Nissan Leaf drivers will be delighted to hear that Nissan will soon be offering a surprisingly cheap $5,499 replacement battery for its flagship electric vehicle. The vastly reduced battery cost will make the Leaf an even bigger money saver in the long run and establish a new precedent in the growing EV market.
The new battery will also address concerns over the current Leaf battery’s loss of capacity in extremely hot environments. Also referred to as the “Lizard Battery”, the new chemical formulation will ensure the battery maintains capacity when exposed to hot temperatures for extended periods of time. Ultimately, owners of 2012 and 2013 Leafs will be getting a far superior battery for one third the price it was a year or two ago.
And while the details have not yet been confirmed, Nissan may also be releasing a special financing program for the battery replacement. Starting at $100 per month, Leaf owners could pay for the battery over the span of five years, thus allowing them to avoid shelling out several thousand dollars outright.
One criticism lodged against electric vehicles is that the cost to replace their batteries is in the tens of thousands – which is often half the price of the car. Therefore, any cost-savings in fuel and maintenance over an EVs lifespan would be significantly diminished (although it would still be a money saver in the long-run).
And while Nissan will likely be losing some money on its cheap battery replacement, it is projecting lower battery construction costs over time. Economies of scale and improved technology will make the replacement battery cheaper in a few years when the first Leaf owners start making replacement requests.
It will be interesting to see how other EV auto-makers respond to Nissan’s aggressive pricing plan.
Obviously, Nissan is trying to appeal to the average consumer’s car budget. But will the $5,499 battery replacement program be enough to make the Leaf the more appealing EV option?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.