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Nissan executive vice-president Andy Palmer is one chatty man. Late last week, Palmer headed a Q&A session with Nissan Global Media Center. While much of the discussion focused on electric vehicles, it's Palmer's answer to question number nine that piqued our curiosity:
Q9: Let's talk about infrastructure. Nissan wants to be a leader in the EV space but it's a little different to "if you build it, they will come". You need partners to make sure that infrastructure will be available. How do you perceive the roll out of things like chargers and battery production?

A9. That's been the challenge of the Zero-Emission strategy, because you can't just put a car out there and expect it to sell. The advantage of being the real leader at the vanguard of zero emissions is that you're out there and you promote the brand. The downside is that you have to do all the hard work associated with the infrastructure. ...

It's certainly a different type of business. The onus is on us as a leader to try and put the infrastructure in place. During the summer vacation, I was involved with a big debate with Top Gear about there being no infrastructure in the United Kingdom [Ed: see here and here]. The point is that we're the first point of contact when it comes to talking about Zero Emission. The fact that we're criticized in Top Gear, for example, is good. They come to us, we engage them in debate, and we raise awareness of the infrastructure issue.
Palmer claims that Nissan's in-house quick-charger – when it launches in a couple of years – could take the industry by storm at a price of $3,000 to $4,000, down from the $40,000 that most quick-charge stations sell for today. At that sub-$4,000 price point, Palmer says Nissan's quick-charge unit could change the plug-in vehicle paradigm completely. The just-announced sub-$10,000 quick charger is a good start.
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Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer speaks to the Global Media Center

Q1. We are going to look at some business sectors shortly, but can you tell us a bit behind the thinking of creating a Global Media Center and what you see it doing for the brand?

A1. Thanks for inviting me to the Media Center, and it is clearly a terrific state of the art center that we are getting here, which I think – apart from helping us make messages – it's also very much a symbol of our Mid-Term Plan of Power 88, and the power being one of the Brand Power or Sales Power. So, I think we need to talk about the Media Center in the context of brand power and how telling stories is so important to elevating the brand.

The Mid-Term Plan says we have to elevate, improve our brand. What does that really mean? That really means that we can charge a higher price, transaction price for our cars, and we can gain a higher volume. Something that maybe traditionally we thought was a trade-off - we need to be able to do both. Now, how do you do that practically?

One of things that you have to do is that you have to tell compelling stories about the company, about the employees, about the products and something that basically resonates, of course in our case, resonates towards innovation and excitement for everyone. So the Media Center is really a medium, a very compelling medium, that allows us to tell our stories in the way that we like to tell them, basically either internally or – very compellingly – externally.

Q2. Corporations and carmakers talk about raising the brand value, and there are many metrics out there for whether that's being achieved or not. Looking at Power 88, where do you see this ultimately leading the brand?

A2. We've all read the textbooks that give complicated equations about what brand is and how you improve brand, and what the levers are. I try to boil it down to something very, very simple. If you can charge the price for the car that is equivalent to the best guy in the marketplace, and you can achieve his level of volumes at the same time, transaction price times volume or transaction price times market share, that has to show that the brand is equal to the best in the market.

Today we have a deficit. Today it's clear that either by volume in some sub-segments or by transaction price, there's a deficit, and if we were to look at that deficit compared to the best of the best, that deficit is $6 billion. That's $6 billion of additional profit that we could bring, if we could be the best of the best in every segment.

Now, that's probably unrealistic, but at the top level of the company, as you look at the macro, if we can be amongst the best brands means that we can, generally speaking, close that revenue-parity gap during the term of the Mid-Term Plan by 2016. It's worth a heck of a lot of money on that bottom line and that's what we have got to do.

Now, knowing that we need to push volume and we need to push price together simultaneously, what are the kind of things that you need to do? Clearly your products need to be great, but also there needs to be a clear linkage between the product story and the way that you tell that story to the consumer so that you raise the appeal–not only of the product itself but also the appeal of the company and what you are buying into.

Let's put it another way. We are great at monozukuri; I believe that the Japanese word is "kotozukuri", the science or art of storytelling, and we need to bring that kotozukuri up to the level of monozukuri inside the company.

Q3. Certainly, Infiniti is a key element of that strategy. There are areas like China where there is huge growth potential and obviously sales potential. What's the latest from that key market?

