We knew long ago that the Nissan Leaf would not be capable of level three fast-charging from the get-go, and there's good reason for this, which we'll get back to in a bit. It's now been brought to our attention that many of those who are pre-ordering the Leaf are shocked to find out that fast-charging is optional. What may first look like an oversight by the company really isn't at all. Nissan simply failed to outline exactly why fast-charging is optional, so we'll do it for you.

You see, the J1772 standard for electric vehicle charging only applies to level one and two connectors, not level three. Currently, no standard for level three exists, though this will likely change soon. Nissan does not want to commit to a connector that may quickly become obsolete. This makes perfect sense to us, and once the level three standard is established, Nissan will install the optional port for those interested. Of course it's not gonna be free, but it should be a relatively low-cost option because the majority of the components needed for level three charging are already found in the Leaf.

Here's the answer to fast-charging straight from Nissan's FAQ section of the Leaf site. It's not very specific but does validate what we said above:
  • Q: How long does it take to charge?
    A: Most people will charge it like a cell phone overnight at home. A full charge will take 8h on a 220/240V home charging station. A 480V quick-charging capability will eventually be available in many markets once a standard is set.
And here's Coloumb's take on level three charging, which points out the reasons why Nissan likely choose to make the connector optional:
There are currently no International standards for voltages and currents or connectors for plug-in vehicles; however, standards should come to fruition in the next few years. To achieve very short charging times, Level 3 chargers supply very high voltages (300-500VDC) at very high currents (100's of Amperes) directly to the plug-in vehicle battery. Chargers that range from 30kW to as much as 120kW exist today in prototype form.
As you can see, there are just too many variables to account for in regards to level three charging. So let's get a move on here and get that standard straightened out so that fast-charging can become commonplace and Leaf owners can fill up in 20 minutes or less. Thanks to Mark for the tip!

[Source: Nissan]

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