By on May 22, 2010

Nissan won’t sell their much ballyhooed pure plug-in Leaf until December. But a successful launch wants to be well planned, and Nissan thinks of everything. They won’t sell you the Leaf just yet. But you can already buy the charger. If you bank account is properly charged.

In Japan, Nissan started sales of quick chargers for the Leaf, The Nikkei [sub] reports. It won’t be as quick as gassing up your car. The gizmo will fill up your battery to 80 percent of capacity in half an hour.

Nevertheless, Nissan doesn’t anticipate the machine to be a runaway seller. “Nissan is targeting sales of 100 units in the current fiscal year,” (which lasts until March 31 of 2011) says the Nikkei. Why the diminutive sales target? Money. The standard model costs 1,470,000 yen, which converts to shock and awe inspiring $16,371 at today’s rate. Yes, you read right. For the charger, not for the car. And that’s for the base model. If you want a “cold climate” charger, be prepared to pay $17,190. The “hot climate” charger inexplicably sets you back a cool $19,294.

Now we are beginning to understand what Nissan meant when they said they’ll use the “iPod model” when marketing the Leaf: They’ll sell you an expensive charger.

The less well heeled will not be left behind. Nissan will make the charger available at 200 of their Japanese dealerships. It will work with electric vehicles of other automakers, Nissan said. For a full half hour, you’ll be at the mercy of a salesperson until your car is back to 80 percent charge. Now that’s an ingenious way of driving traffic.

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24 Comments on “Nissan To Make Quick Bucks Out Of Leaf Quick Chargers?...”

  • avatar

    Isn’t this how Preston Tucker ran afoul of the SEC? Selling accessories to a car that didn’t yet exist?

  • avatar

    16K for a charger? LOL

  • avatar

    This article misses the point. The quick charger is not for consumers, for the simple fact that no house has electric wiring that can provide 30kW of power. A simple rule of thumb: it costs about $1/W to get electric wiring. So the cost of the charger will be far outweighed by the cost of beefing up the electric lines to feed the charger.

    This charger is for businesses, it won’t be going in anyone’s garage.
    And it shouldn’t surprise you that the charger for hot climates is more expensive: when you’re pushing 30 kW around, the inevitable inefficiencies translate into a lot of heat, which necessitates a lot of cooling. This is a serious industrial piece of equipment. As such, $20k is pretty cheap.

    • 0 avatar

      At a run rate of 100/year and at $16-19K per, it’s quite obvious that it’s not for consumers. Nowhere in the article does it say so. It also illustrates the fallacy of the project. If you need a small substation to power one of these brutes, and if it still takes 30 minutes to get to 80%, forget any ideas of a quick charge by just dangling an orange cord out of the window.

    • 0 avatar

      The article says that Nissan is following the iPod model by selling the expensive charger. It also says that the less well-heeled will have to go to the dealership. iPods are a consumer product, so this implies the charger is also a consumer product. Saying that the less well-heeled have to go to the dealership implies that the well-heeled consumers will have one of their own, again implying this will be marketed to consumers.
      Instead of saying specifically that the low run rate is because the charger is not intended for consumers, the article says that the charger is going to be “not a runaway” seller. Compared to what? Compared to consumer electronics or cars, sure. But compared to heavy industrial electric charge stations, which this is, I bet 100/year does qualify as a runaway seller.

      Sorry, but this article is designed to mislead and confuse. TTAC likes to claim it’s a spin-free zone. But this article is nothing but anti-car-manufacturer and anti-electric-car spin, filled with dishonest and out of context comparisons and allusions. Better luck next time.

    • 0 avatar

      The Leaf has (will have?) a built-in 110W charger, and consumers can get a 220W charger for their home for about $2000. At 100 miles of range, that’s enough for lots of people.

      The “quick-charge” station is for places like the shopping mall or the Whole Foods or the REI. Places that already sell stuff to people with too much money and can sell them an expensive parking spot. Good for them, because the rest of us plebes can build on their economies of scale.

      How much does a gas pump at a gas station cost?

    • 0 avatar

      Bertel, A household extension cord cannot carry enough current to quick-charge a large battery pack. Are you faulting Nissan for not repealing the laws of physics?

  • avatar

    The real-world charger people will use at home will have a 220V, 30 amp circuit. It will easily provide an overnight charge.

    I have one sitting empty at home from a long-gone through-wall air conditioning unit. Most single-family homeowners in western countries will be able to have one of these put in a garage/driveway without major hassle.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Everything about the Leaf bothers me. Its maximum driving range is very limited. It’s realistic driving range is sure to be much lower. It’s getting massive tax subsidies. It appears to be a nasty little car. And, if you need a car for practical trips over 30+ miles, you will have to have a second vehicle with a real engine anyway. With these glaring limitations, I really don’t understand the hype of the Leaf. The cost and logistics of the charging station is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • 0 avatar

      The Leaf has a 100 mile range. The average daily commute is less than 30 miles each way. That’s plenty of range for lots of people, even if you lose a bit off of the nominal range.