A3. Infiniti is clearly one of the key parts of our Mid-Term Plan. It's important because it's an area of a market that is growing. I think luxury, more or less, represents about 10 percent of the global TIV (total-industry volume), but it represents about 35 percent of the total profit in the industry. So, clearly we want to be in that segment because it's an important segment to be in.

It's also an opportunity for us to demonstrate our monozukuri talents; we can put our best technologies into Infiniti. Now, Infiniti is a 20-year old story, but most of that period of time has been United States-based. The question now is can we take Infiniti on a global level? Obviously, over the last couple of years, we've been starting to do that.

China is a good example. China is a white piece of paper. We can create the story, we can create the brand image, from the beginning. In 2009, we sold 5,000 cars more or less in China. In 2010, we sold 11,000 cars.

This year, I believe, in spite of the (Japan) earthquake we'll sell over 20,000 cars, and I am already in dialogue with our Infiniti colleagues in China. For next year, I believe it's going to be around 35,000 units. So the growth potential is very high. When I talk to some of our internal consultants, the likes of Jim Press, [who has] spent a lot of time in China, he honestly also believes that we are getting resonance there, we are getting people talking about the brand, and we are probably in a better place than certainly the Honda's Acura and Toyota's Lexus. So, I think we really have a good chance and that China should be one of the three pillars of the Infiniti brand.

Q4. For Infiniti in China or globally, is volume an issue or being able to make that many cars?

A4. Volume is not an issue and we shouldn't push volume. Volume should be a consequence of doing the job right. I'd much rather talk about turnover or overall profitability, in the case of luxury. But within there you have to sell a reasonable volume. Broadly speaking, we see 500,000 as a realistic number - all done well, all the consequence of treating the brand correctly.

Is there an issue with capacity? No, we have capacity and with the plans that we have, we can make those cars, of course chiefly in Tochigi, but also in other places around the world.

Q5. Looking ahead, we have the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month and Infiniti will certainly be there. What's on tap?

A5. I'm really excited about Frankfurt. We are going to be taking the FX into the middle of Germany, the home of luxury, against BMW, Mercedes and Audi. We're going to have Sebastian Vettel on the stand, a German national, the world champion, and he is going to be presenting the Sebastian Vettel special FX. I think that is a story all by itself - last year's world champion, probably this year's world champion, a German national, in the middle of Germany, at the premier of the German show, basically talking about Infiniti and how he helped design his version of the FX. It's a great story.

Q6. The Red Bull relationship began before this season. You were going in with the reigning constructors' champion as well as the reigning driver and are looking pretty good for 2011. How far do you see this relationship going and what has Vettel meant for the brand?

A6. Why did we go into Formula 1? When you look at most-watched things on TV, you normally come down to three types of events: You've got the Olympics, you've got the World Cup soccer, and you've got Formula 1. So in terms of reach, Formula 1 is one of the ways of getting in an awful lot of people during one season. Over 500 million people watch Formula 1. Now if you can get your brand in front of those fans, obviously you are elevating the unaided awareness of the brand.

The big problem that we had with Infiniti, particularly in emerging markets, is simply people didn't know what Infiniti was. So Formula 1 was chosen as a way of getting people to see the Infiniti marque and start asking questions – 'What's this Infiniti?'

Obviously, the next point is to make the linkage between that and the great cars that we have, and we know that if we can get people to drive Infinitis, we have a very good chance of selling them. So Formula 1 is very good at that, it's very interesting that the most visible brands in Formula 1 for this season – Red Bull, number one, Vodafone, number two, and either Total or Infiniti, number three.

As a car manufacturer – the most visible car manufacturer in Formula 1 – in our first season out there is great. Are we going to continue the relationship? Yes, certainly for next year – we signed up to a two-year deal, and we have options to consider that beyond there. But we also have to look at Formula 1 not as the joy of going racing, but simply as a marketing platform. We will continue to work with Formula 1, as long as we need to raise the unaided awareness of the brand.

Q7. For brand identification, certainly electric vehicles and Zero-Emission technology has been a key facet. If you could, we know what's out there for first-generation vehicles, but what might be coming in the pipeline?

A7. Yes, you draw a good parallel. Everyone clearly understands we want to be a leader in Zero Emissions. Obviously with the LEAF, I think, from this month or from next month we will become the largest seller of EVs ever, so we've made the point we're the EV leader. Now, where do we go in EV terms?

