Customers of old Nissan Leaf electric cars will be able to buy refurbished battery packs at less than half the price of a new one.
Electric cars may be cleaner (to run) than conventional petrol or diesel vehicles, but their feasibility and long-term reliability are still unknown. Mainly, it’s down to the performance of a battery pack in an electric vehicle. Over the years, it has come to the notice that the capacity of a battery pack degrades considerably over time as the usage increases. For instance, some electric vehicles may lose over 20 per cent of their capacity in just 5 years. Sure, you can always replace the battery pack with a new one, but then it’d cost you more than half the car’s original price!
Now in India, we don’t have these problems, simply because we don’t have enough electric cars on sale. However, in developed countries where Teslas, Nissan Leafs and other EVs sell by the bucketload, it’s slowly turning out to be a big problem for electric car owners. Now, in its bid to help old customers of the Leaf, Nissan has launched a unique battery replacement program in Japan. The company will sell refurbished battery packs at discounted rates to customers.
Starting May 2018, Nissan will offer the customers of the Leaf electric to replace their used batteries for refabricated ones at relatively affordable prices. A 24kWh refurbished battery pack will cost 300,000 yen ($2,850). In comparison, a new 24 kWh pack costs 650,000 yen ($6,200), which more than double of the price offered by the company. However, the new versions of the Leaf use the 30kWh battery pack and that costs 800,000 yen ($7,600) brand new, while the more powerful 40 kWh battery pack costs 820,000 yen ($7,800). At the moment, the refurbished battery pack is only available in the 24kWh pack.
While refurbished batteries are being offered only in Japan at the moment, expect the same scheme to be introduced in other parts of the world, especially Europe and the US. But, the question remains – is it really a feasible solution to the problem at hand? Well, in the short-term, probably, yes. But, considering the fact that it’s a refurbished battery, it’s not going to last as long as a new battery. Which means, its capacity will degrade at a faster rate, meaning the next battery pack change will come sooner . . .