As you've probably heard before, there's been quite a stir regarding the availability of fast charging (often called "level three" charging) in the Nissan Leaf. Some reports have suggested that level three capability will only be available on the the upscale SL model Leaf, while others have indicated that fast charge capability will be optional on all Leaf models and can be installed by a dealer at a later date.
Gas 2.0 tried to straighten this one out by talking with Nissan's director of product planning for North America, Mark Perry. Although Perry did answer some questions, the level three status still seems a bit up in the air, to us at least. Perry said that all Nissan Leafs will ship with the level three charging receptacle installed, that's the port on the left in the picture above, but Perry didn't mention whether this port will be fully functional. Now, it could just be that we're critical of how Perry worded his answer and maybe we're digging to deep into this, but it sounds like the receptacle may be standard, but the additional hardware needed to make it functional could still be optional.
Perry was clear about one thing though, all Nissan Leafs will ship with a 25-foot long, "emergency" level one charging cable that will have the J-1772 connector on one end and a standard three-prong connector on the other end. This emergency cable can be inserted into any standard household outlet in the U.S., but fully charging the car using this method will take a very long time – like 20+ hours.
In related news, Mark Perry also discussed the Nissan-developed DC fast charger that was recently unveiled in Japan. Nissan announced not long ago that the unit will go on sale at $17,000 in Japan, a price that undercuts many competitors by tens of thousands of dollars. Well, Perry suggested that a similar unit will be coming to the U.S. and – here's the shocker – it will cost even less here. This could certainly make Nissan a force to be reckoned with in both the EV market and the fast charging business, making it look like Nissan is so far ahead of the competition that it simply can't be caught anytime soon.