The Nissan Leaf is currently the best-selling electric car in the world. Since its inception, the EV has been powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Early versions of the car had a 24 kWh battery, whereas 2016 and up models have a 30 kWh version. A recent study claims the 30 kWh battery degrades three times faster than the 24 kWh variant.
Although the study has not yet been peer reviewed, it has sparked interest throughout the electric vehicle community. Key findings indicate that, after two years of age, the 30 kWh battery declined an average of 9.9% percent annually. By comparison, the 24 kWh battery declined 3.1% annually. The study concludes by saying the degradation rate of the 30 kWh is too rapid to be considered normal.
Shortly after the study was released, Nissan’s EV communications manager, Jeff Wandell, responded.
“Nissan is aware that a limited number of customers have expressed concerns with the previous generation of the Nissan Leaf 30 kWh battery. Leaf owners are some of our most devoted customers. We take their concerns seriously, and have technical experts currently investigating the issues raised.”
Nissan has struggled with Leaf battery issues in the past. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the automaker for decreased battery capacity in 2011-2012 Leaf models. Some theorize the issues are due to the fact Leaf batteries are air cooled, instead of liquid cooled. Most other EVs use liquid cooling.
2018 Nissan Leaf has all-new battery design
You’ll note, in his statement, Wandell referred to the 30 kWh battery as the “previous generation”. That’s because the brand-new, 2018 Nissan Leaf has a 40 KWh battery pack. So far, this new pack has received nothing but praise. Its robust design gives the car a range of up to 150 miles. In addition, fast charging can get it up to an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes.
Whether or not the latest battery will eventually have performance issues has yet to be seen. Right now, the jury is still on the older 30 kWh battery as well. The study faulting this battery will need to be verified before it can be taken at face value.