By on January 25, 2011

With worrying news breaking recently about Nissan’s slow rollout of its Leaf EV, Toshiharu Sakai, a senior VP at the Japanese automaker reassures the Nikkei that

We initially planned to produce 10,000 this fiscal year, and we can meet (this target) by the end of March.

Sakai insists that the Leaf’s production has not been interrupted, and that the Oppama plant would produce 3,000 units in February before ramping up to its capacity production of about 4,000 units by March. Leaf production at Nissan’s Smyrna, TN plant will begin late next year, and will produce as many as 150k units per year (and 200k battery packs per year), while Nissan’s Sunderland, UK plant will be producing another 50k Leafs and 60k battery packs annually starting in 2013. All told, Nissan will have about 250k units of Leaf production when the Sunderland plant reaches full volume, which puts it on track to a commanding lead in global EV production… now it just needs the market to start demanding that many cars. Meanwhile, a minor issue with the Leaf’s ownership experience has raised its head and deserves a little attention.

In his NYT review of the Leaf, Jerry Garret writes

After charging overnight in my garage on a conventional 110-volt household circuit, the Leaf’s meter never showed more than 88 miles of possible range; once, it promised as little as 66 miles. Nissan specifies a 21-hour recharge time using house current…

…The most readily available source of replenishment for the battery — and kindest to the battery pack — is a standard household plug. But fully recharging a Leaf that way takes a painfully long 21 hours, according to the specifications provided by Nissan…

…Like the batteries in a laptop computer, which use similar chemistry, the Leaf’s lithium-ion cells will lose some capacity over time. Nissan calculates that the Leaf’s battery pack, which carries an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, will lose 20 percent (30 percent, if fast-charging is used often) of its power over the next decade of use.

Twenty-one hours is a long time to fully charge up a car on battery-friendly 110v power, and yet taking that time to charge is the key to saving some ten percent of the battery’s life after ten years? You’ll want to plug that number into your cost-of-ownership spreadsheet… or better yet, if you must have an EV, just lease the damn thing. That way you won’t have to worry about battery degradation at all, and you’ll be free to fast-charge your Leaf to your heart’s content.

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22 Comments on “Nissan: Leaf It To Us!...”


  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Elon Musk and others have promised that in less than 10 years battery packs will better and cheaper.
    Why worry about 10% degradation over those 10 years?  You’re going to want to throw the battery pack out and get a new & nifty one with twice the range anyway.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Just as the discussion that GM thinking they can move 120K Volts by 2013 is off base, Nissan is even more insane if they think they’ll be selling 1/4 million Leaf’s a year by 2013.

    The other thing troubling for the Leaf is as indicated above; what I read in the blog universe and fringe press from Volt owners/operators is praise. Heaps and heaps of praise.

    I’m reading a lot of gripes from the handful of people who have had a Leaf for more than a one day press event.

    Nissan has a good head start to get this right (or fixed) but that window is going to close fast.  The Fiat’s are coming!  The Fiat’s are coming!

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Which was my main concern when the cheers of “Leaf wins the electric car war” were being called out here (and on other websites) last year and all sorts of praise was being heaped on Nissan because the initial production run was spoken for even though Nissan never let anyone leave the parking lot during their very scripted and very controlled “test drives”. There was a reason Nissan was playing their cards so close to their vest. First, by “spoken for”, Nissan meant that prospective customers put their name on a list sight unseen; I don’t even think any money changed hands. Now that we’re getting close to time put sign on the dotted line we’re hearing that people are opting out because of charging requirements and other issues.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      From Leaf site tracking, Nissan hasn’t confirmed delivery of even 100 of these cars yet. I think the last number was less than 60 confirmed deliveries. The word from people who ordered on Day 1 is that Nissan hasn’t even delivered all of those cars.

      But they’re now producing 3000 – 4000 per month?

      Where are the cars?

      If Nissan actually had 20,000 preorders, how come the production doesn’t square with delivery at all?

    • 0 avatar
      SkiD666

      SVX – Nissan has to fulfill Japanese orders before their March rebate expires – the US will only get a few of those 7,000.

      Funnily enough, winter will be ‘over’ by the time Nissan ships out a lot of Leaf’s and the cold will no longer affect battery life and create bad press.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      That’s Nissan corpspeak and I don’t buy it, because the numbers don’t work.

      Nissan has 6k japanese orders to fill – which, at 3k/month would be 2 months production & delivery in Japan – which means that every car produced to date would have been available for US delivery.

      Even if the Leaf were at 2k/mos production rate, to meet the 20k preorder number, with 1.5 months since Dec 11′s first delivery, you’d expect hundreds if not thousands of Leaf cars on the road.

      Similarly, if production ramped up from 3k to 4k, then Day 1 people should be seeing their delivery dates hold, not pushed back.

      That’s not the case.

      Nissan’s covering up here, because their claimed production numbers are far too high for the number of cars which have actually delivered.

