Given proper care and gentle use, a Nissan LEAF’s battery is capable of lasting up to 10 years (and depending on how much you want to drive per charge, maybe even longer). However, most EVs lose a little over 2% of their battery capacity per year to degradation on average. The Nissan LEAF is no exception. Eventually, all Nissan LEAF batteries (like any other batteries) will reach an unusable state of charge.
Battery replacement on some EVs is more of a headache than it’s worth, but it turns out that battery pack replacement for a Nissan LEAF is not as complicated as you’d think.
So how do you know that a Nissan LEAF’s lithium-ion battery needs to be replaced? In this article, we’ll walk you through signs of poor battery performance, the Nissan LEAF battery warranty, how much it costs to replace the battery on a Nissan LEAF, and things to consider if you plan to buy a used Nissan Leaf.
When Should You Replace A Nissan LEAF’s Battery?
Note: we’re going to spend most of this article assuming you are a Nissan LEAF owner already. However, a lot of this battery info is still important if you are considering buying a used Nissan LEAF, so read on!
While the Nissan LEAF has proven itself over the years to be a great little entry-level EV, the battery life on a Nissan LEAF can degrade past a usable number within the lifetime of the car. This is true especially if the car has been subjected to less than ideal environmental conditions. A few signs that your Nissan Leaf battery may need to be replaced include:
- A loss of range, resulting in full charge being less than 9 bars out of 12 (only holds 70-75% of the original charge) in less than 8 years / 100,00 miles
- Reduction of range that’s past the point of useability for your needs when the LEAF is more than 8 years or 100,000 miles
- Problems charging, loss of over 5-10% of range in a short period of time (such as a few weeks or months), or inability to hold any charge
We’d like to note here that replacing the battery on a Nissan LEAF is not necessarily a job for the DIYer. All EV batteries are dangerous to work with and typically require automotive technicians that work on these high voltage battery systems to undergo special certification or training. There are kits for LEAF battery swaps available, but the actual job should still be done by an EV-focused auto shop.
If your Nissan LEAF’s battery is struggling, the best first step in getting the problem fixed is to see if you’ve still got warranty coverage:
Nissan LEAF Battery Warranty
There are two kinds of battery warranty coverage for a Nissan LEAF:
First, terms of the Lithium-Ion Battery Coverage are mainly concerned with the original components and installation of the Leaf’s battery pack. For things like materials defects and poor workmanship, this portion of the LEAF’s warranty guarantees battery replacement for up to 8 years or 100,000 miles.
Note: While 8 years / 100,000 miles might sound like a generous amount of coverage on Nissan’s part, we’d like to point out that this is the minimum amount of coverage manufacturer’s must offer on EV batteries as mandated by US federal law. Not saying anything against Nissan here; we’d simply like to point out that all EV manufacturers must provide this amount of coverage for EV battery tech.
The Nissan LEAF’s Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity Coverage is a little different. This part of the warranty is more concerned with the range performance of the battery, and it can be trickier to figure out. The capacity warranty lasts just as long as the battery pack warranty—8 years or 100,000 miles—but it guarantees replacement for the loss of usable range or unusual battery degradation.
For the 2021 Nissan Leaf, this range loss is defined as “less than 9 segments of range at full charge” (which amounts to more than a 25% decrease in capacity).
In other words, if your LEAF has fewer than 100,000 miles on it and is less than 8 years old, you may be able to get a poorly performing battery replaced at no charge. In 2023, the 2016-2023 Nissan LEAF models under 100,000 miles should still have some warranty coverage. However, there are a few caveats:
- Warranty does not cover battery issues stemming from damage, either from road debris or other puncture
- Battery problems in LEAFs that are kept in excessive heat (temps over 120℉ for more than 24 hours) or cold (-13℉ for more than 7 days) are also not covered
- Warranty is also revoked if you let the battery drop to a low or empty state of charge for more than 2 weeks
- If your LEAF has the 24 kWh battery pack, capacity is only covered by warranty for 60 months (5 years) or 60,000 miles. The capacity coverage on these packs will already have expired.
You can check out more warranty terms and conditions for each model year of the Nissan LEAF on Nissan’s website.
Fun fact: the current warranty battery replacement for a Nissan LEAF will be a 40 kWh pack for either the 30 kWh or 40kWh version of the LEAF (the other small packs should be out of warranty). This basically means that Nissan is done manufacturing and installing the 30 kWh pack (we’ve read that it had problems with added heat degradation thanks to its rapid charging ability) and any warranty replacement gets a free upgrade to the 40 kWh pack.
While you are investigating the warranty clauses for a Nissan LEAF battery replacement, you might also want to check on your LEAF’s recall status. There have been a few recalls in the past affecting the LEAF’s battery function. If your LEAF was part of the recall, the repair for the recall issue will also be free of charge.
How Much Does Nissan LEAF Battery Replacement Cost?
