The drive range of the new Leaf electric vehicle (EV) is 400km (approx 249 miles) per change (under the JC08 test mode), which is about 40% longer than that of the previous model of the Leaf.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd announced the new Leaf Sept 6, 2017. The drive range was increased by improving the energy density of the battery pack. While the size of the new model's battery pack is equivalent to that of the previous model's battery pack, the battery capacity was increased from 30kWh to 40kWh.
The increase in energy density was realized because Nissan increased the energy density of the battery cell and reduced the number of parts of the battery pack. For example, the company changed materials of the cell and increased the amount of battery materials to be put in a laminate-type cell.
Though Nissan did not disclose the details of the battery materials, it uses a lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide-based material (ternary material) for the positive electrode and carbon for the negative electrode. The new cell is 0.9mm thicker than the previous cell. And the energy density of the new cell is estimated to be about 240Wh/kg.
The module is made by putting eight cells in a stainless steel case. And the battery consists of 24 modules (192 cells). The mass of the battery pack is about 300kg. Its total voltage is 350V. Automotive Energy Supply Corp (AESC) manufactures the cell and module, and Nissan assembles them into the pack.
Nissan reduced the number of parts by using data obtained by driving the Leaf. With those data, the company started to complete the analysis of the battery pack's behavior including the deterioration of cells and changed "overly-designed" parts. Also, the company made improvements to the harness to make it as short as possible and changed the handling of it so that it can be easily assembled.
Though Nissan did not disclose the cost of the battery pack (per watt-hour), it said, "We benchmarked our rival companies, and it is certain that the cost of the battery pack is one of the lowest."