Removing the Nissan LEAF cells

by Ben N on March 18, 2015

Whew, what a day!

After doing what I needed to for the day for work, I set to taking the cover off the Nissan LEAF battery pack to start to strip out the cell modules.

The cover came off pretty easy, just a whole pile of 10mm bolts around the perimeter, 4 13mm bolts on the corner, and then 6 “tamper-resistant” screws, which were no match for my “Tools of Warranty Breaking”.

Once the cover was off, it was time for actual safety, as the voltage inside the pack is easily high enough to kill a person. I donned my black rubber gloves and safety glasses and did not taunt even a single orange cable. The interior of the pack is laid out simple enough, with three main areas of 12, 12, and 24 cell modules.

I carefully disconnected a few bus bars, unplugged some low-voltage sensor wires, and then set to work removing the nuts that held each of the three sections of modules in place. Once I had the first one unbolted, I used my chain hoist to pull the battery section straight up out of the case. I then had to carefully swing it over and lower it down NOT back in to the case.

I repeated this with the second section, this time first locating a non-conductive lifting-strap.  God bless that lifting strap, these batteries are heavy!

The third block of the pack is 24 modules, which is actually HALF the pack. I unbolted everything, lifted it straight up, and then pulled the entire battery case out from under it, then set it back down.

It was a pretty exciting couple hours of work, and I even managed to neither electrocute myself, nor drop 600 lbs of batteries on my foot. I think my wife has happy about that.

I also measured the voltage on the three sections and added them up for 394V, or 8.2V per module, 4.1V per cell, which is fully charged. The poor guy who crashed the car this battery came out of must have just left his driveway on a fresh charge when it happened!

That’s it for now. Of course it was more work that just what I said in this brief update, but I was also shooting video, so watch that for all the details.

Stay charged up!
-Ben

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Taking apart a Nissan LEAF Battery for fun and profit - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com
March 23, 2015 at 10:03 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Randy March 18, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Ben,

Those look like the same cells that were in the Better Place pack I purchased from EVTV. I will be real interested in how many amp hours are in them as it seems like the Better Place cells had lost between 5 and 10 amp hours and had between 55 and 60 amp hours from discharge to fully charged.

Randy

2 Ben N. March 20, 2015 at 8:14 am

The car these came from was real low mileage, so I expect the cells to be very good!

3 John M March 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Do you know what year the Leaf was? And what part of the country it cam from?
Being from Phoenix, I am curious about the pack cooling issues as it appears, consistent with the internet postings, that there is no cooling mechanism for the pack. It also looks like it would be very difficult to retrofit a cooling/heating mechanism into the pack.

4 admin March 23, 2015 at 10:31 am

The LEAF was a 2013. There is no cooling mechanism in the pack. It is simply sealed with a very nice rubber gasket. The case and internal structural components are all steel. Based on the location of the salvage yard, what I have learned about the salvage industry, my knowledge of state tax incentives, and several long conversations with people in the industry, I believe that this LEAF was from Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

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