We know that there are three more cars coming and we know that there are other technologies associated with EVs – discharging is the most obvious one. Right now, we have the ability to run your house from the battery of your car. Contactless charging is an interesting technology, which is coming. The program director is running a project on fast chargers and making fast chargers in house.

There are a lot of technologies and opportunities that we have in the zero-emissions space. What's interesting is how do you link these back to the main portfolio. Historically, we've been very good at making nameplates. People know the GT-R, people know the Patrol, people know the Micra. How do you bring that back so it resonates with the brand?

We had the possibility of repeating our errors with Zero Emissions, so first of all you will always see the LEAF stated as the Nissan LEAF. We've also associated the technologies, particularly the battery technology, with the rest of the portfolio through the branding of Pure Drive. Pure Drive is about bringing the most advanced technology to make sure that we are in the leading group as far as good emissions, low CO2, is concerned. We want about 50 percent of our portfolio to be Pure Drive-badged. That makes the linkage that we champion zero emissions, and bringing back that technology into the main brand and linking it all together. When we talk about the LEAF, it's clearly part of the Nissan portfolio, the Nissan brand.

Q8. We've seen that extended to LEAF NISMO RC, so even motorsports are an EV driver?

A8. We have to be clear. We don't go to motorsport because we like racing cars. We go to motorsport because it's a proof point towards the brand. If the brand stands for excitement and innovation for everyone, then everything we do in function of that should be proof. Winning LMP2, the Le Mans series this year, is about demonstrating the durability of our engines and excitement of driving our cars; the innovation in the engine, the excitement of racing. The LEAF RC car, again, is proof of our ability to innovate.

Q9. Let's talk about infrastructure. Nissan wants to be a leader in the EV space but it's a little different to "if you build it, they will come". You need partners to make sure that infrastructure will be available. How do you perceive the roll out of things like chargers and battery production?

A9. That's been the challenge of the Zero-Emission strategy, because you can't just put a car out there and expect it to sell. The advantage of being the real leader at the vanguard of zero emissions is that you're out there and you promote the brand. The downside is that you have to do all the hard work associated with the infrastructure. Clearly, three to four years ago we started the connections program. Certainly, I can say that in my career I've never worked with such a diverse group of individuals – with governments, utility companies, with infrastructure companies, with taxi companies in New York, as an example.

It's certainly a different type of business. The onus is on us as a leader to try and put the infrastructure in place. During the summer vacation, I was involved with a big debate with Top Gear about there being no infrastructure in the United Kingdom. The point is that we're the first point of contact when it comes to talking about Zero Emission. The fact that we're criticized in Top Gear, for example, is good. They come to us, we engage them in debate, and we raise awareness of the infrastructure issue.

Now, there are other things we can do. We have a program right now putting in-house built quick chargers. What does that do? Well, that for example reduces the price point of a quick charger. Today, a quick charger is probably $40,000-$50,000. We're doing it in-house and think we can get it down to $3,000-$4,000. It changes the paradigm completely. It introduces some competition outside, but also allows you to go to the governments and say: 'We can donate or sell you some quick chargers but you have to be committed to having the parking space connecting to the electrical supply.' It allows us to be a little bit more aggressive in our relationships with governments, utilities, telecommunication companies, etc.

Q10. Looking out from here, developing vehicles doesn't happen in a vacuum. How do you perceive the impact of the strong yen or jitters from the economic situation?

A10.Always the planning group's job is to try and steer a course through all the vagaries that one sees. We try not to make knee-jerk reactions to the yen doing this or the European or American economies doing this. Of course, we're trying to look at long-term trends, and based on long-term trends trying to anticipate what the correct manufacturing footprint is, where we see growth in markets, where are the future places we're building.

A good example: one of the big growing markets is Brazil. Our presence in Brazil is quite small – just a little over 1 percent. If we want to put our foot on the gas and accelerate in Brazil, we both need to look at the ability to manufacture in Brazil, and also our ability to raise the profile of the brand in Brazil. We're working on both of those.

But we're not going to react dramatically to where the yen is today. We have to be cognizant of the trend of the yen. Day by day, there are some of adjustments of what we can do, but we try to keep a fairly consistent view of we think is going to happen. I certainly hope the yen doesn't stay as strong as it is today. It's not what our long-term planning says but we have to be cognizant of the problem.

