Nissan moves all battery cell production to Sunderland

Nissan UK battery plant

It’s no surprise that Nissan was and still is preparing to move away from producing its own battery cells. Former Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn said it many times.

In January last year, Nissan announced that its battery plant in Sunderland, UK would produce the next generation battery cells for its electric cars. However, the same was never said about other battery plants, namely the ones in the USA and Japan.


Lyndsay Pettigrew from the EV Performance confirmed what was expected:

“Bringing it back to the new Nissan Leaf for a moment, Barry and Mark informed me that the Sunderland factory are not only going to be the sole manufacture for the vehicle shell but also for the 40 KW battery.”


Concentrating all the battery cell production in one facility makes it simpler when the time of shutting down production completely comes.

However, it’s yet to be known how much longer will Nissan keep using the AESC battery cells, not only in its electric cars but also in its energy storage system. Considering that the Eaton Nissan xStorage capacity will now be increased from 6 to 9,6 kWh with the new AESC battery cells, these cells should last a little longer on the market before getting discontinued.


Eaton Nissan xStorage installed


As you might know the Eaton Nissan xStorage is made with 12 battery modules, while the electric car Nissan Leaf has 48 (four times more). If the new Eaton Nissan xStorage now gets 9,6 kWh from the 12 modules, the Nissan Leaf gets 38,4 kWh from 48, simple math right?

Previously we had 6 kWh x 4 = 24 kWh, now it’s 9,6 kWh x 4 = 38,4 kWh


Eaton Nissan xStorage technical overview


While 38,4 kWh seems to be very little, if it’s usable capacity – as I’ve been told – it will likely be enough for the improved 2018 Nissan Leaf to get 160 EPA miles (257 km) range. Before saying that’s lame, don’t forget that Nissan doesn’t want to increase the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Offering a safer and better looking Leaf, with more range and faster charging without increasing the price is what electric cars need to move forward.

As much as we like the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Opel Ampera-e, let’s face it, it isn’t considered affordable by most people. Nissan knows it can’t price the Leaf close to the Tesla Model 3, like Chevrolet did with the Bolt EV. At least, not if they are serious about regaining the electric mobility leadership, and I think they do.


Now the big piece of the puzzle missing is how much capacity and range will the LG Chem battery offer in the longer range version. While we all were expecting 60 kWh, since that’s what was shown in the IDS concept, I find it unlikely that the new Nissan Leaf will be offered with 38 and 60 kWh battery options. The weight’s difference between these two options would be too much for the Leaf’s body to support without expensive changes, especially since it hasn’t a skateboard battery platform like Tesla. The latest rumors are that the Leaf’s biggest battery option will be around 48 kWh, just enough to reach the 200 miles (322 km) EPA range psychological barrier.


To sum up, I think that a 160 miles (257 km) EPA range for the standard version will be fine if the MSRP doesn’t increase. Nissan already proved that price matters as much or even more than range. The automaker is selling the current Leaf in large numbers by offering generous discounts.


While the standard version battery capacity of 38,4 kWh is pretty much confirmed, how much would be needed for the long range version satisfy you? What matters the most? Price, range, charging rate or other?


Thanks Michał Grabowski for the heads up!



More info:

The Dangerous Side of the Nissan Leaf

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’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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4 years ago

Makes all sense. Then Brexit will be the perfect excuse to shut down Sunderland and keep unions quiet about Nissan while blaming the government.

4 years ago
Reply to  sapcmc

Not really. Brexit makes the cost of production drop dramatically, and will keep Sutherland humming and the unions happy. Why encumber production with useless EU red tape, and the high value of Euro?

4 years ago
Reply to  Sacbal

Are you silly? What red tape? Is there ANY where the UK won’t simply have its own version of the EU rule??

What will the import duties be for anyone in France who wants to buy a LEAF? Germany? Spain? Italy? If you expect to get a free trade agreement but not have to adhere to regulations and thus compete on equal footing with the rest of the free market, you’re not merely optimistic but naive in the extreme!

4 years ago

Glad to be of help:) althought I do see different interpretation for battery capacity. What I’m itreagued by is apparently 60% capacity Increase vs. 2016 xStorage with the same weight. In 2016 Nissan introduced 30kwh leaf. And given leaf’s history of pretty fast degradation I think it might have been actually 7,5 kwh battery with narrower charge/discharge window. After all they are giving 10 yrzmiel guarantees on those so assuming daily cycling couple of thousands of cycles. Equivalent of some 300 000 miles(3500 cycles x 87 epa miles). Much to optimistic. So I suggest we might be talking about 60% capacity Increase from 30 (28,5) kwh current leaf. It would be basicly same improvement both Panasonic and LG did with their cells roughly 2 years ago. We would talk then about 48(45) kwh but given that higher density imply bigger safety margins I would say 42-43 kwh usable capacity. And witch such increase 160-170 miles are easily achievable.

4 years ago
Reply to  mg

i also think it will be 48 (45 or so) because i dont believe they will provide a battery with less kWh than the renault zoe and there is more space in the new leaf as it has been said to be a bit longer than the old one.

4 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

But it is such a nice thing to speculate on scarce data:) I stand corrected regarding Eaton xStorage nominal vs usable capacity. Currently available June update of specification (their website) does not contains the 9.6kwh option anymore. Instead there are 6 and 7.5 kwh options and with specified lmo and nmc chemistry – well aligned with 24 and 30kwh leaf’s. Perhaps they removed 9.6 because of your deduction about next leaf capacity:) However the fact that they published 6 and 9.6 on the same page in the past does suggests it is all nominal therefore we would be talking about 9.6 nominal and only some 9 usable. And ultimetly 36 kwh usable leaf:( Which seems out of line with multiple accounts of 40kwh usable battery. That’s what seems to be missing in Your argument, and that is what I’m looking way around. Perhaps 9.6 kwh was just early speculation of 2017 leaf battery upgrade, that never came to be. And instead they went for 7.5 kwh. Or It was early speculation of lower trim leaf 2.0 at the time, but again I was under impression that they were on their way to switch to LG chem batteries at that time. Thanks for the blog by the way. It is refreshing in whole ev net world to read speculations based on numbers and relatively hard data disclosures, instead of article based on promises made by industry officials, rumors or even author own expectations.

4 years ago

What about the electric Micra?

4 years ago

38.5 kWh usable translates into 152 miles — I believe 160 is optimistic. 150 miles is plenty of range and unless one has long daily commutes, it should be acceptable. At 40 kWh usable, it is possible to claim 160 miles. So depends on whether this figure is nominal or usable.

4 years ago

Any news about Kraisel? They’re supposedly operating their new factory but we’ve heard nothing about it. Will they only supply car manufacturers? Or will they have a consumer-oriented business of some kind, like conversions or replacement packs..??

4 years ago

Ouch, KrEisel…

Their web looks the same as before. But wasn’t aware of their Yeti conversion, which is another marketing stunt and not something you can order AFAIU:×4/