Leapfrogging the Competition: Nissan's LEAF Battery Pack Reportedly Costs Only $9,000!

nissan leaf outside electric-car photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
About $375/kWh
Andy Palmer, Nissan's head of green vehicles, has been talking with the press lately, and unless he's being misquoted, it seems like Nissan has done something quite impressive with the LEAF's battery. The Times Online reports that the battery pack "costs £6,000 to produce", which at today's exchange rate is about $9,060. That might sound like a lot, but in the context of an EV, it isn't.
nissan leaf outside electric-car photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

That's about $375 per kWh, a very low number considering that many estimates for EV lithium-ion battery packs hover around $1,000/kWh, (though not everybody is revealing that info, so maybe others will soon come out with even cheaper batteries - the GM Volt will probably be somewhere around $500/kWh).

A fully charge Tesla Roadster battery can hold about 53 kWh. At $375/kWh, it would cost a hair under $20,000. This makes it plausible that Nissan could be working on an electric car that has a range of over 200 miles for under $50,000 (closer to $40k after incentives).

Turning a Profit on the LEAF
If Nissan's costs are anywhere near those numbers, they can pretty easily make money with the LEAF. Selling it at around $33K (before tax breaks), that leaves $24K for everything other than the battery, and compared to a similar-sized car like the Versa, they're saving money by not having to make engines, gas tanks, etc. That seems like more than enough to have an ok profit margin, something that might be hard for GM to get with the Volt (at least at first, partly because of Nissan's aggressive pricing creating an "anchor" price).

Via Times Online, ABG
More Nissan LEAF
Nissan Taking LEAF Reservations Starting Tomorrow ($99, Refundable)
Nissan's LEAF Creates a New "Anchor" for Electric Car Pricing, Forcing Others to Match It
More Electric Cars
Renault Unveils Final Design of Fluence Z.E. Electric Car
Keeping Things in Perspective: An Electric Car is About as Power-Hungry as an Air Conditioner

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