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Nissan slashes cost of EV fast chargers

Cheaper charging: Nissan will sell its new quick-charging units at a third of the cost of the old ones.

New Nissan EV quick charger to hit US market at a third of the cost of current units

Nissan logo11 Nov 2011

NISSAN is preparing to roll out thousands of electric vehicle quick-charging units at a third of the cost of existing chargers in the United States as it strives to make its all-electric Leaf more attractive to early adopters in North America.

The company also has announced it will give away 400 of the fast-charging units in Europe to support its plug-in Leaf in that market.

Nissan Australia is keeping an eye on the developments in overseas markets, but with the release of the Leaf not due locally until 2012 it is yet to lock in its own fast-charging strategy.

The 480-volt DC fast chargers can ‘fill’ a Leaf lithium-ion battery from dead flat to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes, or provide a quick top up in five minutes.

Conventional home charging with a 240-volt 15amp socket can take up to eight hours to fully charge a typical EV.

The US venture is a collaboration between Nissan North America and Japanese industrial giant Sumitomo Corporation, which developed the fast-charging post that, at $US9900 ($A9750), is more than $20,000 cheaper than current units, as well as more compact.

The first installations of the unit are planned for early 2012, with the partners targeting rental fleets, city authorities, retail centres and large company campuses.

 center imageLeft: Nissan's new charging post. Below: Ford Focus EV.

The quick charger will come in two models – one for indoor use and another for outdoor installation in areas such as car parks or kerbside.

The units have to be specially installed, with US charging company AeroVironment handling sales and installation.

The units will charge any EV capable of receiving a fast charge under the Japanese CHAdeMO (‘charge de move’) standard, which will include Mitsubishi, Toyota and Subaru plug-in vehicles.

Nissan North America senior vice-president, sales and marketing Brian Carolin described the new quick charger as “truly revolutionary”.

“A low-cost DC quick charger unlocks the potential for unprecedented electric vehicle use and adoption,” he said.

“We anticipate thousands of these chargers will be installed across the country, enabling electric cars like the Nissan Leaf to be driven for even greater distances and durations.”

In Europe, Nissan is accelerating plans for a European-wide quick-charge network for EVs by giving 400 new quick-charging stations free to EV charging operators.

The company said the units will be strategically located to boost existing networks and give EV customers greater freedom and flexibility.

Nissan hopes to have several thousand quick-charge points in operation by the end of next year in Europe, expanding to tens of thousands by 2015.

To qualify for one of the free charging posts, companies need to meet strict Nissan criteria including convenient and accessible charger location, installation starting February 2012 and free or discounted charging for all Nissan Leaf customers for at least one year.

Meanwhile, Ford has placed a $US39,200 sticker price on its first all-electric car, the Focus BEV (battery electric vehicle), making it more expensive that the Leaf and General Motors’ plug-in range-extender Volt in the US.

A full green car tax credit would bring the price down to $US31,700, but the Leaf starts at $35,200 and comes down to $27,700 for those who qualify for the full credit.

In the US, the Volt costs $39,145, reducing to $31,645, while the little Mitsubishi i-MiEV can be had for as little as $21,625.

While the Focus can be re-charged in three to four hours – half the time of the Leaf – it has no fast-charge capability.

The Focus BEV is expected to become the Ford’s first EV to go on sale in Australia, although no timing has been announced.

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