By on September 12, 2011

If you want to charge your Nissan Leaf in 30 minutes, Nissan will (at least in Japan) sell you (reluctantly) a pricy quickcharger.  It costs about half of what a U.S. Leaf costs – before incentives and rebates: The current quickcharger sets you back 1.47 million yen, in today’s dollars, that’s about $19,000. Soon, this will get considerably, well, more reasonable. Nissan today announced a quickcharger with the same performance, but at half the size and half the price of the old one.

According to an emailed statement by Nissan, “the newly-developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan,” but will “take up less space and enable easier installation.” A final price is not set. However, Nissan says that the unit will “cost significantly less than one million yen,” and “the base specification unit will cost only below one half the price of the current unit.” That would be around $8.500 – in Japan, including tax.

The new unit complies with the CHAdeMO protocol and is rated at a hefty 49kW at “3- AC200V” (which I assume means 200V 3phase). It produces 500V DC  at 125 Amps. Apart from the base unit, a (pricier) outdoor unit and one for cold climes are available. All share the same electrical specs.

Still, the quickcharger is not expected to be a fast moving item.  Nissan aims to sell 5,000 of the new quick chargers by March 2016 (!!!). The target market is Nissan dealerships, local government facilities and “locations that draw large numbers of customers in regions throughout Japan.”

The U.S. and Europe will get the charger at some point.  Given high enough quantities, the price can drop considerably . A DC welder with similar ratings can be had for less that $1,000.

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23 Comments on “Nissan Quickcharger: Half The Size At Half The Price...”


  • avatar
    Advo

    I just realized that in sue-happy America, a whole bunch of recharging cars with wires people can trip over may not be the wisest thing to have out there.

    That doesn’t look esthetically pleasing either with the flip-top nose flap.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      If the only hazard were tripping over the wire, it wouldn’t be a problem. Think about electrocuting yourself or burning down the house.

    • 0 avatar
      sushytom

      I have a friend who is already recharging a Leaf in his garage in Arizona with a regular wall outlet and a fairly long cable, so obviously his ability to buy this car was not greatly affected by living in sue-happy America. And all cars are ugly when the hood/bonnet is up, so this is hardly a worthwhile complaint about the Leaf. I wouldn’t want a Leaf myself, but I say that based on actually driving one and knowing an owner.

      • 0 avatar
        Advo

        Can you safely have cars charging at the local grocery store like that?

        When you have all these laws and regulations designed to protect people from their own lapses of common sense – or to protect children from anything that can harm them whether they’re trespassing or not – having these unattended wires in public where curious or inattentive children can trip over will be considered a problem.

        It’s also curious how so many people desire a car because of the way it looks, yet if EVs like the leaf are going to spend most of the time parked and charging, most of the time it’s going to look not as appealing.

      • 0 avatar
        dhanson865

        @advo

        90% or more of the time its charging you will be in bed asleep. If the looks of it’s charging are giving you nightmares don’t tell me about it.

        Nobody drives 50 miles one way to get groceries in an EV. So you won’t see scores of EVs charging at a grocery store.

        You might see them charging in a parking garage or in a work parking lot but you won’t see charging stations at every small business.

  • avatar
    Dutchchris

    It is rather more expensive than a welder isn’t it? I really wonder what’s inside those chargers that warrants the high price tag. There is of course electronics that communicate with the battery for an optimal charging algorithm, but you will find those in much cheaper level 2 chargers too. The rest I suppose would be power electronics that adjust power and current of the charge flow? And that’s very expensive stuff?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, all that high voltage switching gear isn’t cheap, especially when it’s not an off-the-shelf configuration.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The level 2 charger like the level 1 is not actually a charger all of that is contained within the car.

      This is an actual charger and like the level 2 unit they conform to current SAE guidelines and thus are available from other suppliers for less than 1/2 what Nissan charges.

      For example the 2 people I know with Leafs use Volt level 2 “chargers” that they bought on E-bay for less than 1/2 the Nissan list price.

      The one is working part time at a company that builds EV controllers and he said the unit they are installing their and outdoor rated unit is only about $4k.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I wonder how this affects the peak demand problem that electric utilities are constantly trying to cut. The length of the charge time is shorter but the peak current is higher.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Maybe public facilities could be asked/required to make accommodations for electric vehicles similar to those they’ve made for wheelchair users. You’d use your own credit card to pay for the juice and get a full load on while you’re at the mall. Not sure electric companies, many of which still like to mail out paper bills and pay guys to go around and read meters all day, would be able to accommodate this yet, or ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There haven’t been meter readers in my area for about a decade now. The meters are equipped with transmitters that allow them to monitor the current flow on a continuous basis.