      (Although I do wish the Leaf came with a tiny gas generator — even an inefficient one with only a 1 gallon tank. It would have a small effect on weight and cost, but would allow cheaper heat in the winter.)

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to know how these $20k Leaf chargers work. If they’re actually commercial chargers designed for businesses, what will it cost for a 30 minute charge? I would not more than a gallon of gas.

    I’m thinking that maybe Nissan should be giving them away to businesses (mostly gas stations), then give the business a small percentage of the recharging price. Hell, they might even consider going with stand-alone models placed in strategic locations to help prevent Leaf drivers from being stranded.

    Otherwise, I doubt there is going to be a lot of places lining of for these small, expensive, electric substations.

  • avatar

    Here comes a patent-pending idea: Free substations! Communities and utilities have problems with their budgets. Voila, car manufacturers offer free substations, with attached chargers. In exchange for the substation: a 99 year lease, and power at wholesale rate. Everybody wins!

  • avatar
    George B

    Interesting dilemma: If you were having a new home built today, what size wiring and circuit breaker panel would you install to accommodate charging electric cars at home? Is 200A enough? If gasoline was extremely expensive and battery prices fell, I could see a mixture of plug in hybrids capable of longer trips and pure electric cars for commuting with two cars charging overnight at the typical family home.

    • 0 avatar
      Eric M

      For a fast charger plus a normal house load you are looking at a 300A or more 240V supply.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I guess it depends on the definition of “fast charger” and “normal house load”. I’m assuming overnight charging with less than peak demand while people sleep, but also assuming two cars charging. In some cases it might be possible to suspend charging when the house air conditioner turns on if just throwing bigger wiring at the problem is cost-prohibitive.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Watts = Amps x Volts

      I would check with the local grid operator to see what is available in locality.

    • 0 avatar

      TTAC being a full service blog, I set up to research the electrical requirements. Easy in Japan, as their electrical system is similar to the U.S. variety.

      The Nissan dealer in our neighborhood in Ota-ku, Tokyo, was “so very sorry” about my request for more information. The Mitsubishi dealer however had an iMiEV ready, along with the electrical requirements.

      The iMiEV charges either from a 100V, 200V, or a massive quick charge system that seems to have similar specs as the one from Nissan.

      (Voltages nominal, 100 or 110 doesn’t make a difference.)

      The 100V and 200V charge cable hangs off a garden variety 15 Amp circuit, which shouldn’t overtax any residential system. Charge time to full is rated at 7 hours for the 200V hookup, and 14 hours for the 100V hookup. (Moral: Get that 220V dryer socket to the garage.)

      The ratings for the quick charger are something else: 200V three-cycle at 50kw. Oops. That’s 250 amps nominal. A bit more for safety. Move close to your neighborhood power station. With that charger, the iMiEV can be brought to 80% charge in 30 minutes, just like the Nissan Leaf.

      The iMiEV has a 16 kWh battery pack for a stated range on 100 miles. The Leaf has a 24kWh battery, charge time on 200V is said to be 8 hours, 16 hours on 100V.

      As for the wiring to the garage, I recommend using conduit for new construction. You never know.

  • avatar

    Speaking of odd ways of marketing options for the Leaf, it amuses me that Nissan will offer a GPS package in a car with a 100-mile range. Maybe I’m atypical, but I don’t use GPS very often for in-town trips, at least not enough to pay over $1,000 for a built-in unit.

    Being a bit of a techno-geek/early adopter I have considered a Leaf as a second vehicle for daily commuting and errands, and suspect – as with the EV1 – that will account for the bulk of early owners.

    On the surface, quick-charge stations seem to allow longer trips. But with the Leaf it means a 30-minute stop every 80 miles, assuming optimal location of stations along your route. In other words, the 210-mile trip I regularly make in under three hours would now take four, so it’s still not a good option for me as my only vehicle. However, quick-charge stations are a positive step toward making EVs a workable option to ICE vehicles, IF that is what the buying public truly wants.

    • 0 avatar

      I expect the GPS to be part of a system that enables the driver to more easily find the nearest available charger when away from home. And the Leaf won’t likely be used for 100+ mile trips. People will either have a second ICE-equipped vehicle for those trips or will rent one when needed.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on whether the pig serving your abode is WYE or Delta. (At least in the US).

      Regardless, in the US, most anyone gets ~240V by using 2 hots (as opposed to a hot and a neut leg). That’s how the average US electric dryer is wired. (Most are on a WYE pig…)

      Ain’t rocket science.

      3PH is a different kettle-o-fish altogether here. Perhaps JP is different…

  • avatar

    Meh, I’m gonna wait for the cordless version.

  • avatar

    A charger so elaborate and expensive, and clearly not intended for home use probably has the capacity to charge more than one car at a time, no?

  • avatar

    Was I the only one that thought the redneck described in the video was going to say something about using his little cell phone to charge a truck 12v battery? I kept expecting him to try and jump start a car with his cell phone “charger”. Nope, the video only talks about the cost of normal cell phone charger.

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