICE car for an owner. There will be a demand for new/used batteries but most owners of new cars will have the option of trading for new again. So most battery pack replacements outside of warranties will occur in the used car market. I can see a "we finance here/pay here" dealer buying a Leaf with 4-5-6-7 bars of battery loss and putting a used/near new/new battery in it, and selling for a profit.

For a owner to go into a Nissan dealer and buy a new battery for $6-7K to put into their 7 year old car, when that amount will put a good dent into a new car or lease, I just don't see it happening a lot.

I think most Leafs will be driven/sold/auctioned until the battery is done and then they will go to the junkyard. For those cars that are in great shape, they will be bought by a used car lot for very little, and given new life with a used battery and sold for $500 down/$66 a week payment plan. Which is what happens to ICE cars.
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Nubo
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:48 pm

minispeed wrote:
Nubo wrote:There are already plenty of companies in the business of rebuilding battery packs for all kinds of uses -- often with better capacity than the original. Once there is a confluence of cheaper/better cells and a used EV fleet of sufficient size, the aftermarket will take care of this, guaranteed. Already happening for Toyota Prius, iirc.
...
There were plenty of plug in prius battery conversions that I read about in 2011ish. I don't think any of them are still in business now. You can't compete putting $6000-10000 in a used car with the cheap cost of just leasing a new car.
Yes, but I think you could compete putting $4000 in a cheap used EV, giving it twice its original range. It's all a matter of if/when batteries advance enough for a rejuvenation to make economic sense.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

dhanson865
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:39 pm

Nubo wrote:There are already plenty of companies in the business of rebuilding battery packs for all kinds of uses -- often with better capacity than the original. Once there is a confluence of cheaper/better cells and a used EV fleet of sufficient size, the aftermarket will take care of this, guaranteed. Already happening for Toyota Prius, iirc.
I've got a 2005 Prius with 120,000 miles on it and I haven't changed the battery pack. If there is a higher capacity pack available for a reasonable cost I haven't heard of it.

There have been extension/add on packs but they have always been dubious quality and I think the most popular one went out of business. Even if not their prices were too high for me to consider.

I know there are companies that used to rebuild the Gen I packs with Gen II cells, and there are companies rebuilding Gen II packs with Gen III cells but none of these that I've seen promise better range or better MPG. They are just harvesting packs from totaled cars.

I've seen cheaper rebuilt packs but not higher capacity packs. But then as low density as the Prius pack is there is insane room for improvement.

My God, can you imagine if Tesla after the Gigafactory was fully ramped started selling higher capacity packs for Leaf and Prius owners to do upgrades with?

But no I haven't seen anything like that now. My 2005 Prius is still rocking the factory pack from 10 years ago and has no expectation of an upgrade in the next few years.
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Slow1
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Re: Replacement batteries offered with increased range?

Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:04 pm

bbrowncods wrote:Replacing a battery pack or putting new cells in it, is akin to putting a new engine/transmission into a ICE car for an owner.
At the moment the cost puts these evens into comparison territory, but I don't see how you can compare replacing engine/transmission (something that you are unlikely to do even driving a car 10-15 years and 200k+ miles) with replacing the battery which seems almost certain to be desirable within 10 years. It isn't like the engine gradually loses range until you can't get to work either...

I'm hopeful they get the battery prices down so it is far more reasonable - if not I could see some very inexpensive used BEVs with rather limited range in a few years.... Even the current $5-6k replacement is only marginally acceptable (5-10c/mile depending on if you get 50 or 100K miles before replacement).
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