Q11. Energy prices our still pretty strong. Does that create a further catalyst for people to consider EVs?

A11. Once you start to talk about gas being $80 a barrel, that's what we consider the inflexion point of real interest. So we're good if we stay with cheaper energy prices with the cars that we have, and if any prices increase, and inevitably they will increase, then it starts to play to our strengths as well with Pure Drive and Zero Emission. You only need a crisis of the nature of oil spillages that we've seen in the past, or sudden hikes in the cost of energy or oil, and that puts us on top of the agenda.


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  • 37 Comments
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 2 Months Ago
      Small businesses that use a fast charger will have to pay to much in electricity because of the way the electric corps charge for peak demand. They will charge the rate according to the current drawn during fast charging the rest of the month. Instead of .10 cents per kw they will charge .69 cents. They must do this because they will end up replacing transformers. Fast chargers will only work out for those businesses that already use huge amounts of electricity or slow charge battery banks and then dump into EV's. This is a little known fact and I am not explaining it well but you will soon learn the truth. It is not the cost of the charger but instead the cost of the electricity. The only way it could work is if many cars use the fast charger. Until then the cost of the electricity will be to expensive if only 15 cars use it in a 24 hour period.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Nissan is not alone in pushing for more infrastructure. People who are buying Leafs and Volts right now are early adopters who are willing to stick their necks out and push their agenda a bit. Every Leaf owner I know is talking to malls, movie theaters, city councils, etc, to let them know they have customers with electric cars.
      Michael
      • 2 Months Ago
      A 3-4000 quick charger would be a game changer. While they are at it push to finalize the plug standard as well.
        skierpage
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Michael
        They've been pushing, standardization is happening, but it seems to be hardening into multiple standards: * Japan: SAE J1772 AC charging plus 600 CHAdeMO fast DC charging stations countrywide. * USA: SAE J1772 now with extra pins proposed for fast DC charging Germany: Mennekes higher-powered AC charging (and you drive around with 240V 15 amp cable
      fefifofum
      • 2 Months Ago
      The challenge of a zero emissions strategy is it's impossible to have zero emissions.
        Arun Murali
        • 2 Months Ago
        @fefifofum
        Dont know how many times people have to point out that Zero Emissions exists just not in the current world in the current form. Even in today's scenario the leaf brings down the emissions from about 140-250 g/km to about 40-50gm/km, compared to their similar car Nissan Versa. That's more than a 3 fold reduction in emissions, not possible in any form of transport technology that is commonly used. If you lived in France, you would certainly be emitting a lot less, about 10-15 g/km using this car. If you are green freak and owned a house topped with Solar panels you could achieve less than 10 g/km over the year. Lets see what other technology can do it. None. Even a walking Human emits almost that amount directly(leave alone all the food that he eats and other indirect emissions). I dont have to tell that even if the car carries one other person, walking will seem to emit waay too much. Considering the fact that humans have to travel and the car can (indirectly) emit as little as a single human breathing. It is zero emissions. In real world it emits less as compared to a walking human. So, their campaign should be "Save the world, buy our car with a solar panel package and walk less". So, our question to Nissan should be, when are we getting a solar panel package for the car.
          Smith Jim
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Arun Murali
          One of the really interesting coincidences is that mass produced EVs and mass production of solar PV is becoming a reality at about the same time. Last year there was approximately 23 gigaWatts of solar PV produced worldwide. The costs are coming down and production is growing exponentially.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @fefifofum
        "The challenge of a zero emissions strategy is it's impossible to have zero emissions". I'll take that as a limitation. Full electric cars significantly faces battery related challenges. But, not in Florida. A local based fleet conversion Green My Fleet provides EV and PHEV charging systems.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Months Ago
        @fefifofum
        fefifofum, that's just not true. EVs plus solar, EVs plus waterfall, EVs plus nuclear, EVs plus windmills. think a little
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Months Ago
        @fefifofum
        Then stop driving cars altogether, grow all your food yourself, and basically live like the Native American Indians or maybe the Amish.. :) An electric car charged with solar power is the closest you're going to get to Zero emissions right now if you want to live a modern life.
          lne937s
          • 2 Months Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Campfires have emissions. If we had everybody living like we once did, combined with current population density, pollution would still be pretty bad. You would have to go back to before the invention of fire. Solar power and other renewable energy sources that replace combustion have the potential to reduce our per-capita emissions lower than they have been in thousands of years, while providing a higher standard of living. Considering how many people are on the earth, we need to be more efficient.
