What is Nissan USA going to do about older Leaf battery packs?

Nissan’s oldest Leaf models are getting close to a decade old, and that could mean that their batteries are reaching the end of their life.


One of the problems with current battery technology is that the cells that make up a pack have a finite life. They can be charged and discharged hundreds and thousands of times, but eventually, they will cease to be able to take or hold a charge.

It’s this fact of life that has people concerned about early production electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, the oldest of which are now well outside their battery pack warranty period and which could — theoretically — be nearing the end of their useful life. What happens to the battery packs when they’re no longer functional, and what happens to the cars that they once powered?

Some companies have been working on solutions to this, but currently, the manufacturer of the world’s best-selling electric car doesn’t appear to be doing much of anything here in the US, at least according to a report published Monday by Automotive News.

It’s a little weird that Nissan wouldn’t have a battery reclamation and refurbishment program in the US, where it’s sold over 130,000 examples since the Leaf was introduced in 2010. Making things weirder is the fact that Nissan currently operates such a program in Japan.

Because we’re still in the relatively early days of electric cars, it’s still challenging to predict just how long a battery pack will last in a given vehicle, especially when you consider the almost infinite variables that go into determining that life. Automotive News cites the owner of a 2012 Leaf which after just 60,000 miles will only charge to half of its rated capacity. That’s not ideal, especially since that kills any kind of resale for the owner of the vehicle.

Nissan didn’t immediately respond to Roadshow’s request for comment on its plans for end-of-life battery packs. The company has previously talked about using Leaf packs that were no longer fit for road use in other, less demanding applications like its plans to power streetlights in Japan with them.

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