Now that Nissan Leaf MY 2016 has the optional 30 kWh battery, it’s time to compare it to the old 24 kWh battery.
The old Nissan Leaf’s 24 kWh battery was its major defect. Made with AESC’s LMO cells, the battery has a high degradation rate, specially in hot climates.
This battery has 192 cells, each weighting 787 g. The total weight from the 192 cells is 151,1 kg. The battery itself weights more because of the electronics, modules and cables that connect all the cells and make one battery pack.
The cells in the 24 kWh battery have an energy density of 317 Wh/L and 157 Wh/kg.
The new 30 kWh battery is made with NMC cells, that have better lifespan than the LMO ones. Despite a 25 % capacity increase, it has the same volume than the 24 kWh battery and only weights 21 kg more (13,9 %).
By my calculations the energy density of the new NMC cells is around 396 Wh/L and 174 Wh/kg.
The upgrade from LMO to NMC chemistry is a step forward that Nissan has been promising since 2009. The NMC chemistry is a lot more heat resistant and the lifespan is much better.
Having a 30 kWh battery instead of a 24 kWh, even if it weights more can make the electric car more efficient, specially in highway speeds because of the Ragone Curve. Batteries are more efficient when discharged slower. This is why the battery capacity increased 25 % but the EPA range increased 27 %.
I would never recommend an electric car with a battery made with LMO cells, this is why I think the 30 kWh battery is great news. We will stop having people scared with losing battery capacity bars.