Nissan Leaf Modules powering my S-10 Pickup conversion

I have successfully driven my S-10 Electric Pickup conversion powered by 48 modules from a salvaged Nissan Leaf battery pack. I have them wired in series, 16 sets of 3 parallel modules, providing 128 volts with 180Ah capacity (23 kWh).

LeafPackInBack

It took me a full three days of work to make the swap and get the truck to a barely drivable condition. I have the cells hooked up with a warning buzzer on the BMS low voltage loop signal, but I do not yet have the charger fully connected. I anticipate another 8 hours of work to get the charger and pakTrakr system fully set up.

From a performance standpoint, the LiIon modules are much “stiffer” than the twenty 6V golf cart batteries they replaced, meaning that they do not suffer from as much of a voltage sag under high current draw. The lowest I was able to get the voltage to sag on the LiIon modules was down to 118 volts while accelerating up a very long steep hill at a 350+ Amp draw.

My 0 to 35 mph time is a respectable, but not exactly sporty, 9 seconds, limited now by my motor and controller instead of the batteries. (Anybody have a Zilla 1K they want to sell?)

The ability to accelerate from 35 to 50 MPH up a long steep hill is much better subjective performance than I was able to get out of the truck when using golf cart batteries. It helps that the 500 lbs of Nissan leaf modules are replacing 1200 lbs of golf cart batteries, so the truck is 700 lbs lighter now. This also improves the stopping distance. The handling is slightly lighter, but nothing is going to make an S-10 into a sports car.

Because I got a good deal on a wrecked leaf, and reduced my costs by parting out the rest of the car, the actual LiIon modules only cost me $1200 (less than a set of new golf cart batteries)! However, the overall upgrade cost me $4100 once I included the cost of a new charger, EVSE, and BMS system to support the LiIon batteries, plus all of the miscellaneous materials and tools I needed to build the batteries and cables. Not to mention the hundreds of hours of work. If I sell some of the old Lead Acid batteries I may slightly reduce that cost.

If you want to watch the entire job, I have an hour long video that has most of the action (at 16x real time), but it’s only recommended for people who really want all the gritty details. I’ve made another post with photos documenting the highlights of the upgrade process.

To make it more enjoyable to watch, please consider the following drinking game:

Take a sip every time:

  • I speak to the camera
  • I have to use my Flex-Shaft mechanical pickup  tool to retrieve something I have (accidentally) dropped (mostly nuts and washers)
  • I (deliberately and repeatedly) bring a rapidly spinning table saw blade within 1/2 inch of 2.8 kWh worth of LiIon batteries.

Take a full drink when:

  • I drop a battery
  • I cause a large electrical spark

highlight-nissan-leaf-battery-warranty-information
oops!

 

update: I edited the above video down into a “shorter” 28 minute version, that leaves out all of the boring mistakes and repetitive work. (it leaves in the exciting mistakes…)


 

7 thoughts on “Nissan Leaf Modules powering my S-10 Pickup conversion

  1. Pingback: Lead Acid to Nissan Leaf Pack upgrade process | Jay's Technical Talk

  2. Pingback: Community Corner – January 12, 2016: The Featured Projects from last Week « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

  3. What a great resource you’ve created here. Thank you!
    I know it’s been awhile but do you recall or have access to specifications for the gas lift assist cylinders you used for the hinged truck bed? Manufacturer part number, collapsed & extended lengths, load rating?
    Thanks again!

    • Sorry, I don’t have exact specifics, basically just two air shocks and a hinge. I have a camper topper installed, so it’s a bit harder to lift up now, if I were to do it again I’d probably go with a dump bed kit that had electric actuation, something like this:
      https://amzn.to/2GqMHFB

  4. Pingback: Running our 240 volt Well Pump in a power outage | Jay's Technical Talk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *