Nissan spills the details on the LEAF PLUS

The new Nissan LEAF PLUS.

After some earlier apparent public relations delays, the company has now released new details on the widely expected LEAF PLUS and its 62 kWh battery.

The new range estimate is 226 miles up from the previous 150. The new PLUS (to be known as the e+ in other markets) begins deliveries in the US within the next 3 months.

The new PLUS emblem on the back of the car.

The new battery pack is an enlarged capacity version of the previous 40 kWh pack using similar but different cells that are more energy dense.

Nissan executives say the PLUS pack is made by Nissan’s in-house battery company, AESC. They also seemed to say that the cells are made by AESC rather than by LG as was long rumored but there are conflicting reports. Electric Revs is seeking clarification from Nissan.

Update: Nissan denies reports, rumors that LG is a cell supplier for the LEAF battery

The pack is slightly taller (apparently by 5 mm) and one Nissan executive said it weighs 140 kg more. As before, the pack is completely passively thermally managed with no liquid-cooling or even forced air cooling.

The previous 40 kWh pack contained 192 pouch cells in parallel groups of 2 with 96 cell groups wired in series. The new 62 kWh pack has 50 percent more cells for a total of 288 cells in groups of 3 thus still with 96 cell groups wired in series.

Nissan officials said the new LEAF PLUS can charge on CHAdeMO at a peak rate of near 100 kW but did not provide details on how and when the pack ramps down the rate as it charges. They did say it can charge from near empty to 80 percent in 45 minutes.

Motor output power is now 160 kW (214 HP) from 110kW (147 HP) and torque is rated at 340 Nm (250 pound feet).

Otherwise, the new PLUS is largely unchanged from the previous 40 kWh model except for an updated 8 inch center display. Under the hood there is also an updated motor power inverter.

There is no word on pricing yet.

The original Nissan LEAF was first delivered in December 2010 alongside the Chevrolet Volt as the first two cars to use the modern J1772 charging connector.

The two cars had an obvious difference: the LEAF was all-electric and the Volt was a plug-in hybrid containing a gasoline range extending engine. The two cars also contained another notable difference.

The LEAF’s 24 kWh battery pack was sealed and did not even contain an internal fan to help evenly distribute heat among the battery cells.

At the opposite extreme, the Volt’s 16 kWh pack had extensive liquid cooling with dozens of thin aluminum plates containing coolant channels that made full physical contact with the side of the pouch cells in the pack. Most other automakers also used liquid or air-based active cooling.

History records that many LEAF batteries had energy capacity and driving range losses that exceeded that of the Volt and other later battery electric competitors.

Beginning in 2014, the company began selling a conversion of its small nv200 commercial van based on the the LEAF powertrain that added active fan-driven internal air cooling to the battery pack. Yet, this improvement to the e-nv200 pack was never integrated back into the LEAF perhaps for space or packaging reasons.

In 2015, Nissan announced an upgraded “lizard” pack that was said to have cells that were redesigned to be more heat tolerant. Owners, especially in hotter climates like the southwestern US continued to see what they felt was excessive degradation.

In 2016 the company introduced a larger 30 kWh pack and in 2018 Nissan introduced a 40 kWh pack. All of these packs used the same exterior pack size and shape and th

In 2017, GM delivered their first Bolt EV with a 60 kWh pack and a driving range of 238 miles.

Meanwhile, the LEAF’s 2018 model also received a refreshed front and rear body design but the central portion of the car frame where the pack fits under the floor remained compatible with the long-standing pack dimensions and was largely unchanged.

The 2018 LEAF was the subject of a “RapidGate” scandal as owners noted that the pack was notably more prone to heat up quickly during charging or hard driving. In addition, the 2018 was notably quicker to slow down the DC charging rate to mitigate further hearing of the pack. A recent software update reportedly has relaxed the throttling of the charge rate somewhat.

It remains to be seen how the new PLUS pack will handle battery heat issues.

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11 replies

  1. How sure are you that the 62 kwh pack is still AESC?

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    • No, because Electrek quotes a Nissan exec by name as saying the cells are from LG.

      On the other hand, Forbes got the same impression I did that the cells are from AESC. Industry news site Wards Auto says the “pack” is from AESC but avoids saying anything specific about the cells.

      I’m seeking clarification from Nissan today.

      Like

  2. Jeff,
    looks like fred @Electrek is reporting the cells are made by Nissan
    https://electrek.co/2019/01/08/nissan-leaf-plus-62kwh/

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  3. Ooops Jeff I meant Electrec is reporting cells made by LG.

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  4. Thanks Jeff for a well written article where the subtleties are not overlooked. TeslaBjorn has tested the 40kw-hr pack in Norway and reports that the throttling of charge has been reduced (as you noted in your story) but provides a chart showing rate vs time. While charge rate never exceeds 50kw, there is significant added charge rate across the charge time interval. It appears that Nissan has enough data on battery degradation that perhaps they have become slightly less conservative in their charge rates and will accept slightly more battery pack degradation over the life of the pack (8 year warranty). As a consumer, I would hope that Nissan would add active battery pack cooling in future models as that is a more robust engineering solution to the problem of pack overheating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s going to be interesting to see how fast the battery heats up when charging at 70+ kW in the new 62 kWh LEAF.

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      • Exactly. In your story, you state that the battery can be charged from “near empty” to 80% in 45 minutes. Assume “near empty” is 5%, then 75% of 62 kw-hr added charge divided by 0.75 hour is equal to a 62 kw average charge rate over the 45 minutes. Yes, we can expect some portion of the charge interval to exceed 62 kw, so 70+ kw is well within the ballpark of peak charge rates.

        I remain hopeful that Nissan has come up with a real solution for pack temperature control and isn’t using “band-aid” engineering to compensate. I was really impressed with the new Nissan 40kw-hr Leaf when it came out, especially e-pedal high regeneration driving. It also handled well on two lane twisty rural roads. An excellent vehicle that may be held back by timidity in the battery pack thermal control design.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nissan says the new LEAF PLUS has a peak charging rate near 100 kW although it obviously ramps down as the battery fills up and the average rate is often more like 70 kW.

        Of course, there are essentially no CHAdeMO chargers available right now that will allow for 100 kW peak charging. That requires a charger than can provide nearly 300A and those likely require a liquid-cooled cable and none of those are available from suppliers yet for CHAdeMO. There are 200A cables and connectors and that should allow a peak of around 70 kW.

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