      Arun Murali
      • 2 Months Ago
      I will say electric cars are more practical as a single car than a plugin hybrid when I see quick charging stations installed in Food Joints, atleast around developed cities. Will Food Joints invest $3000 to attract the huge number of electric car customers in the near future. Will it pay itself back in a year for the business and through what ever means it can directly? A few might. It will certainly help achieve that critical number in the long term. The critical number should be about atleast 50,000 EV owners with quick charging capability in your city. This is going to take atleast 8-9 years, even if batteries go below $300/kwh over this period. I think Nissan should be working on really cheap low power(220V) bulk charging stations to charge atleast 2/3/5/10 cars to be installed in offices/malls/shopping complexes. A $4000 10 car charging station will help them promote the leaf in places where it is installed. This also makes a more sensible investment for businesses in cities which are having around 500-1000 EV's. This is more likely to happen in a year or two in most of US capital cities, if it is not already like this. And then sell upgrades to these low power charging stations to give quick charge capabilities.
        Peter
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Arun Murali
        30 minutes to get to 80% isn't gasoline but is shopping or dining. Public slow charge is almost a waste of money, as people don't use them. If you look at the data starting to come out plug ins are needed at home and some at the office. Are you going to spend 4 hours at the grocery store? If you only spend an hour at a level 2 (240V) with a Nissan Leaf you have about 10 minutes of driving at speed. No need to talk about level 1, as you will need to spend two nights at the motel to charge it up.
        JakeY
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Arun Murali
        Probably typically small food shops (like your coffee shop example) won't have a 227/480V line, but most large malls, supermarkets, shopping centers, office buildings have one. The quick charger Nissan currently offers doesn't even need a 480V service, it just needs a 200V 3 phase service with 49kW of power (120A per leg). Anyways $3-4k per quick charger opens a lot of doors and might make people seriously consider installing one instead of a level 2 (which costs about the same for a higher end one).
          Rotation
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          250A service is not normal in houses in the US. 200A is. 200A is not even normal for apartments. I think the infrastructure to provide service to the houses would groan if each house started having 400A hookups. Drawing power at that low voltage for such high amounts of power is not efficient in terms of power losses or cost of infrastructure (wires and such) either, even if you can do it. On top of all this, 49kW just isn't really fast charging. You're talking about 30 minutes to put in 22kWh and then it only takes only about 80 minutes to expend all that again. It just isn't a terribly practical extension of range. We must go even faster.
          lne937s
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          250amp 220v service (approximately what utilities often attach to a small house or apartment in the US) can also supply 49kW. You just needs a seperate utility hookup here, not 440v. A small business would probably would want a seperate meter anyway to monitor usage.
          lne937s
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          Rotation- Yes 200A is a common number for many utilities, which is why I said "approximately". In term of what circumstances it is typical, it depends on where you live. Remember that the majority of electricity (and majority of household energy) in this country is used for HVAC. 200A service may be typical where you live in the relatively mild climate of Northern California. It is a different story in other parts of the country where we have hot and humid summers and cold winters. Now, 30 minute fast chargers may not be the fastest out there, but it is a good start...
      Smith Jim
      • 2 Months Ago
      Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Nissan has stated that level 3 charging decreases the life of the battery and should only be done in case of being stranded with a nearly depleted battery.
        Rotation
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Smith Jim
        No, they said just don't quick charge more than once a day. They didn't say why not to, but the reason is that you will end up wearing out the battery faster. Part of the reason is because of the quick charge itself, part is because if you don't quick charge, you can't fill the battery more than twice a day. If you quick charge, you can do it about 8 times a day. This alone would decrease the time before the battery wears out, even if the quick charge itself weren't more stressful.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Months Ago
      I'm sure it would help if you developed a low cost level 3 charger and offered it for sale. a level 2 extension cord at fitting price couldn't hurt either
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        hmm, since the J1772 is made much too big someone could fit the 32A relay and signal electronics inside the handle and just run a cord from the handle to a fitting 220V wall plug or permanent installation and that way be a level 2 charge 'station'. sell it for 100$ I figure a level 3 charger (500V 100A) could be made for maybe 300$ and sell for 999$. in mass production even less. maybe 499$ retail
