Even with range loss, most low-end electric cars like the Nissan LEAF can still meet most American commuting duties.

Nissan Exec: Next-Gen Electric Car Battery Pack Will Likely End Range Anxiety for Most Drivers

When it launched back in late 2010, the Nissan LEAF electric car was given an EPA-approved range of 73 miles per charge — more than enough for most daily commutes to and from work without needing to recharge away from home.

Range Anxiety may be a thing of the past with the new Nissan LEAF, promises one Nissan Exec

Range Anxiety may be a thing of the past with the new Nissan LEAF, promises one Nissan Exec

Yet while the range appears enough on paper, Nissan and other automakers of sub 100-mile electric cars have learned the hard way that those who drive electric cars with 80-100 miles of all electric range still suffer range anxiety from time to time. In fact, for many would-be owners, seeing a sub 100-mile range on the window sticker is enough to put them off an electric car altogether, despite the massive disparity between their actual and perceived range requirements.

Nissan's next-gen battery chemistry could

Nissan’s next-gen battery chemistry will end range anxiety for most, says Nissan

But, hints Nissan,its next-generation electric car battery pack will be large enough that it will eliminate range anxiety for most drivers.

Talking with Automotive News (subscription required) at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein — who replaced Brit Andy Palmer at the company after Palmer left to become CEO of Aston Martin — said that the Japanese automaker is developing a next-generation battery pack which could eliminate range anxiety in all but the most extreme of cases.

“We don’t need that much to get out from the basic range anxiety,” he told reporters. “We’re going to be there relatively quickly.”

Nissan’s Philippe Klein says Nissan isn’t far from eliminating range anxiety in electric cars for good

While Klein wouldn’t specify the vehicle the new battery pack would be used in, he did hint the new battery chemistry would likely debut some time in 2017 or 2018. That would place it in the same time frame as the suspected second-generation Nissan LEAF, which is expected to arrive as a 2017 or 2018 model-year car.

That car is widely expected to offer a battery pack capable of travelling between 150 and 200-miles per charge, a figure confirmed many times by Nissan executives and even Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Before you get too excited however, it’s unlikely we’ll see a Nissan electric car any time soon with a range that exceeds that of the Tesla Model S or the promised aftermarket 400-mile Tesla Roadster battery pack.

That’s because Nissan believes it isn’t all that far from reaching a battery pack capacity and range that really will eliminate range anxiety for most.

“It’s fair to recognise we are a bit short,” Klein said in regard to the 2015 Nissan LEAF’s official 84-mile EPA rating. “But for commuting purposes, we are not very far from getting out from range anxiety.”

Longer range woo.

What would be your ideal range for a next-generation LEAF?

In terms of information, there’s nothing new given away by this latest interview concerning Nissan battery technology and future LEAF range. Yet it does act to provide further evidence to confirm the long-held belief among most in the plug-in world that the next-generation Nissan LEAF will have at least a 150-mile battery pack.

The real unanswered question — and one we’re unsure of the answer to — is this: will 150-miles of all-electric range really eliminate range anxiety, or will it simply become the new baseline?

Humans have an uncanny habit of always wanting more, regardless of how much they already have. Will 150 miles really be enough, or will the consensus among the buying public always demand more range than is truly needed?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • JJohn

    Bigger batteries will definitely help but Nissan also has to make sure the next gen Leaf is adequately engineered for extreme climates both in terms of long term pack degradation and temperature related losses. They also need some kind of supercharger style network (or shared access to the real thing!) if they want to be competitive with next gen offerings. Chevy and Tesla are already in the race, who knows what we will see revealed in the near future.

    • John Ryan

      when there are enough ev’s on the road they will be more charging stations

  • Esl1999 .

    I asked a Model S owner once about the Leaf and had he considered it. His response was that his 65 mile round trip would have forced him to charge every single day, and that he was worried about being distracted one night or there being a power outage, and not being able to drive straight to work the next morning. This wasn’t an issue with the Model S and that’s why he bought the Tesla.

    • Michael Thwaite

      I wonder if that decision would be different if every dealer have a DC fast charger out front? That said, if he could afford the S, I wonder if he’d truly be cross shopping with a Leaf?nn(No offense meant to Leaf owners – you know I love the top spec one!)

      • Esl1999 .

        Since he owned an EV, I wondered if the Leaf striked his fancy prior to the S being available to own and drive. He said ” The car (Leaf) never came across as a vehicle he’d be happy with”.

