Battery upgrades in 2016

Plug-in cars

Since the Chevrolet Bolt with its 60 kWh battery is arriving at this year’s end, current generation electric cars will have range improvements and price drops to survive in the electric car market.


Nissan Leaf (already available)


The new 30 kWh version is already available and will be the first to get price cuts. In Germany discounts for this version already exist and in the UK the difference to lease the 24 kWh and the 30 kWh is now so low, that the 30 kWh is the obvious best choice.


BMW i3 (confirmed)


The i3 will have its battery upgraded from 60 Ah cells to 94 Ah, this translates in an increase from 21,6 kWh to 33,84 kWh. This 57 % improvement will make the BEV’s version EPA range go to aroundย  127 miles (204 km), and the extended range version will certainly reach the goal of 200 miles or 322 km range. In 2017 I expect another upgrade, this time to 120 Ah cells that Samsung SDI already talked about a year ago at 2015 NAIAS, doubling the initial battery capacity.


Volkswagen e-Golf (confirmed)


e-Golf’s battery is expected to move from 25 Ah cells to 37 Ah, meaning an upgrade from 24,75 kWh to 36,63 kWh. This 48 % increase means a more or less 123 EPA miles range.


Volkswagen e-Up (confirmed)


e-Up’s battery is expected to move from 25 Ah cells to 37 Ah, meaning a change from 18,7 kWh to 28,3 kWh. No EPA range available since this little car isn’t sold in the USA.


Ford Focus electric (confirmed)


Ford already confirmed the upgraded Focus EV will get CCS fast charging capability and a 100 EPA mile range. No word yet about the battery capacity but the cells will continue to be LG Chem.


Renault Zoe (expected)


The 26 kWh battery is expected to be upgraded to 40 kWh. The LG Chem cells should be the same that will be used in Chevrolet Bolt, but instead of 288 cells, the Zoe will keep the 192 cell configuration, so expect 2/3 of Bolt’s battery capacity. The announcement should be made at Paris Auto Show in October, the same month that Chevy Bolt will have its production started. Renault will try its best as Nissan did, to not offer the possibility of current Zoe’s owners get the new battery. I think they will say a 40 kWh battery will need 100 kW fast charge, and the new Zoe will have to support CCS.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV (not probable)


This little electric car has a 16 kWh battery made with 88 LEV50N cells. Yuasa GS already has LEV75 cells that represent 50 % more capacity, meaning a 24 kWh battery. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi seems focused in PHEVs and the little EV will probably be discontinued.


If the European version of Chevrolet Bolt is sold by the Opel brand for 35.000-40.000 โ‚ฌ before incentives, I can see existing demand for 20.000-25.000 โ‚ฌ electric cars that have about half the range. Chevrolet Bolt is the best news for electric mobility this year, it will help to increase range and lower prices of current offers.

In 2017 with another wave of range increases and price cuts, PHEVs will start to be less and less appealing.

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. Iโ€™m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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6 years ago

If the e-Up! drops a bit the price tag and, as you say, upgrades to ~28kWh then it will be a serious contender in the city market vehicles…

6 years ago

So the Zoe owners will be left behind … definitely not good … may have to reconsider my purchase with them.

5 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

That is an option for Renault but doubt as costs would be high for retaking vehicles, refurbish them, upgrade batteries and put them again in market.

5 years ago
Reply to  sapcmc

They will get them all back as they are on pcp deals.

5 years ago
Reply to  sapcmc

Renault ZOE
Even I step back coz there is no information available for battery upgrade in 2017 for existing cars. Current (July 2016) 100 mile range per full charge doesn’t seem realistic. In winter battery range can go down to 60 miles per full charge according to CarWow review.

Craig Brown
5 years ago

It would make sense for Renault to offer upgrades to existing ZOE owners, as the pack is leased for most of us. They could charge more per month and recycle the old pack with new batteries. Here’s hoping!

5 years ago
Reply to  Craig Brown

They need all the old batteries back for their energy storage business.

5 years ago

Renault can’t even fix their ZE Services app… there is no chance they will offer an upgraded 40kwh pack to existing owners. And if I’m wrong I’ll happily eat everyone’s hat! ๐Ÿ™

5 years ago

Bolt will be some units in November/December in US, but no way for Europe before mide 2017. Until then Leaf 2 will also arrive with 40 kWh & 60 kWh options.

5 years ago

Is there any link to the new LG cells ? I mean GM always gives total capacity of Volt and Spark EV, also Nissan gives total capacity 24 kWh and 30 kWh Leaf. The IDS Concept they showed had also 288 cells and 60 kWh, that sould be total.
Also with 60 kWh total and 56 kWh usable the Bolt ranges would be exactly 205 miles like claimed to years ago:
With 70 kWh it would be much more, and most new cells like 65 Ah are 2 years tested before going into production, also if LG has now 65 Ah it doesn’t mean GM and Nissan can already use them.

5 years ago

The rumor mill was rampant in December and early January regarding the i-MiEV’s demise. Actually, Mitsubishi’s CEO never said that the car would be discontinued but, rather, a replacement of the i-MiEV was not being planned . . .–ceo-promises–an-electrified-u.s.-rebound

Big difference: but this quickly got twisted into a ” Mitsubishi is going to kill the i-MiEV” mantra by a host of online journalists who never bothered to actually read the interview or check sources.

I own a used 2012 i-MiEV, purchased this past November, and wrote Mitsubishi North America in late December regarding this news reporting discrepancy. They confirmed to me, in fact, that there were no plans to discontinue the i-MiEV, at least for the North American market

Regarding the batteries: It’s been reported here previously on Push EVs (with accuracy) that the current battery compliment of the i-MiEV is 88 of the LEV50N cell (50Ah each / 16kWh pack total) and 80 of these cells in the European Citroen and Peugeot variants.

