An early model Nissan Leaf has been given a new lease of life with a battery upgrade for a fraction of the price it would cost if done by Nissan.
The 2011 Nissan Leaf came with a 24kWh battery, and even when new had a very modest driving range of 117km based on the US EPA ratings.
But after nine years of use, this particular Nissan Leaf’s maximum range had degraded to around 100km, prompting owner Daniel Öster to undertake an upgrade using a 30kWh battery from a 2017 Nissan Leaf.
Battery upgrades can be an expensive endeavour, but by salvaging parts and reselling the old 24kWh battery for second-life storage purposes, Öster says his DIY upgrade left him a little more than €2,100 out of pocket.
Sharing his DIY Leaf battery upgrade on Youtube (you can see it in full at the end of this video), Öster cautions that such a project should only be undertaken with knowledge of safety practices around high voltage systems, and points out the Class 0 high voltage gloves he wears when handling the electronics.
“Always check your local legislation for what certifications are required when handling high voltage (the bright orange bits!). Failure to comply with safety standards could result in serious injury/death. And nobody wants that!” he notes on Youtube.
The video describes the general process he undertakes to replace the battery (Öster also notes this is not a step-by-step tutorial), including reusing 36-pin B24 connector and heater dummy plug.
However this also means more wiring and more potential failure points – he advises if you want to avoid this, it is better to buy them new.
Importantly, the video shows that old Leafs that are suffering from diminishing range can be rejuvenated with a new battery at low cost.
According to Öster, a breakdown of the project costs included the 30kWh battery from 2017 Leaf for 3472€ ($A4,054), and a CAN-bridge with battery upgrade softwarefor 450€ ($A728).
As mentioned, the salvaged 36-pin B24 connector and HV Heater dummy plug were free, as was his labour since it was a DIY project.
Öster says he got 1800€ – nearly $A3,000 – for the old 24kWh pack, bringing the toal project costs to a little more than €2,122 (about $A3480).
Not bad considering that Leaf owners in Australia have reported a new 24kWh battery costs in the vicinity of $A10,000, even before before installation.
After upgrading the battery, Öster says that even when 70% full the Leaf is already showing 136km and he expects the full driving range to be around 170-180km (the EPA rates the 2017 Leaf with 172km driving range).
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.