      I can’t wait for the January sales numbers, to see some facts here.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I was just on nissanusa.com and you cannot build a Leaf nor can you get an actual quote. Your options are “Explore”, “Register to Purchase” and “Sign Up for E-mail”. At least you can tinker with the Volt, even if there aren’t any in my area. I wonder what nationwide stock looks like on either.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Does Nissan say 110v charging gives longer battery life than 240v?

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      I haven’t seen anywhere that Nissan claims 120v charging gives better battery life than 240v. 240v should be slightly more efficient (energy stored in battery / energy consumed from the wall) than 120v, and even the 240v charge is very gentle to the battery (3.3kw / 24 kwh = 0.15C).

      ***

      Perhaps no surprise that the NYT auto experts got it wrong. TTAC can and should do better.
       
      Nissan claims 70% original capacity after 10 years when fast charging (DC level 3, or 480V 30 minute charge to 80%) is used extensively. The 80% original capacity after 10 years is when only level 1 (AC 120v, 20+ hours) and level 2 (AC 240v, 8+ hours) are used.
      http://www.hybridcars.com/news/13-key-questions-and-answers-about-nissan-leaf-battery-pack-and-ordering-28007.html
       
      Nissan recommends that a 240v charger be installed as the typical charging service, and the 120v onboard charger be used only for emergency or opportunity charging. There was either a failure of communication on Nissan’s part or a (willful?) failure of understanding if this journalist believes 120v charging is the intended daily charging solution.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    This is news?  I’ve known for years that if you’re serious about owning an EV you put a 220V outlet in your garage, and  batteries degrade over time, especially when quick charged.  And I’m no auto journalist, just a schlub who reads TTAC.
     
     

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Boy, there sure are lots of delusional people at the top of the auto industry management chains. Porsche boss thinking made-in-China Porsches would be accepted, GM management thinking they’d sell hundreds of thousands of $40k compacts anytime soon, and now Nissan. Wonder what it takes to get the job anyway?

    When more people started to own EVs, these issues (long charging time, battery degradation over time, etc.) will become widespread. That will make more people avoid buying EVs, which is non-conductive to those EVs becoming more popular. That’s a catch-22…
     

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Go back and reread the TTAC story about 120K Volts.
       
      GM NEVER said that.
       
      TTAC speculated that in the story, GM’s target is 60K units in 2013, right from the same TTAC story.  Journalistically this was irresponsible of TTAC, now their speculation has turned into, “GM said,” in the mind of the readers.  I read it on the internet, it has to be true.

    • 0 avatar

      Holden: With respect, take your concern for Journalistic Responsibility to Bloomberg and its ” two people familiar with the matter.” They wrote the headline, we asked the question. Please stop shooting the messenger.

  • avatar

    Twenty-one hours is a long time to fully charge up a car on battery-friendly 110v power, and yet taking that time to charge is the key to saving some ten percent of the battery’s life after ten years?

    FUD or just ignorance ?

    All that Nissan says is don’t repeatedly use quick charge (QC) i.e. 30 minute charging. Infact Nissan says the 110V charging is for emergancies – and asks everyone to use the 220V charger using which you can charge the car in 30 seconds. 15 seconds to plug it in at night and 15 seconds to remove the plug in the morning ;-)

  • avatar

    Meet the first family to own the Nissan Leaf in Texas: http://fb.me/NudpgXCz

  • avatar
    polpo

    I saw a brand new Leaf in a parking lot in Cupertino, CA last week, and it was an actual privately-owned car as far as I could tell, not a dealer or manufacturer demo. It had the plates from the local dealer and the DMV paperwork sticker in the corner of the window. I should have stuck around to talk to the driver, and hear if it really does make that goofy UFO sound in real life… Also, I was surprised with how large it was.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Jerry Garrett’s range concerns may have had to do with battery temperatures in his cold garage, although I notice that he’s in Thousand Oaks, CA, where overnight temperatures are only about 48 F at this time of year.

  • avatar
    LimpWristedLiberal

    If this really were The TRUTH About Cars this would be an article about the NYT’s sloppy research.
     
    Are they even delivering cars with Level3 chargers yet? I thought they wouldn’t be available for a while after launch. There you go, another truthful subject for a negative story about the Leaf.

  • avatar

    The 88 miles of possible range the poster saw and even the 66 he claimed to have seen before is based on his previous driving habits. The pack still had the same amount of energy after being fully charged. The leaf uses your driving style to “ESTIMATE” how many miles you can go. If the poster had driven with a feather foot and alot of intown driving then the next day after a full charge it would show alot more range.

    • 0 avatar
      powermatic

      Didn’t know that (as apparently others did not) so well done and interesting. I’m going to assume you’re right-to lazy to research.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      Maybe, maybe not. The 110v charger can supply about 1.2 kw to the battery, or 4-5 “best case” miles. If the battery is charged for 10 hours a night (say 8 pm – 6 am), then he’s putting at most 40-50 miles (12 kwh) back into the pack. If he occasionally uses more than half the pack, then it could easily be less than full capacity in the morning.
       
      And then, as you mentioned, recent and historical consumption are used to calculate remaining range based on capacity.
       
      A 220v charger (3.3kw) would easily have the car to full capacity in the morning, but I guess that’s not worth mentioning in the review..


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