Cut-away of updated, UK-built Leaf shows underfloor mounted battery pack. Charger/inverter was moved to engine bay. Updated US versions are built in Tennessee

Cut-away of updated, UK-built Leaf shows underfloor mounted battery pack. Charger/inverter was moved to engine bay. Updated US versions are built in Tennessee

Nissan's US unit has announced a replacement lithium-ion battery pack for the Leaf will cost US$5,499 (after a $1,000 credit for trading in the old pack, which is required), plus installation fees and tax. The installation is estimated at roughly three hours of labour, Green Car Reports said.

Asked if a similar deal was in the works for the UK and/or Europe, a Nissan GB spokeswoman said via email: "This is an announcement that’s specific to the US market and we have nothing to announce at this time."

The US report said fitting the replacement pack to 2011 and 2012 Leaf models requires a special $225 installation kit, which makes the new battery "backward compatible" with even the earliest Leaf models.

The replacement 24-kilowatt-hour packs will use a new and more heat-tolerant battery chemistry that reduces capacity loss under very high temperatures [a problem in some hot US states - ed] but Green Car Reports noted Nissan declined to discuss any potential plans for offering higher-capacity replacement batteries in the future.

The report said the announcement means that buyer of a used Leaf in the US will now know for certain how much it will cost to replace the battery, if its energy capacity should fall to 70% of the original figure, potentially giving the electric cars a much longer life than previously thought.

Nissan's aggressive pricing also "demolishes" the argument by many electric car sceptics that "new batteries will cost tens of thousands of dollars", the report added.

"While Nissan may be losing money initially on the $5,500 price, it is likely counting on low initial demand for replacement packs and future economies of scale in battery making as sales of its battery-electric vehicles continue to rise."

About 125,000 Nissan Leafs will have been sold globally - roughly 56,000 of them in the US, Green Car Reports said.