        • John Ryan

          i would feel the same way if i could afford the tesla

      • D. Harrower

        If I lived/worked in a city and rarely had cause to leave, I definitely would have considered a Leaf.nnAs it stands, I’m over 400km to the nearest “city” and frequently want to leave, so an 85kWh Model S was my only option if I wanted to drive electric.

    • Joe

      During Drive Electric Week I had a lot of time to chat with some Model S owners in Michigan. They all really loved their cars but one guy was sheepish about the car as if he were embarrassed that he had spent so much money on it. He told me he test drove a Leaf and really liked it, but just couldn’t risk the short range with his long commute. He would have gladly bought a Leaf if he could get 200 ideal miles out of it.

  • oeva.org

    More range is nice, but most EV drivers don’t have range anxiety.

    • James

      Adding range it critical to expanding the market. I agree about most commutes and average daily driving distance and all that, but to use my own experience as an example I live in a fairly compact city and can easily charge every 2 to 3 days comfortably. However, occasionally I push the range limits: drive to work, mid-day errands, and after work family functions.nnI am very happy with the current range, but I cannot imagine how the current limits might work for people who live farther outside of town or who live in a more sprawling metropolis. Think about the market the same as the area of concentric circles representing range. For each additional 10 miles of range possible the car becomes feasible for an increasingly larger population of people.

    • John Ryan

      it is really pretty simple if you have range anxiety you are driving the wrong car

      • cimota

        Range anxiety is a symptom of people before they buy an EV. And for a lot of people it will just be anxiety – a feeling they have that arises from dangers, real and imagined. nnnIf they’ve plonked down their hard-earned cash for an EV, you can be confident they’ve worked through their Range Anxiety.

  • Tens of thousands of current <100 mile range EV owners can't be wrong. Commutes within the range of most EV's today are the norm, but it is not well understood how easy it is to live with a maximum fuel level (aka full tank) when you start off for work every morning.nPersonally, I've only ever wanted more range a few times. 99% of all my trips in my previous gas car fit the current range of my Smart ED.nLooking to become a 2 EV family and drop our gas car in a few years time where there will be many more choices on the market.

  • Joe

    Regarding the shifting baseline, this point hits home. My commute until recently was 23 miles round trip, so a Nissan Leaf looked great as a potential replacement for my 2005 Prius. My attitude was fully along the lines of “Seventy miles is plenty for just about everyone!” But last month I moved into a new house and my daily commute is now 76 miles round trip. I have no ability to charge at work and since I live in a cold climate, the Leaf’s range is really not sufficient for my commute, let alone additional driving. (Lunch out, anyone?) Now I find myself thinking “Seventy miles is probably not enough for most people.” Our own situation tends to feel like the norm. 🙂 It’s my personal shifting baseline!

    • CoolHanc

      76 mile round trip is a long trip!

    • Buck E. Fush

      My average weekly driving is about 25 miles. Not enough to justify an electric car.

  • Forgive me, but isn’t a main benefit of owning an BEV that 95% of miles driven CAN be recharged at home.nnPerhaps @Nikki, you meant ‘without recharging AWAY from home?’ nRE: “more than enough for most daily commutes to and from work without needing to recharge at home.”

    • You’re totally right, Brian. Obviously my Brain wasn’t as fast as my fingers!

      • Blame autocorrect u2026 (away vs. at) ;)nnBTW: this is true for so many things u2026 “Humans have an uncanny habit of always wanting more, regardless of how much they already have.”nn@Nikki your amazing, pushing great quality content almost every day. 🙂

    • John Ryan

      exactly one of the big benefits for me is not standing in line a gas stations

  • Regarding “range anxiety” u2026 after driving an EV for a couple weeks most will admit they had some range anxiety before, or during initial week but that it goes away once they learn the capability of the vehicle.nnIMO: A 120-150 mile range reduces this initial anxiety, thus lowering the bar to general public willing to try driving an electric vehicle. We all know what happens once people have driven for a couple days! Add in the percentage of drivers traveling more than 120-150 miles in a day*, vs. 60-80 miles u2026 and we’re talking of a large potential market. nn* the assumption being can charge overnight without need for public infrastructure (any public charging infrastructure just adds extended range on top of 120-150 miles per day)

  • Greg

    I guess you can look at range anxiety 2 ways. Firstly – “what if I need to do a long trip”. But mostly “how much charge do I have left?”. nnnIf people mostly answer “over half a charge left” and the rest of the time answer “over a quarter” then range anxiety will go away. (Won’t solve the people worried that one day they might drive somewhere they’ve never gone before. )

  • DdavidD

    With Tesla and GM planning to make 200 mile/charge cars within the next couple of years Nissan will have to something similar if they want to maintain their EV reign.

