By on June 15, 2015

2015 Nissan LEAF battery pack

Nissan is looking to take on Tesla et al in the stationary energy storage game with their own battery solution. However, unlike the Silicon Valley based electric car manufacturer and ZEV credit printing press, the Japanese automaker is looking to take a much greener approach.

Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will instead reuse lithium-ion batteries from the LEAF with partner Green Charge Networks.

The first application “will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple Nissan LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand,” said Nissan in a statement released today.

Since the batteries can be offered at a significant savings over newer counterparts from competitors, Nissan hopes customers in regions without incentive programs will see them as a cost-effective option.

“A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,” said Brad Smith, director of Nissan’s 4R Energy business.


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19 Comments on “Nissan Taking On Tesla Powerwall With Recycling Approach...”

  • avatar

    Not directed at TTAC – just at the media in general.

    Why is this news? All of the makers were saying over half-a-decade ago:

    * The batteries have a relatively short life within a car (all things considered)

    * Even though a battery may no longer be useable for an automotive application, it still has a ton of useable life left

    * Every maker was saying the recycling opportunity was in power storage for commercial and consumer applications

    * Makers are reaching the point where an inventory of spent batteries is coming on the horizon (8 to 10 years) that can be put to use for these applications

    All of this was talked about, in detail, by multiple OEMs years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      “The batteries have a relatively short life within a car (all things considered)”

      They should last ~150k mi, and by “last,” I mean retain 80% of their initial capacity. (Leafs in AZ excepted since they lack cooling and suffer heat-induced degradation.) I don’t necessarily agree that’s “relatively short.”

      • 0 avatar

        I understand that – but once the battery is at about 70% of its initial capacity, it is no longer useable for an automotive application. It still has a massive amount of life left – it’s total life span living in a car is relatively short compared to its entire potential life in all applications (hence the comment above – all things considered)

    • 0 avatar

      It’s news because instead of just talking about it, as they did years ago, Nissan is now putting it into practice.

  • avatar

    I’ve been advocating this approach for some time. A Leaf battery at end of life still has 18 kWh of usable capacity.

    Such a battery combined with an electric retailer offering a free power at certain times, I would effectively wipe out my electric bill for half the year.

    Also, by creating demand for these ‘worn out’ batteries, one of the biggest concerns about EVs–depreciation and cost to replace the battery–is reduced.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “Such a battery combined with an electric retailer offering a free power at certain times…”

      You can bet if this becomes popular, such arbitrage opportunities will disappear.

    • 0 avatar

      No snark here, I’m genuinely interested.

      I get the economic theory behind this but what are the actual numbers involved for this household battery stuff to make economic sense and the break even cost assumptions? An Indian friend at work thought Teslas announcement was a Big Deal and maybe it is but living in an area with stable and cheap electricity I just don’t see the economic argument for this… Same reason I don’t have a household electric generator.

      What am I missing here?

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe your region is different, but where I live these batteries (and generators) are useful for a number of reasons.

        We have a time-of-day rate here. Power consumed during the night costs less than that during the day. Also, we have a pretty piss poor electrical grid here, by First World standards, and black outs during the winter are incredibly common.

      • 0 avatar

        Let’s make up some numbers:

        Peak hrs electric cost: $0.15/kWh
        Off-peak hrs electric cost: $0.05/kWh
        Battery capacity, cost: 15 kWh, $5000 (full install)

        For my home, my base consumption is 5 kWh/day, and let’s say it’s at that level for 3 mo each year. Let’s also say that I use 10 kWh for another 3 mo. And for the remaining 6 mo I max out the battery each day at 15 kWh.

        Annual savings would be: ((5 kWh/day * 91 day) + (10 kWh/day * 91 day) + (15 kWh * 183 day))*($0.15/kWh – $0.05/kWh) = $411/yr or a bit over 12 yr to break even. That’s probably not worth it for simple power saving considering the battery will continue to degrade over time. But if you also are worried about power outages, then it might be worth it.

