Nissan LEAF Battery Upgrade

J1000

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Morrison, CO
I met a new friend Scott through the EV world. He is a member of the Denver Electric Vehicle Council and has been helping me with some of my electric projects. He has a 2012 Nissan LEAF with terrible battery degradation. The early LEAFs suffer badly from degradation and his LEAF was down to only 25 miles range maximum!

Since I had an extra battery I helped him upgrade his LEAF! It was actually pretty easy. The old battery unbolted and came out easy and the new one went in easy. Since he had an early car we had to make some modifications to the BMS wiring and install a CAN-Bridge, both of which were also straightforward and easy.

We put a 2016 24kwh battery in his car with about 85% health. Also with the CAN-Bridge he can program it to charge to a higher voltage than stock unlocking a few more miles.

This opens up so many possibilities for the early LEAF cars. Even a brand new 2021 62kwh battery will bolt in and work! Also the 2021 200hp inverter can be installed in the early LEAFs doubling their horsepower! This is certainly easier than swapping an engine or transmission in a normal car! Although a normal car tends to get more than 85,000 miles before they require overhauls like this.

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His old pack, badly out of balance and really bad stats. Down to 30 Ah from 60 originally!

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New battery, nicely balanced and much better stats of 50Ah and 80% State of Health (SOH)

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The car came alive and it worked with no error codes! The battery was only 60% charged but still he had more miles than the car has been able to drive for the past 2 years! Also it unlocked the 4 "regen bubbles" increasing his available regenerative braking that had been limited by the old battery.

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Fully charged after some spirited driving and it's showing 78 miles. Should be able to get 85-90 miles easily with normal driving!

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So now after all this work his LEAF is back to the range it had new :ROFLMAO:
 

DouglasVB

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Reminds me of stories from my dad back in the 60s and 70s with old cars he drove that needed major overhauls pretty frequently. Even growing up we had a 1971 Ford pickup that needed a new head gasket every 10,000 miles like clockwork. And a water pump every 25,000 miles.
 

60wag

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So how does the SOH % relate to the 12 segment battery health meter on the dash? It looks like the new battery is showing 12 bars. Does the software you are using to look at the battery require the CANbus? Can you re-balance a battery or is it just a function of how degraded it is?
 

J1000

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Messages
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Location
Morrison, CO
So how does the SOH % relate to the 12 segment battery health meter on the dash? It looks like the new battery is showing 12 bars. Does the software you are using to look at the battery require the CANbus? Can you re-balance a battery or is it just a function of how degraded it is?
Yes you are correct the SOH doesn't match the 12/12 bars. The meter should recalibrate itself over the next few thousand miles and probably end up at 10/12 which is what the donor vehicle had. For whatever reason the dashboard meter takes much longer to recalibrate itself. Basically when pairing the new battery we wiped out all the stored battery data on the vehicle side so it's starting from the factory settings.

And yes it's just degraded, there's no way to get any capacity back. The 2015+ LEAFs have better chemistry that doesn't degrade as fast as the earlier cars but they still have a limited lifespan.

The CAN-bridge can be programed to charge to 4.2v per cell (stock is 4.1v) which is what the newer LEAFs charge to. That should unlock slightly more range.
 

60wag

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My 2013 has 34,000 miles on it and shows 11/12 bars, it hasn't changed since I got it 2 years ago. It'll do 80 miles on a full charge but I rarely charge it more than 80% to extend the battery life. Interesting that the regenerative function changes with battery health. Will you have regenerative braking on the 80?
 

J1000

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Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
900
Location
Morrison, CO
My 2013 has 34,000 miles on it and shows 11/12 bars, it hasn't changed since I got it 2 years ago. It'll do 80 miles on a full charge but I rarely charge it more than 80% to extend the battery life. Interesting that the regenerative function changes with battery health. Will you have regenerative braking on the 80?
That's pretty dang good actually to still have 11 bars on a 2013. The low miles and 80% charge definitely help. Yes the EV LC will have 3 different levels of regen to choose from.
 
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