Everything You Need to Know About the Nissan LEAF Battery

Man charging a Nissan LEAF battery

The Nissan LEAF is one of the most popular all-electric vehicles on the market and is a more affordable alternative to the Tesla and other higher-end electric cars. But because its battery specs vary by model year, Nissan LEAF owners need to be sure that the car they choose has the right battery capacity and range for their lifestyle.

Drivers should also be aware of the expected battery lifespan and the cost to replace it. While complete battery failure is rare, all lithium-ion batteries lose capacity over time, and they can cost thousands of dollars to replace.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the capacity and range of the Nissan LEAF battery for model years 2015 to 2021, as well as estimated replacement costs.

Nissan LEAF Battery Capacity and Range

The Nissan LEAF has been available in North America since 2010, but we’re focusing on models from 2015 onward, because the battery went through a significant upgrade that year.

Like most electric cars, the LEAF has a lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged by plugging it into an electrical outlet or charging station. It also recharges while you’re driving by using a technology called regenerative braking.

The 2015 LEAF has a battery capacity of 24 kilowatt-hours (relatively small by today’s standards) and a driving range of 84 miles. The 2018 model’s capacity increased to 40 kWh and 151 miles of range, while the 2019-2021 models offer two options: a 40 kWh battery or a 62 kWh battery pack with up to 226 miles of range.

You can compare the battery capacity, range, and charging times by model year here:

Year Battery Capacity Range Charge Time (240v) Charge Time (440v)
2015 24 kWh 84 miles 5 hours 30 min
2016 24-30 kWh 84-107 miles 5-6 hours 30 min
2017 30 kWh 107 miles 6 hours 30 min
2018 40 kWh 151 miles 8 hours 45 min
2019 40-62 kWh 150-226 miles 8-11 hours 45 min to 1 hour
2020 40-62 kWh 150-226 miles 8-11 hours 45 min to 1 hour
2021 40-62 kWh 150-226 miles 8-11 hours 45 min to 1 hour

Battery Differences by Trim

2021 Nissan LEAF trim levels

The 2021 LEAF also comes in several different trims, ranging from the S to the SL PLUS. You’ll have different charging options depending on which trim you choose.

The Nissan LEAF S is the most affordable trim, with an MSRP of $31,670. The battery pack takes around seven hours to charge using a standard 240-volt charger, while DC fast charging is an optional upgrade.

The S PLUS costs $38,270 and has the most range (226 miles) while the SV PLUS and SL PLUS cost more (up to $43,970) but have slightly less range (215 miles). All of these come standard with DC fast charging capabilities.

If you’re buying a used electric car, then you’ll want to confirm which battery capacity and charging options are available for that model year.

How Long Do Nissan LEAF Batteries Last?

The battery is one of the most important components of any electric car, so Nissan LEAF owners, like all EV owners, should be concerned about battery life. Smaller batteries tend to have a shorter lifespan because they go through more charging cycles.

According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the first generation LEAF could lose around a quarter of its capacity after five years of use or 50,000 miles. This means that after 10 years of driving, it may no longer hold a sufficient charge.

Fortunately, newer LEAF models have improved battery technology with a larger capacity.

Now, Nissan executives believe that the Nissan LEAF battery pack could last for decades and even outlive the car itself. They could be recycled or repurposed for another use, such as a solar energy storage system to power a home.

What’s Covered Under Warranty?

If your Nissan LEAF battery does break down within the first few years of ownership, you aren’t totally out of luck. All new EVs sold in the U.S. are covered by a standard 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery pack.

This is in addition to Nissan’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty, which covers most other vehicle components, but only lasts for 3 years or 36,000 miles. The LEAF also comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain and electric vehicle system.

Before relying on your warranty, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered. Nissan’s warranty defines capacity loss as having “below 9 bars of capacity (out of 12) as shown on the Nissan LEAF’s capacity gauge.”

This means a slight loss of capacity won’t guarantee you a replacement battery pack. Your coverage may also vary if you’ve purchased a used car or a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership since any existing warranty may not be transferred.

Nissan LEAF Battery Replacement Costs

If you run into trouble with your battery after your warranty has expired, you may have no choice but to pay for a replacement out of pocket. Unfortunately, there’s no MSRP for new battery packs, so the replacement cost will vary depending on where you’re located and which mechanic you hire to repair it.

Estimates range from a few thousand dollars to as much as $8,000 for a replacement battery — which may be higher than your LEAF’s current market value.

Not every EV owner will have to replace their battery pack, but keep this possibility in mind before purchasing a LEAF. You may decide that the overall lifetime savings of driving an EV make it worth the risk.

If you’re considering a used LEAF, be sure to test the battery capacity before you buy to reduce your chances of battery failure or battery degradation.

How to Take Care of Your Nissan LEAF Battery

Man with an early model Nissan LEAF

Finally, no matter how old your Nissan LEAF is, there are a few steps you can take to make the battery last longer.

Charge Your EV Battery Wisely

First, avoid DC fast charging and use a 240-volt home charging station when possible. By charging your battery more slowly overnight, you can extend your battery life.

Also, try to avoid draining your battery or overcharging it. While it might be tempting to keep your battery at 100%, it will be healthiest between 20% and 80% capacity.

Keep Your Car Cool

The biggest downside to the Nissan LEAF battery is its lack of active thermal management, which works to keep the battery cool. Newer LEAFs have a “passive” thermal management system, which cools the battery slightly by allowing air to run over it while the car moves, but they lack the liquid system more advanced EVs like Tesla offer.

So if you want to get the longest battery life, you can go the extra mile and store your LEAF in a garage or undercover parking area to better protect your battery from the external temperatures.

While cold temperatures can impact your car’s ability to hold a charge in the short term, it’s hot weather that will do the most damage to your battery pack.

Drive Smoothly

The LEAF’s regenerative braking system is designed to capture kinetic energy from the brakes that would otherwise be wasted.

To make the most of this system, avoid hard braking and sudden acceleration. Driving steadily and smoothly will put less wear and tear on your battery and brake pads and will lower your driving costs by conserving more energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the 2021 LEAF’s annual fuel costs are $600, and it costs $1.02 to drive 25 miles.

How Does the Nissan LEAF Battery Compare?

Ultimately, the Nissan LEAF battery is comparable to other EVs in its price range, such as the Chevrolet Bolt, but less powerful than higher-end models like the Tesla Model S.

For example, the 2021 Chevy Bolt has a similar battery capacity of 66 kWh and a range of 259 miles, with pricing options starting at $36,500.

The Tesla Model S, on the other hand, has a battery capacity of 100 kWh and a range of 387 to 520 miles — but it’s more than twice the price at $69,420.

You’ll have to do the math and decide how much battery capacity you need and how much you’re willing to spend for it. If you’re on a budget, then buying a used Nissan LEAF can be a great way to own a modern EV at an affordable price point.

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