A new battery replacement for the Nissan Leaf, the world’s top-selling electric car, will cost more than double of past estimates according to industry experts and figures obtained by The Times.
The news was released in the most recent episode of Top Gear, which saw Jeremy Clarkson and James May testing two electric cars in normal everyday use. Clarkson’s car, the Leaf, ran out of power in Lincoln, and had to be pushed to a university as there are no public charge points in the city.
Upon further investigation by the pair, they found after having spoken to an industry insider that if the owners of the vehicles are to repeatedly use fast-charge points, the battery’s capacity and lifespan can decrease significantly.
That means that owners of the car could face bills up to half of the value of their car again, in as short a time as five years.
Revelation of these shocking figures is a damaging blow for electric cars, meaning the switch from fossil fuels to electric motoring will be even slower than the Government predicted. However, owners of an electric car would save money as the cost of petrol rises.
Although 2011 was declared as Britain’s ‘Year of the Electric Car’, only 680 of the vehicles have been bought this year. This is despite the Government providing £5000 towards the purchase price of the vehicles, which will see 8600 buyers receive a total of £43million.
Nissan has reportedly admitted that the owners of the £31,000 Nissan Leaf (or £26,000 after the Government grant) may need to replace the battery after a few years depending on how individuals have charged their cars.
The lithium ion battery that is used in the Leaf is made up of 48 modules. A Nissan spokesman said that each module would cost £404 to replace, bringing a total price of £19,392 for the entire battery pack.
However Nissan feel that most owners should not need a new battery for at least ten years as they feel the vehicles should only be used for short journeys.
By Ben Malkin
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