Nissan Leaf Battery Upgrade Guide

What are the options for replacing the battery in a Nissan Leaf?

March 31, 2024       10 min read
nissan leaf mountain 1

Most conversations about EV batteries fall into two extremes:

  1. “Someone, somewhere, is upgrading and recycling all the batteries.”
  2. “Landfills are filling up with huge EV batteries.”

Neither is correct.

But the good news is that in the last few years, many industrial-grade Lithium-ion recyclers have appeared worldwide – harvesting up to 95% of battery materials.

Nissan Leaf’s battery issue

There are over 23,000 Nissan Leafs in NZ (and counting).

The LEAF is one of the first mass-market EVs, and its batteries degrade more than newer-generation EVs (a lack of active cooling being the main culprit).

It’s emerging that the earlier models (24 kWh and 30 kWh) suffer from more degradation. Data from FliptheFleet shows that the newer 40 kWh Leafs are not following the same degradation curve.

Battery lifecycle

  1. New battery in a Leaf with maximum range.
  2. Battery degrades until no longer viable (range gets too low).
  3. Battery removed and modules sold on the aftermarket for reuse as an energy storage system.
  4. Replacement battery installed in Leaf (either from existing Leaf, completely new battery, or all modules replaced).
  5. Once the reused modules are no longer viable, batteries must be recycled to obtain valuable metals.

Assessing Leaf battery health

Battery health can be estimated by looking at the dashboard bars.

Here’s a 2014 24 kWh Leaf

Currently at 10 bars. Compare with the Leaf Spy data further down.

This doesn’t provide much detail, so a tool called Leaf Spy is used.

What is Leaf Spy?

A group of enthusiasts reverse-engineered data from the LEAFs OBD (onboard diagnosis) port.

They made an app to interpret the data and called it Leaf Spy. It has an awkward user interface but is helpful.

Leaf Spy requires a special Bluetooth attachment that plugs into the OBD port.

Leaf Spy is not an official Nissan product, but allows more insight into battery health.

Interpreting Leaf Spy

There are a few things to look for.

SOH or SOC? 🤔

State of Health and State of Charge.

It’s easy to mix these two up.

We don’t care about SoC – it is simply the percentage charge already shown on the LEAF’s dashboard.

  1. SOH – State of Health (%)
    This number shows the battery’s capacity compared to when it was new.
  2. QC – Quick Charges
    Should be called Number of DC Fast Charges.
    Lots of DC charging increases stress on a lithium-ion battery. Again, newer EVs have sophisticated management systems that manage the DC charging curve to protect the battery.

Most other numbers on the app are the subject of interpretation.

The same 2014 24 kWh Leaf

This vehicle is 8 years old. Despite having many QCs (all in Japan before import), the battery has held up quite well.

Leaf Spy Pro example

What are all the red bars? Something bad? 📊

The graph shows the voltage level of each cell pair in the battery.

Red bars show cell pairs actively transferring energy to balance the battery.

It’s not something to worry about.

Battery removal and replacement

There are no large-scale systems exist for LEAF battery replacement in New Zealand.

Enough vehicles are being scrapped (i.e. written off by insurers) to ensure a steady supply of batteries that can be installed into other vehicles.

Contact one of the companies listed below who can do the install.

DIY? Dala’s EV repair (European) has open-sourced a lot of info about battery upgrades. See the wiki here, videos here – including an upgrade to a 62 kWh battery.

How much does an EV battery replacement cost?

Prices quoted by EVs Enhanced (checked at December 2023)

  • $5000 NZD (going from 24 kWh 55% SoH to 24 kWh 75% SoH).
  • $10,000 NZD (going from 24 kWh 55% to 30 kWh at 85% SoH)

Used Leaf batteries

NissinKing Partsworld – Secondhand Leaf batteries range in price from $3,000 – $13,000 (for 2018- models).

