On the heels of its no-contact charging system, Nissan is now trying to generate some positive buzz for its new quick charge units in Europe by giving away 400 new stations to EV charging operators. Nissan assumes that the new units will bolster the existing networks and also help customers charge their EVs almost as quickly as can be done – the Leaf goes from 0 to 80% in just 30 minutes with the new system.
- 400 quick chargers to be given away free by Nissan
- Installation in high profile locations starting February 2012
- Charge to 80% in 30 minutes
Expanding the EV Infrastructure
The free stations are all going to Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies in Europe who have shown support for Nissan’s electro-mobility plots, which seems pretty fair to me. There’s also a strict list of criteria from Nissan to determine eligibility for a free charger, including charger location (good), installation date (makes perfect sense), and whether or not Nissan LEAF owners get free electricity (wait a minute…).
Regarding the necessity of a widespread EV charging station network, Pierre Loing, Vice President Product Planning & Zero Emission Business Unit, Nissan International SA, states the obvious:
“With a significant number of QCs available across Europe, EV owners will be able to recharge quickly no matter where they go. We believe this is essential for the mass adoption of EVs.”
Yes, Pierre, yes, it is. While Nissan believes that a range of just over 100 miles is plenty for the average LEAF owner (hey, that’s plenty for me during every-day use and I don’t even have an electric car), the company hopes that a larger quick-charge network will allay fears of becoming stranded when traveling longer distances. The upside to the quick charge station, of course, is that it’s significantly cheaper than a tank of gas. The downside, as we all know, is that even a quick charge station necessitates a 30 minute pit stop.
The equipment for the new stations will be quickly available following an agreement between Nissan and five of Europe’s utility and EV infrastructure supply companies. The new stations will also be cheaper and smaller than the previous model – even the ones that aren’t being given away for free. Nissan hopes to have “several” thousand units placed by 2012 and “tens of thousands” by 2015. Very ambitious, Nissan!
The Nuts and Bolts of the Quick Charger
The new chargers adhere to the CHAdeMO (Charge to Move) standard developed by Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Fuji Heavy Industries. This is significant for the consumer because it means that not only Nissan LEAF owners, but also anyone with an EV from Mitsubishi, Citroen, and Peugeot can use the Nissan charging stations. While they deliver 50kW of high voltage DC electricity, they are “AC ready” to support Renault EVs as well.
Without widespread access to technology to quickly charge an electric vehicle, the inconvenience of being stuck on a leash close to home and having to wait forever before being able to take the car out again discourages a number of potential buyers. I believe Nissan’s move to install standard quick charging stations in a comprehensive network looks like it’s heading in the right direction.
What about you? Do you own an electric car? Thinking about it? Why would you buy one – or choose not to? Let us know in the comments, below.
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