New Nissan Leaf EV battery tipped to give 249-mile range

The Nissan Leaf might have been shoved out of the spotlight by Tesla's Model S electric vehicle, but it could very well hog all the attention again when and if Renault-Nissan makes the formal announcement of the new battery indicated by insider sources. An unnamed Nissan engineer tipped that a technological breakthrough has allowed them to make an EV battery that his not only lighter and cheaper than the current model, but also has double the capacity, theoretically boosting the Leaf's range to 400 kilometers or 249 miles.

That range jump is quite impressive considering the Leaf's current stats. It was still back in 2012 when Nissan upped the Leaf's 124-mile range to 142 miles on a single charge, and without using air conditioning. In comparison, the new battery would double the distance the EV could travel, without increasing the load on the Leaf. And that's just for Leaf-sized electric cars, as those bigger and smaller would be able to squeeze out different performance.

Batteries, of course, are the bottle neck of battery-powered vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S. The race to selling the best EVs is tantamount to a race of who can squeeze out the most mileage out of a battery. Tesla, through Elon Musk, has long been making headlines about its battery plans, which lead to a partnership with Panasonic to build a "gigafactory" now believed to be located in Nevada. Nissan apparently has been silently working on its own battery R&D to produce one that would come close to the Model S' own range.

No word yet on when this new battery innovation will come out, but CEO Carlos Ghosn practically admitted on Japanese TV that the new Leaf battery would indeed cover that distance. But while it is putting a lot of money on electric vehicles, Nissan is also looking towards to hydrogen fuel cell technology, together with industry rivals Daimler and Ford.

VIA: Autoblog