  • jbsegard

    This is a very welcome step for wider EV dissemination. The remaining question is on solving the occasional long distance trip (>100 miles on motorways). My suggestion is modularity with an on demand range extending service: http://www.eptender.com

    • Billy Banegas

      Or, there are changes in the electrodes coming that would allow them to get a 70% charge in 20 minutes. Then put charging stations that look like parking meters in front of Starbucks. 20 minutes for coffee and a charge.

      • jbsegard

        Possibly, but a 100 kW parking meter is neither small, nor cheap or easily connected to the grid. Also depends on how people value their own time when travelling. EP Tender adds one degree of liberty to the EV equation ! 🙂

  • Billy Banegas

    Charging stations need to be everywhere, like, all Starbucks, or all Burger Kings. It could look like a parking meter that you put change into and plug in for 30 minutes. With the new electrodes that allow a 70% charge in 20 minutes that would work.

  • BrianKeez

    150 miles will be the new baseline. After 72k miles of ‘making it work’ on my LEAF, 150 sounds great. 250 sounds even better.nI don’t think that ‘excessive range’ exists.

  • Carl Johnson

    I think this new range will finally address some basic fundamentals of how people really use cars, not just the abstract notion that we always hear: “most people only drive 29 miles per day!” I have a Leaf and commute 23 miles RT, my wife 60 miles. So it’s great for both of us, but still limiting in cold weather, for extra unplanned trips, and I have to watch the charging schedule like a hawk (I don’t like to immediately recharge to 100% every time I return home).nnI think the sub-100 mile EVs are limited to this range solely due to pricing targets, or else Nissan would have marketed the Leaf as a luxury car with a greater range and a Tesla price tag. Now battery tech and efficiency are improving, so they will deliver more range.nnRegarding range discomfort, I think the demographics of typical suburban living are important to note. A typical suburban radius for a US city is about 30 miles, or up to an hour highway commute. Beyond that the commuting population drops off steeply. So for regular commuters or the typical suburbanite who enjoys frequent trips to the city, the ~80 mile range of the Leaf is *enough*, but it’s uncomfortable. Bumping up beyond 120 mile will be very significant.nnAnother way to put it: most people would prefer to get the low battery warning with 40 miles of reserve, rather than at 18 miles like my Leaf does now. Chances are you are not “stuck” when you’ve got 40 miles left, but at under 18 you are hunting for a recharge and an hour or two of waiting.

  • Abhi Krishna H

    after battery packup is over and if here is no power stations near by , what will you do?

    • Carl Johnson

      Not sure exactly what you mean. But i suspect the answer is: same as a gas car with no gas stations around.

      • TornyiBarnabu00e1sazIsten

        You can bring petrol in a jerry can to your car, are there portable “jerry” battery packs? 😀

  • D Barker

    Once Tesla comes out with their more affordable gen 3 car that’s the one you want because it has the range, free super charging network and charging times of 15-30 minutes. checkout http://supercharge.info/ to see how fast the network grows plus there’s like 12 charge ports at each station.

  • cimota

    Rather than basing the whole debate around a specific model (like the Tesla), I think we should be looking at differing means of consumption.nnnWe have a country-wide electric network and town and cities are adding new charging points daily. Even if we cannot find a public charge point, we should be working on a campaign of harnessing the Green Feeling and getting folk to use the FON model for electric charging (Are you a Linus or a Bill?)nnnIf someone came to my house looking for a boost, I’d be fine with for an hour or so but I’d rather see more electric point down near our seafront or at our local shops. Maybe councils could nominate areas for electric charging – Ballyholme shops would be a shoe-in.

  • greatferm

    I have a big round spare tire in the back of my car. I would rather see that space used for a backpack generator, maybe two big contra-rotating magnets, with an intermittent engine in the middle, and a small fuel tank. This would not have to produce enough power to drive the car, just enough to slow down the discharge, or build up the charge during lunch. nnMake it possible for me to drive from San Francisco to L.A., and you’ve got me.

  • marty

    just to let everyone know check out the nxt gen battery pack , they litheum 3 demensional not 2 demensional like all are now. a university has designed this pack and found the batteries charge 1000 times more and out put is 2000 better at least on phones and laptops witch should hold true to anything using litheum batteries

  • Mark Harrison

    One question that I didn’t see answered: If/when they develop better battery technology. Will it be backwards compatible with existing Nissan Leafs?

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