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          I thought you claimed to have already made one? Keep up the medication.
          Rotation
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          You can't do that, it wouldn't be safe. The safety circuitry must be between the cord and the service, not the cord and the car. This is so if the cord is cut or becomes frayed and there is a short, the safety circuitry can cut the power. Seriously Dan, not everything you don't like is wrong or stupid.
          Ele Truk
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Dan, I think you massively underestimate the cost of a fast charger. It's not simply a bridge rectifier and a big connector. The electronics have to be able to adjust to charging conditions based on different battery packs. Different Lithium chemistried require different charging profiles, and different size battery packs require different voltages. There has to be communication between the charger and the vehicles battery management system, and the charger has to be able to adjust both charging current and voltages. All this high power equipment costs money.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Months Ago
      Tesla is coming out with a 300 mile EV. Lithium battery capacity per weight and volume is on an upward trend. Price continues to go down too. Soon enough, public charging infrastructure will be used mainly for long trips, or to just gradually fill up the battery here and there. All the charging will be done at home. Range anxiety? not when your car can do >= 300 miles on a charge.
        Spec
        • 2 Months Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I think the 300 mile EVs are a bad idea. Yes, it is nice to show you can do such range. But they will be far too expensive for the average person to buy.
      Spec
      • 2 Months Ago
      Don't we need a SAE approved quick charger before doing anything?
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Yes. But in the meantime, we have cars on the road that are already quick charge capable, and have a standard plug (at least to the Japanese it's standard). Nissan is putting in the fast chargers in their dealerships, and with them coming out with a $10,000 fast charger, we will see more soon. If SAE waits too long, the Chademo will become the defacto standard.
      lne937s
      • 2 Months Ago
      But if you are regularly going more than 100 miles a day to require daily fast charging, that would mean 36,500+ miles per year. According to Nissan, fast charging in and of itself does not shorten battery life per miles driven by any significant amount. Going 36,000+ miles per year will mean your battery will not last as many years. The batteries were designed to accept fast charging, and infrequent fast charging for a typical driver's infrequent trips beyond the 70-100 miles would not effect it adversely. Over the same period of time, if you drive 3 times as many miles as a typical driver, your battery will wear out faster.
      Andrew Richard Rose
      • 2 Months Ago
      During the recent Mini Electric trials held in the UK , BMW found that 82% of charging was carried out at home with the standard wall charging box https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/pressclub/p/gb/pressDetail.html?outputChannelId=8&id=T0118820EN_GB&left_menu_item=node__2310
      Arun Murali
      • 2 Months Ago
      That is correct, but are coffee shops going to invest $3000 for a quick charging station not to mention all the pain that they have to go through to get a high voltage clearance and lines? Even if quick chargers become $3000 one is likely need to invest some $1000 or more extra on getting other clearances. Most places don't have a 440V lines and traditional home wiring can only carry 30A at 220V. You have to upgrade a lot of things to get fast chargers at home, including support from your electric company. Instead if you have a large number of Level2 Chargers, and you want to do about an hour of stop over (for lunch/shopping/etc), you can top up the charge by about 2-3KW, increasing the range just enough, to come those extra miles to your shop rather than shops nearby. Making somewhat more sense, for businesses to invest. If its available in your office, there will be less people complaining how 100 miles faar too less for them to buy an EV. You still spend about 8-9 hours in your office essentially providing enough time to fully charge, if necessary and use the Smart Grid. Giving all the confidence you need to buy an EV. $400 per car EV is understandable for building owners as long as they see people using them The offices also have a choice of installing 2-3 fast chargers, to give a 15 minute boost. But then it means people have to leave 15-30 minutes earlier to ensure that their car is charged, which is not going happen with all the skeptism surrounding EVs. The other solution is to setup an thrid party company that charges 1/3rd of the fast charger money per car sold, so that they can develop the infrastructure around your locality. I am sure quite a lot of Leaf owners would be happy to dish out $1000 more for their car for higher range options. I am not saying that fast chargers are a waste of money but I dont see them standing by themselves for atleast 8-9 years without significant public support. It might help cities build electric corridors with ample charging points, which will make poeple not driving on those corridors err a lot more about how expensive electric corridors are. My point is, first make sure that people feel really stupid to use a petrol car for every day use, cause electric is cheaper and is not really risky. Then try to promote them for longer journeys.
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