Hundreds, not thousands.
That's the word from Nissan's chief vice-president of global marketing communications, Simon Sproule, who believes that after five years of repeated use, the battery pack in the Nissan Leaf may require some maintenance, but not complete replacement.
Nissan states that after five years (or 60,000 miles) of use, the Leaf's battery pack will still retain at least 80 percent of its original 24-kWh capacity. But if the pack dips below that 80-percent threshold, then Nissan says individual module swap outs – not entire battery pack replacements – will be the most likely solution. Sproule stated:
There's been a lot of debate online about the replacement cost of the battery and it's very unlikely that anyone's going to have to replace the entire battery pack. Typically people will need to replace modules and we can open up the battery pack and do that. There's been a lot of chatter online about tens of thousands of dollars or euros to replace a whole battery pack, but really you want to focus on the modules and these will be in the hundreds, not the thousands.
As for the common concern that daily use of a quick-charge (Level 3) station will degrade battery life, Sproule responded:
If someone uses the fast charging system every day, they would be doing more than 200 miles [daily] and on an annual basis that would be over 70,000 miles. There aren't many people that drive 70,000 miles a year in any car so it's an unlikely scenario that someone would be fast charging every day. The constant heavy recharge cycle is the extreme and we engineer for the extreme but the reality day-to-day will be nowhere near that.
Looks like Sproule has his hands full dispelling Nissan Leaf myths.