2010 Nissan Leaf - Click above for high-res image gallery
If the ranges offered by the upcoming Nissan and Renault electric cars aren't as long as you'd like, you'll be pleased to learn they should double by 2015. Nissan is just about done developing an energy storage cell that has twice the capacity of their current batteries. Focusing their research efforts on the positive electrode, they have added cobalt and nickel to the manganese they already use which yields them a (breathe) lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode battery or, if you like, NMC for short. This would only be marginally good news if the cost of the new power pack also doubled but we're assured that this is not the case. The manufacturing process is quite similar and the expensive cobalt is used quite sparingly so the outlay should be close to that of their current chemistry. This all fits in with Nissan's electric vehicle introduction strategy.
Nissan isn't the only company developing NMC either. Other battery-makers working with the same materials are said to include Panasonic, Sanyo, Hitachi, GS Yuasa, Samsung, EnerDel, Kokam, Evonik/Litarion, Enax, and Imara. With such a dramatic increase only a few short years away, we can't help but wonder how this may effect attitudes towards battery leasing models in the near term. Relieve our curiosity with your comments after the break.
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[Source: Green Car Congress]