        To make such a system worthwhile from a pure money standpoint, there needs to be a large difference in peak and off-peak rates, the battery needs to be cheap, and you need to use the battery’s capacity as much as possible. My consumption is too low to really benefit much (I have the same issue with installing solar), but if I bought an EV, that would dramatically change. Using the same numbers as above, but using the battery’s full capacity each day takes the break-even point to just over 9 yr, which while still a long time, is a big improvement.

        These calcs use an installed battery price of $333/kWh, which is likely high, especially for a used battery. (I’ve read reports that Nissan’s & Tesla’s batteries cost under $300/kWh today and may be under $200/kWh by 2020.) If battery prices ever reach $100/kWh, then the breakeven point (full use each day, $0.10/kWh peak/off-peak difference) is a mere 33 months.

  • avatar

    The fact that these batteries still have usable power in it after it is removed from the vehicle is very amazing. Like redav mentioned, it would definitely save money from the electric bill. This is something everyone should invest in.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Nissan still leads the way in ZEV credits, despite popular opinion:

    My question is this – what happens to the cars? Is this application going to be the cover story for thousands of unsellable Leafs coming off lease?

    My 12 Leaf goes back in 3 months. Curious, I looked at retail prices for used 12 Leafs. One had been marked down to $8999, with only 18k on it. It sold the next day. But there is a growing number of Leafs like mine listed for $10-14k retail, but there won’t be many takers.

    So I wonder if Nissan will conveniently convert their packs into load levelers, and dispose of the cars? Or will they fit them with new batteries and boost the used car market?

    • 0 avatar

      Internet has it that Nissan is (has) offered replacement packs for $5,500 (well below cost), but that may be to owners whose packs have deteriorated (but not enough to necessitate warranty replacement).

      SCE: Where is your pack’s capacity (just curious).

      I saw a CPO ’12 Leaf locally for around $15k, it’s showing 11 bars, which means it’s down at least 15% capacity from new. So that means a range of around 65 miles (on a good day). which is a “dirty little secret” about these – I would consider one with this range if it ware $8k-10K, but only if an affordable replacement pack were available, if desired.

      • 0 avatar

        The battery replacement program has been around for two years now. There is even a $100 a month payment program in place with NMAC. You also get the latest battery technology with the replacement.

        I’d recommend waiting for the 13’s to come to the used market. Make sure you get one capable of “B” mode regen and equipped with the heat pump and chademo quick charge port. I’d recommend trying to find one with the 17 inch rims for improved handling.

        Driving an EV for maximum range can be like playing a violin. Most people are going to be terrible, especially when you first start. But with practice, you can make some amazing music. Drive smoothly using the regen and the range makes a huge jump. Long winding 40 mph New England back roads and interstate traffic that crawls along at 15 to 25 mph boost it further. So, depending on your situation and how you drive, the range might be higher than you expect.

        Yesterday, I went 50 miles as fast as traffic allowed running LED headlights, wipers, and some defroster time. Averaged 40.7 mph and measured 4.7 miles per kWh. That would put me at over 100 miles range. Now, if the roads were empty and I averaged 65 to 70, I’m sure it would have been drastically lower. If I didn’t have B mode regen on my Leaf (and I’m pretty good with it), I doubt I’d get the numbers I get.

        BTW – with 13k miles, according to LeafSpy (Leaf CAN bus data reader) my car is at this moment at 102.3% charge and I have 25,944 Wh of charge. If the data is correct, the newest Nissan batteries could have a couple of extra kWatts of capacity gain over the originals. I don’t trust the app and what I’m seeing so I’m not really sure. A tiny bit of secretly added capacity could mask battery capacity loss. Again, I don’t trust the app so who knows.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        My battery’s State of Health is 87%, but it’s got to be closer to 86%. I have about 19.2 kWh capacity on a full charge. At 85% I’ll lose the first of 12 bars, but that may not happen before it is returned.

        mcs’ experience with his newer Leaf has been much different from mine. If you’re considering a 12 Leaf with 11 bars, it may display 65 miles when full, but the range display is notoriously optimistic. Winter range (I forget where you live) can be as low as half of what’s displayed.

  • avatar

    Has Nissan sold enough Leafs for there to be an adequate pool of old batteries to reuse?

  • avatar

    This is old news and stale. Nissan signed these contracts long ago.

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