Few things could be more exciting than the news that one of the major automakers is going to incorporate some of the new battery technology that’s kicking around the world’s laboratories into a production vehicle, allowing it to offer better range and/or lower prices. So the EV media has been following recent rumors out of Yokohoma as avidly as some of our colleagues follow the Kardashians’ breakfast choices.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed the glad tidings Friday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, saying, “There is a second generation of battery coming (online) now…which is less costly than the previous one. We are in a race in which you reduce the costs and adapt the price.”
Mr. Ghosn has been making cryptic predictions of a big boost in sales in the near future, and the company could certainly use it. Nissan has sold around 35,000 LEAFs since the EV’s debut in late 2010, but August sales in the US were down from the previous year, putting the all-electric LEAF in third place in the plug-in race, behind Chevy’s and Toyota’s PHEVs.
One thing that may be hurting sales, at least among EV cognoscenti, is the fact that several LEAF owners have reported that their batteries seem to be losing capacity much faster than they should. Perhaps the new and improved battery pack will eliminate that issue.
According to InsideEVs, the second generation battery Ghosn is talking about is probably one that Nissan’s joint venture AESC has been working on since 2009, which uses a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode, and can offer about 75% more capacity than the Li-Mn-O2 chemistry used in the current LEAF.