So, could someone here please provide confirmation that the LEV75 is really is slated to be the new i-MiEV cell? An actual Mitsubishi press release or a published interview with a named Mitsubishi spokesperson to confirm this would be appreciated.

5 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Thanks for the clarification, Pedro. The issue has also been discussed on the US-based My i-MiEV Forum, which has a European membership contingent present to comment . . .

One of the posters there observed that Citroen and Peugeot have a contractual agreement with Mitsubishi to take delivery of 10,000 i-MiEV variants over an unspecified time period. So, I tend to think the i-MiEV is also safe for Europe for some time.

I look at the i-MiEV as a modern day equivalent of the classic VW Beetle: inexpensive, reliable, yet with ungainly looks and pedestrian performance specifications. They even share the same rear engine / rear drive layout (I had a 1964 Beetle many years ago and have a soft spot for that car, as I do for the i-MiEV today.) I’d be happy to see the i-MiEV live on with the same sheet metal, but with a bigger battery. Even 20kWh with a 6.6kW charger would be a nice improvement. But keep it cheap and keep it simple, Mitsubishi!

And, let us know, Pedro, when you get your used “jellybean.”

5 years ago

Realise that in fact the Kia Soul EV was the first ‘upgrade’ within the EV-world (Tesla excluded), because its total capacity is 31,5 kWh (with 27 kWh usable), a bit more then the upgraded Leaf.

5 years ago
Reply to  Paul

The total capacity of the battery pack of Kia Soul EV is 30,5 kWh, not 31,5.

5 years ago

Everybody talk about battery size. The onboardcharger, is a bigger issue I think. Get an 22kw instead of the 3.6kw in the golf, and you will have a amazing car!

5 years ago

The e-up has been confirmed to NOT get a bigger battery. Please update.

5 years ago

What about the Fluence ? I would love to swap the battery for a 40 kWh version. The car is great, just short of range.. I hope Renault will bring out an updated version of both the battery and the Fluence.

Ralf K.
5 years ago

Pedro, maybe it’s time for a review of your 2016 forecast, which of your confirmed upgrades was really available in cars in 2016 in which markets. Looks like in many cases those announced upgrades did come or are actually announced to come – but rarely in 2016 in actually delivered cars.

And what is a side effect of this: customers waiting for these upgrades but not buying the current (previous to next) generation of BEVs if there is no OEM-approved way to upgrade the battery. Which may look like a buyers reluctance on BEVs in general, but may only be a reluctance on BEVs that appear overpriced and with too short range.

I also agree with Ole: making quick charging (22kW AC, 44kW AC, 50 kW DC, 100 kW DC, 150 kW DC, 350 kW DC) – or charging speeds of 400 km of range per hour of charging and up – available on the car side should probably be forecasted and mentioned honorably as well, especially if made a standard feature. And especially in those cases where OEMs also support installation of the quick charging infrastructure.

Ralf K.
5 years ago

One additional hint: As you may know, a number of BMW hybrids use VDA PHEV1 cells.
BMW i8 – 6s 16s1p VDA PHEV1, 20Ah 7100Wh

BMW 2er Active Tourer (F45) 225xe iPerformance – 1.5 R3 Otto
BMW X1 (F48) xDrive25Le – platform from 225xe (China only)
BMW 330e (F30) iPerformance – 2.0 R4 Otto
Mini CountryMan (F60) PHEV – probably like 225 xe
— 5s 16s1p = 80s 1p of VDA PHEV1, 26Ah 7700Wh

BMW X5 (F15) xDrive 40e eDrive – 2.0 R4 Otto
BMW 740e (xDrive) (G11/G12) eDrive – 2.0 R4 Otto
BMW i8 (I12) 1.5 R3 Otto – battery upgrade
BMW 530e (G30) iPerformance – 2.0 R4 Otto – starting March 2017
— 6s 16s1p VDA PHEV1, 26Ah 9200 Wh
(they simply add a module to make a standard 96s battery, i8 gets 26Ah cells instead of 20 Ah)

But NOW comes the interesting one:
BMW 530Le (F18) 2.0 R4 Otto; (China only) – 2016

530Le (F18) has 58 km (BMW confirmed) of electric range, which is quite some more than its European cousins. Several Chinese web sites state 11,4 kWh. Others name 40 Ah cells.
This would match a 5s 16s1p VDA PHEV1, 40Ah = 11400 Wh.
(This is an educated guess, and should be considered speculative!)

Please double check yourself with your sources, whether you find a Samsung SDI production site (likely in China) to produce 40 Ah VDA PHEV1 cells. If so, all the battery packs above could be upgraded by roughly factor 40/26 = 1,57.

This factor of 1.57 also coincidentally (?) matches the factor from 60 Ah VDA EV cells to 94 Ah VDA EV cells in BMW i3 (94/60 = 1,56). For VDA EV cells we already know about the future upgrade to 120 Ah VDA EV cells.

Now with this knowledge, future 52 Ah (or 50 Ah) cells for VDA PHEV1 cells look quite probable. I remember, Samsung SDI had shown 50 Ah cells some time ago but the size was not known.

All these cells have no true relevance for BEVs, but the PHEVs will get increasing battery sizes, too.

Ralf K.
5 years ago
Reply to  Ralf K.

Here is a press release by BMW itself to announce future PHEV batteries of up to 20 kWh leading to up to 100 km of electric range:

The path show above offers these as 6s 16s1p of 52 Ah PHEV1 cells, and therefore with low reconstruction effort on the basis of current battery packs.

Peter Hospidales
5 years ago

What ever happened to the Renault fluence battery upgrades. Can someone find out please.