Let’s take a quick look at the five battery sizes the Nissan LEAF has had since 2011:
- 2011-2017 Nissan LEAF: 24 kWh
- 2016 Nissan LEAF: 30 kWh
- 2018-Present Nissan LEAF: 40 kWh
- Nissan LEAF PLus (up to 2022): 62 kWh
- 2023 Nissan LEAF Plus: 60 kWh
The price of a replacement LEAF battery currently hovers around $3,500-$4,500 for the 30 kWh battery, and $3,000-$5,000 for the 24 kWh battery. We’re not 100% sure why these are still so expensive; it’s possible that since Nissan doesn’t use them anymore, scarcity may be driving up the price. These replacement batteries won’t be new; most 24 kWh and 30 kWh replacements are either going to be gently used (salvage) or refurbished Nissan LEAF batteries.
Nissan is currently using two larger battery packs in the LEAF: the 40 kWh pack and the 62 kWh pack. You can expect replacement costs for these packs at about $6,500-$7,500 for the 40 kWh battery and $8,500-$9,500 for the 62 kWh LEAF battery.
Since the 60 kWh pack is new and has actual changes to battery chemistry from previous versions, all we can do is guess at the price. But likely a replacement for the 60 kWh pack would cost somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.
Labor for battery work like this may cost around $1,000, so a full replacement for a Nissan Leaf battery could cost anywhere from $4,500-$16,000 depending on the pack size and manufacturing year of the replacement.
Can I Get a Bigger Battery for My Nissan Leaf?
We’ve definitely heard stories about LEAF owners who increased their range by installing a bigger battery pack, especially for the older models. So yes, in most cases you can upgrade the battery on the Nissan LEAF.
However, it may take some time for a shop to source your new (or gently used) battery pack. We’ve heard of delays of up to several months just for LEAF battery warranty work, and getting the right battery pack to upgrade your LEAF may require some patience.
The nice thing about the LEAF battery packs is that most are interchangeable. It’s not as easy as just swapping one out and plugging in another, but you won’t need to have extensive modifications made to change packs.
So let’s talk about which cars can actually get a battery upgrade:
The 62 kWh pack is currently the largest that Nissan uses, and for a LEAF already sporting the maximum pack size, there isn’t a larger option yet to swap for. However, as the pack degrades, replacing it with a smaller refurbished or gently used pack could potentially be an option, so that’s something to keep in mind.
As for the 60 kWh pack, we’re still waiting to see whether or not this newest LEAF battery is as swap-friendly as previous iterations. We’ll keep you posted.
For a Nissan LEAF with a 40 kWh battery pack, replacement with a fresh 40 kWh is usually the best way to go. Upgrading to the 62 kWh battery pack is possible, but the labor cost is likely to be higher since the shape and weight of the 62 kWh pack changed from previous pack profiles.
With the exception of the 2011 to early 2012 Nissan LEAF (which require some extra customized adapters and plugs to complete a battery upgrade), the 24 kWh and 30 kWh packs can be swapped out for the 40 kWh pack at a fairly reasonable price.
If you have one of these older packs and are wanting a LEAF with more range than the 40 kWh pack can provide, it might be a good time to consider buying a new Nissan LEAF Plus and offsetting the cost by selling your used Nissan LEAF.
Here is an interesting video from YouTube user “Dala’s EV Repair” that covers a DIY/budget Nissan Leaf battery replacement options:
Can Nissan Leaf Batteries be Recycled?
We know that the issue of battery recycling is on every environmentally-conscious mind as the world transitions to EVs. Most batteries can be recycled, after a fashion, with about 95% of their component parts salvageable for re-use in manufacturing.
So where do Nissan LEAF batteries go when they’ve been retired? While Nissan doesn’t have a recycling program that reclaims materials from their batteries, they’ve advocated from the beginning for another way to extend their batteries’ useful lives: repurposing.
Nissan LEAF batteries that no longer have enough energy to usefully power a car still have enough capacity for other applications. Reused LEAF batteries have been powering residential homes, used as emergency energy in disaster zones, and have even been integrated into solar farms for energy storage.
When the LEAF battery modules are completely spent, there are a number of companies out there that will strip them down for their usable component parts.
Should You Buy a Used Nissan LEAF?
Since the LEAF has been on the road for over a decade, it’s quite possible to find a pre-owned Nissan LEAF for a decent price. And if the battery of an older LEAF no longer holds it’s best charge, the relative ease of swapping out LEAF battery packs makes the LEAF a decent option for a patient EV enthusiast (we have mentioned this already, but supply chain issues can delay a LEAF battery replacement by up to several months).
We’d also say that used Nissan LEAFs with more recent model years can bring a hesitant EV adopter some peace of mind with their reasonable warranty of the Lithium-Ion Battery and Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity. While it’s best to know some of a used LEAF’s environment, use, and owner’s charging habits, the warranty can give you some insurance against unknowns in the history of the car.
Check our used EV listings section today to see if any are currently used LEAFs available! And if the LEAF is only one EV among many that you are considering, we’ve got you covered.