Nissan is set to start selling its Leaf electric car this year, and in order to turn a profit on the model, seeks to cut the cost of their Li battery packs to under $370 per kilowatt-hour. The Li battery, which stores 24 kilowatt-hours of energy, is the most expensive component of the Leaf, which is set to sell for $32,780 in the U.S., and over 3.5 million yen in Japan, before government incentives.
The Leaf comes in response to government emissions rules recently put in place, and anticipated rising oil prices. Nissan introduced the car to its lineup as a means of staying competitive in the alternative fuels segment, as they currently offer no electric-gas hybrids. Nissan”s current battery cost is $472 per kilowatt-hour. In order to secure a profit on the vehicle, other indirect costs must be kept to under 35% of the total MSRP.
Nissan plans to spend about 430 billion yen in R&D this fiscal year, so that they can offer substantial competition to the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. CEO Carlos Ghosn said this week that he aims to have the capacity to put out 500,000 electric cars per year by 2012.
Refresher: Power for the Nissan Leaf comes from a 107-hp electric-motor that runs on power supplied by lithium-ion cells. On a full-charge, the Nissan Leaf allows for a driving range of 100 miles with a top speed of 87 mph. A full charge takes up to 8 hours on a standard 200V outlet. Buyers can opt for the DC 50kW quick-charger, which recharges the battery up to 80 percent in under 30 minutes.
2011 Nissan Leaf:
– By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)