Is Nissan About To Offer Multiple Battery Pack Options For The LEAF?

Both the Tesla Model S and the Mitsubishi i-Miev offer customers the option of specifying one of a number of battery options, allowing them to choose a battery pack with enough range to meet their needs without paying more fro something they won’t use.

Now Nissan could be poised to do the same, offering different capacity battery pack options on future LEAF models.

A longer-range LEAF battery pack option could mean less time doing this...

A longer-range LEAF battery pack option could mean less time doing this…

That’s according to Pierre Loing,  Nissan’s Vice President of Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, who told PlugInCars.com earlier this week that a future LEAF model could come with multiple battery choices for customers tot choose from.

According to Loing, the way in which the LEAF’s battery pack is constructed makes it easy to produce in different capacities, allowing Nissan to offer larger — or smaller — battery packs to suit owner’s needs.

Sadly, Loing didn’t spill the beans on when — or even if — Nissan would offer different battery pack options, but seemed to indicate that differing battery pack options would become just as common as different engine choices for petrol and diesel-powered cars.  While new battery chemistries may offer better energy density and thus more range, they take time to develop and field-test. Simply adding more batteries is a good interim measure.

Extended battery pack LEAF racing at 2013 EcoRaces (Photo ©Rafael Llandres, Ecoraces.net)

Extended battery pack LEAF racing at 2013 EcoRaces (Photo ©Rafael Llandres, Ecoraces.net)

A few months ago when a team of engineers from Nissan’s Barcelona Technical Centre entered a LEAF with a double-capacty battery pack into an endurance race, we were unsure about how the added weight of the extra battery pack would effect handling and performance, as well as how close to production  a longer-range LEAF battery pack really was. But in the face of Loing’s very open comments on the future of different size battery packs, we think larger battery packs might be closer to market than we first thought.

While the thought of Nissan offering different battery pack sizes makes us instantly think of people speccing their Nissan EV with larger packs for longer-distance travel, the different battery options could also have another, side-effect: it could potentially make the LEAF — and other Nissan EVs — more affordable.

You see, while most buyers are likely to want the high-end, longer-range battery pack, some customers, especially those with limited budgets and predictable 30-mile commutes every day, could find that a LEAF with a smaller-capacity battery pack is finally affordable for them.

When will we see different battery packs make it into a car we can buy from Nissan? We’re not sure and Nissan isn’t saying. But this is a smart move we hope won’t take long to become reality: especially if it helps cure range anxiety in would-be buyers needing a little more real — or perceived — range before they buy.

 

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