Over 8,200 people have made online reservations in the past month for the upcoming Nissan Leaf EV, and for good reason. The $33,000 vehicle, set to be released later this year, is the first affordable all-electric vehicle from a major auto manufacturer. It's an early adopter's dream. Now Nissan has revealed the secret behind the Leaf's reasonable price: an ultra-cheap battery pack.
While most lithium-ion batteries cost $1000 to $1,200 per kWh, the Leaf's 24 kWh battery pack costs just $9,000 to produce, or $375 per kWh, according to a report in the Times of London. In comparison, the Chevy Volt battery pack reportedly costs $600 per kWh, and even the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium only has a goal of producing batteries at $400 per kWh by mid-decade.
So what gives? If the report is correct, Nissan could revolutionize the EV battery industry--assuming it will share its technology with other automakers. We still have our doubts, though, that this too-good-to-be-true pricing scheme is real. Nissan hasn't yet responded to our request for comment.