If a report in the Times of London is accurate, it would go a long way toward explaining Nissan's claims that the Leaf electric car will be profitable at just $33,000. The report, which focuses mainly on Nissan executive Andy Palmer, states that the 24 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack for the EV costs only £6,000 (about $9,000) to produce. That works out to just $375 per kWh, a figure that no one else in the industry is currently claiming is possible.

Most cost estimates for current automotive lithium ion batteries are in the $1,000-1,200 / kWh range. General Motors has not revealed the cost of the battery for the Chevrolet Volt, but executives have hinted at a production cost of approximately $600 / kWh. The U.S. Advanced Battery consortium has a target of $400 by mid-decade.

If Nissan is truly able to produce the Leaf battery at such a low cost, that would be a major breakthrough. Unlike the Volt's pack and some other batteries, which are liquid cooled, Nissan is using air cooling for the Leaf pack which would reduce cost a bit but certainly not anywhere close to these figures. Nissan has not yet responded to a request for further comment.

[Source: Times of London]