New Zealand businesses that change Leaf batteries

  • iTech Automotive (Auckland) – focused predominantly on servicing batteries in hybrids. Although there is mention of Leaf replacement.
  • EV Parts NZ (Auckland) .
  • Blue Cars (Auckland) can provide new modules. This is not necessarily a complete battery replacement, although there is mention of attempts at a solution.
  • EV Parts Guy (Hamilton) – actively bringing in batteries.
  • EVs Enhanced (Christchurch) do battery swaps.
    EVs enhanced designed a new 40 kWh LFP battery for the Leaf – called the 16 Blade. Unfortunately, it was uneconomic to bring it to market.
  • EV-lution (Dunedin) offers solar, custom-made batteries for home and Nissan Leaf battery replacements. They also do EV car conversions.
  • Control Focus (Dunedin)


Several Chinese distributors offer the export of Leaf batteries into New Zealand. Even if these companies are legitimate (and not a scam), there are major issues with after-sales support.

The Consumer Guarantees Act would not cover the purchase, and, even if the company offers a ‘warranty’, this would be extremely difficult to enact.

If faulty cells were discovered in the battery pack, it would be at the consumer’s cost to get the battery dismantled and replacement cells fitted (even if the company did actually ship over any replacement parts).

Will insurers cover a replacement battery?

This is a grey area. If $13,000 is spent on a new battery – will insurers increase their cover by that much?

Speak to your insurer BEFORE replacing the battery.

Second-life of used Leaf batteries 👍

There is a healthy aftermarket for used Leaf battery modules (repurposed as home storage). This appears to be in the domain of the DIY hobbyist.

There is also at least one commercial operation in NZ:

  • Counties Energy created the Revolve battery backup system. This will form part of the Mercer EV charging station – the battery will recharge during off-peak times. It’s a fantastic example of a circular system.
    Re-electrify allows nine old Leaf batteries to be combined. It began commercial deployment in 2023.

And plenty of others:

Scrapping and end-of-life of Leaf batteries 👎

A full product stewardship system for batteries is under development in NZ. It will be like a battery ‘passport’ that tracks the battery throughout its life.

Recycling needs to happen in NZ. However, this seems unlikely, and more likely, the batteries at end-of-life will need to be sent elsewhere. Renewable Metals in Australia is working toward a Lithium recycling facility in NSW.

New Zealand battery recycling

  • Upcycle (auckland) accept battery waste.
  • Echo (formerly Computer Recycling and iTrecycla) are doing the bulk of e-waste recycling in NZ.
  • Phoenix Metalman recycles many kinds of battery chemistries (including Lithium-ion), with nationwide pickup points.
  • InfinitEV is implementing a full lifecycle solution for EV batteries.


  • Brisbane company SL Batteries specialises in custom builds and reuse of old EV batteries.
  • Perth startup Renewable Metals mission is to recover “the valuable materials in lithium batteries including lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and graphite.”


  • Redwood Materials is actively recycling Li-ion batteries (see trial results).
  • Nth-cycle uses new technology to make battery recycling part of any recycling program.
  • Li-cycle has plants in Europe and North America: “up to 95% recycling efficiency rate to return valuable materials in lithium-ion batteries back to the supply chain”.
  • Norway now has the Hydrovolt factory up and running – capable of recycling that country’s entire end-of-life battery market.

Getting the facts on battery health

There is a need in NZ for a comprehensive battery health service, that covers all makes and models.

Companies like Altelium in the UK provide this service. Every EV sold secondhand should come with a certificate showing the State of Health of the battery.


See more at Forbes and further reading at MIT Review.

* 24 and 30 kWh LEAFs have no WLTP range, as they predate the WLTP cycle. However, an estimate using the US EPA range of the 24 kWh is 84 miles (135 km). A rough estimation of WLTP gives a 151 km range.

Original Leaf battery chemistry is a Ni-Mn (2010+), then Ni-Co-Mn (2017+).

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