      The owner of a house across the street from one of my rental units got busted because of that when they hired a contractor to install a new panel. They didn’t get permits or contact the power company they just pulled the meter themselves. That lack of signal from it’s transmitter set off a warning at the office and they dispatched a truck thinking there may have been a downed drop from their line to the weatherhead. Instead they found the meter pulled and sitting on the ground. Within an hour the City was there issuing them fines and a stop work order.

  • avatar
    TR4

    A 125 amp DC arc welder is not at all comparable. It will have an open circuit (no load) voltage of less than 100V and an operating voltage even lower. The battery charger presumably is 500V at 125 amps load…huge difference. This EE says Nissan’s price is not that unreasonable.

    BTW 500Volts X 125Amps = 62.5 kiloWatts. Neat trick to get that with 49kW AC input!

    • 0 avatar
      TR4

      A Sears model 71230 battery charger puts out 40 amps for $120. If we say its 15 volts that’s 600 watts or 20 cents per watt. Nissan’s new one is $8500 for 62,500 watts or 13.6 cents per watt.

      What people don’t seem to realize is that it takes a MONSTER of a charger to do a quick charge in an EV.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Good point and the Sears unit doesn’t have the fancy CAN bus equipment to talk to the vehicle and adjust it’s operation accordingly. There likely aren’t any licensing fees or royalties associated with the software to make the Sears charger work either.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      You just need more amps. By my arithmetic 245 Amps ought to do the job. My house has 200 Amp service. The panel and the wires are pretty big. I guess I would have to go to 500 Amp service. I don’t know if the electric company do that without building a substation, and charging me some pretty hefty rates. Alternatively, I could go to 250 and turn everything off before I charge the car.

  • avatar

    Only charger for 19,000 USD? I know that this is our future, but it is way too expensive for common driver :(.

  • avatar
    chris724

    A welder may put out 125A, but not at 500V. I think they are usually low voltage, like 10V or less. Personally, I don’t see why you would want to have your own quick charger at home. It doesn’t extend your range – it’s at home! And when people come home at night, they usually stay there for at least 8 hours. So an 8 hour charger would be fine, and much less strain on the grid. Now out in the field, quick chargers would be more useful for range extension.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “A DC welder with similar ratings can be had for less that $1,000.”

    That remark either shows your ignorance of how lithium battery chargers work, or is meant to be a shocking point of comparison. A ‘smart’ charger contains a lot more than a rectifying diode and some wiring, particularly at these power levels. You have to monitor numerous parameters to achieve a proper and safe charge, while providing feedback to the customer about state of charge, errors, and other desirables.

    As for quick-charging, that is an exceptionally bad practice for lithium batteries, and I’m surprised Nissan will stand by the warranty of a car subjected to it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      From what I have read Ford’s Focus EV will be equipped with the CHAdeMO, but warn that it is for emergency/limited use and frequent use will reduce battery life.

      The CHAdeMO is not supposed to charge the battery beyond 80% to reduce the negative effects of the massive charge rate. (and prevent you know “fiery death”)

  • avatar
    slance66

    Sounds like a perfect item for outside of casual restaurants or Starbucks. Pull up, bide your time and change while you wait.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      This may be the way EVs eventually find their way into the mainstream. I don’t think recharging will work in the conventional, ICE-method of having a nationwide infrastructure of filling stations where you tank up in a few minutes, then you’re on your way. The technology just isn’t there for that sort of quick fill-up in the foreseeable future.

      Rather, the much more time-consuming EV way of ‘filling the tank’ could evolve into having charging stations at destinations where you’ll have a place to kill some time (and buy stuff) while waiting for the charging to complete.

      In that respect, I would think that, along with coffee shops and restaurants, big-box stores would be among the first to start offering charging stations. In particular, some trendy place like IKEA would seem to be perfect for those intersted in being on the forefront of the lastest ‘new thing’.

      Especially IKEA since the stores are designed so you can’t get out of one in less than 30 minutes…

    • 0 avatar
      dhanson865

      @slance66 why would I bother to charge at the restaurant if I’m still at 80% charge by the time I get there? It’s only a few miles to any restaurant I care about from my house and I’d be leaving the house with a 80-100% charge.

      Other than holidays my longest trip is to go to the next biggest shopping area about 6-10 miles one way. I could do that several days in a row without charging a Nissan Leaf between trips but in reality I’d charge it when I’m home for the night and when I wake up it’ll be charged to my choice of either 80% or 100%. Since my house is slightly up hill I’ll just charge to 80% and gain some charge leaving the house by way of regenerative braking.

      I can’t remember the last time I pulled up to a restaurant and wished they had a gas pump there. I see no reason to think of an EV differently. I’d get my fuel at home or at a gas station not at a restaurant.


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