Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Electric cars, trucks, ATVs, NEVs - things bigger than a motorcycle.
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Hwy89   1 kW

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Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Post by Hwy89 » Nov 12 2017 2:47am

The older leafs are getting pretty cheap and I'm considering buying one. Has anyone here added some battery capacity to their Leaf for the occasional longer trip. I'm a battery builder with a couple hundred Tesla 18650 cells that need to be put to use somewhere.
The older leafs look like a good project to put some extra battery into and stick some solar panels onto the roof. Any experience out there?

Punx0r   10 GW

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Re: Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Post by Punx0r » Nov 13 2017 4:51am

Yes, google "Nissan leaf double battery"

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Hwy89   1 kW

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Re: Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Post by Hwy89 » Nov 14 2017 12:51am

I was looking for more of a DIY solution. There are several youtube videos where people have added 18650 packs that were not too successful and didn't follow up with newer videos explaining how the problems were solved.
I was hoping an ES member had done an upgrade.

dirkdiggler   10 kW

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Re: Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Post by dirkdiggler » Jan 08 2018 3:08pm

I'm in the same boat with wanting to add capacity to an older e-vehicle. It happens all the time here for bikes, but cars seem to be a totally different story. I've seen the 2014 Ford E-focus sell for $8k with only 20k miles. If I could buy two and hobble them together it would make for a great vehicle. I want at least 150 miles of range and don't care if the back seat is just full of batteries. I was hoping Arlo would have something by now with his project car. I personally don't want to mess with the voltages and amps of electric car battery systems. Probably just cheaper/better to get an older Tesla with a gazillion miles on it. I saw a 2012 MS 60 listed for $30k with over a hundred thousand miles a while back. Is it worth taking the chance? Maybe in a few years we'll have more options.

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Re: Anybody ever added battery capacity to Nissan Leaf?

Post by IssacZachary » Mar 07 2018 2:44pm

Yes. Many have. Take a look at this guy on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztejn3Y ... EyGCAKRlS1

There are several ways to do it.
  1. The easiest way is to make an auxiliary battery that has the same voltage as the Leaf's traction battery (96 Li ion in series IIRC). Then connect that to the main bus in parallel anytime the Leaf's battery is connected. A few things that will also help with this setup is
    1. Make sure the voltages of the auxiliary battery and the main bus are the same before connecting the auxiliary battery.
    2. Never let the auxiliary battery stay connected to the main bus when the Leaf's traction battery's main contactors are opened.
    3. With this setup you'll need to have your own way of balancing the auxiliary battery's cells.
  2. Another option would be to open up the main traction battery and replace or aument the Leaf's cells with more capacity cells. The Leaf's battery isn't very energy dense, and with the right cells replacing the Leaf's cells you could fill up the battery case with 40 to 50kWh of them. Then you could sell the Leaf's cell modules on eBay or use them for something else. The Leaf's battery management system will adapt to the added capacity and give you more range. While doing this you could also add some sort of thermal management system, since the Leaf lacks such a system.
  3. A third option is to add a second Leaf BMS with it's own battery and have a way to switch between battery systems. However, I understand that the Leaf needs to be paired with any replacement BMS, so this may be difficult.
Personally I'm conteplating doing either number 1 or number 2 to my Leaf, with number 2 as being the best option since I could add more capacity and a thermal management system without a big weight and space penalty. However, my main drawback to doing number 2 is the need to find a very large supply of 18650's for a reasonable price, whereas with number 1 I could technically build an auxiliary battery little by little and still be able to use it as it grows. With number 1 or number 3 that extra battery could even end up being put on a trailer and towed behind the Leaf whenever I need more range. With number 3, that trailer could also be left at a charging station while I drive around town in the Leaf, then come back, get the trailer and keep going.

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