• Nov 17, 2011
Electric vehicles typically come with a home charging cord, and additional stations for 120v or 240v connections are relatively inexpensive. However, when you start trying to cram electrons into a battery in a hurry, the cost can rise steeply. In particular, "Level 3" quick charging stations can be a significant investment, with costs starting around $20,000.

Still, there are companies and organizations working on bringing these sorts of EVSE stations to market. After all, having the infrastructure to easily charge an electric car to 80 percent in only 30 minutes can have a profound impact on the practicality of EVs. Imagine doing it for less than $10,000.

This is Nissan's new hope. The automaker's new station halfs the price of the previous quick charge unit for the Nissan Leaf, reduces the size, and makes installation easier on both the bottom line and garage space. The $9,900 unit will be available for pre-order in the United States by January. Delivery of the units is expected in spring of 2012.

Based around the CHAdeMO protocol and operating on 480 volts, Nissan's new station can not only fill an empty battery in a hurry, it could potentially charge a Leaf from half empty to nearly full in the same five minutes it takes most cars to add a few gallons of gas. At a price point of just under $10k and with the requirement for 480V service, it might not find its way into too many residences. However, for public charging stations or companies that have multiple Leafs, this kind of charger could mean the difference between having vehicles hogging a charging spot for hours and being able to juice up the fleet. It also considerably lessens the consequences of having to pull your vehicle in for a charge if you should run low on electrons during a journey. Nissan anticipates selling "thousands" of units.

The CHAdeMO level 3 standard charges batteries quickly by using high voltage DC current (up to 500v and 125 amps). In the U.S., only the Leaf provides the TERPCO connector and associated hardware needed for CHAdeMO charging. Nissan's new station was developed in conjuction with Sumitomo Corporation. The Chevy Volt uses the SAE J1772 standard, with Level 2 charging that tops out at 240V and 80 amps AC current. A full recharge using currently available charging stations recommended by Chevy takes over three hours. The level 3 charging standard from SAE is still in the works.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is still a lot of work to be done. First of all, their ChadeMO connector is likely to die off when the SAE finally gets a level 3 standard completed. And second, where are you gonna install those things? Most houses have 200 Amp 240V AC service at best. So you are gonna have to find places with high-power grid connections to even hook those up.
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Based on current plans, no electric cars would be using the proposed SAE plug for several years. Just because a standard is set next year doesn't mean that it goes immediately into production-- it takes a few years for products to be developed and go into production. And Asia is unlikely to change to the US-based SAE standard when all their cars use CHAdeMO. Some European manufacturers are looking at AC quick chargers, but none are looking at SAE. Only Detroit is pushing for the SAE Level III standard... but they aren't really leading in pure EV's. The Volt's whole reason for being is undermined by quick charging. Ford's conversion has very small production goals and cannot accept quick charging in its current form. Nissan has already sold 17,000 LEAFs and Mitsubishi has built 16,000 iMiEV's. Nissan is planning to have hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the road and tens of thousands of quick chargers (all using CHAdeMO) by the time the first proposed SAE car would potentially be on the road. You can already travel throughout Japan using quick chargers and many more are being installed. Nissan will have several thousand CHAdeMO chargers installed in Europe next year, and tens of thousands by 2015. In Europe, they even donated 400 Level III chargers to various parties and are placing 150 at dealers as part of tyhe several thousand being installed next year. The US car market is similar in size to Europe, and the largest EV battery plant in the world is being built in TN, so I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar here. http://www.newsroom.nissan-europe.com/uk/en-gb/Media/Media.aspx?mediaid=85548 Industry groups like SAE can proclaim a new standard, but like BlueRay, CD, DVD, VHS, etc. (all of which also came out of Japan) the market will decide in the long run. Nissan's patented chargers are a fraction of the cost of other chargers, and Nissan is serious about installing thousands of them. They are targeting cutting the cost in half again in the next couple of years. The production of Mitsubishi and Nissan already dwarfs all other EV's and dramatically more production capacity of CHAdeMO EV's is comming on line in the next two years. SAE's delays have lead market leaders to accellerate an established standard that will lead to mass market adoption. With no chargers using SAE and no cars using SAE for several years to come, it is unlikely that the market will want to shift to a different standard that offers no real benefits, hasn't had the costs engineered out of it, has no chargers installed and has no cars that use it... http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/nissan-to-market-d-c-fast-charger-for-under-10000/?smid=tw-nytimeswheels&seid=auto
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          I agree with the thrust of your arguments. The SAE J1772 combo-coupler won't be finalized until 2012 and no car model or charging station has announced it will offer it. However... The SAE combo-coupler offers a single connector for AC level 2 and DC fast charging, and promises potentially higher power (90 kW vs. CHAdeMO's 62.5 kW). The slides by Gery Kissel of GM say "The fundamental difference between the SAE and JARI/TEPCO fast charge systems is the type of ground used between the charger and vehicle" but I don't understand the pros and cons. CHAdeMO's massive Asian success is only in Japan, the rest of Asia has no DC fast chargers except one in Hong Kong. Though the CHAdeMO.com site now claims 153 CHAdeMO chargers in Europe!? It seems Europe has given up on the Mennekes connector. ABG in October reported "The German vehicle manufactures Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen are going to present the Combined Charging System... has been developed in close cooperation with the American vehicle manufacturers Ford and General Motors (GM)". It seems physically close to the SAE J1772 combo-coupler, it's definitely not CHAdeMO. So SAE J1772 combo-coupler has some benefits and has some companies behind it, but CHAdeMO is real and getting cheaper. It's sad to see this standards war.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          There is the possibility that future "quick charge stations" will have 2 or more connector cables, just like some gas station pumps have multiple hoses for various grades and types of fuel. Of course hat would increase costs slightly, but cables and plugs are among the least expensive components for a quick charge outlet, and that small extra cost might be worth it to resolve compatibility issues.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        No-one else apart from Mitsubishi has plans to produce serious numbers of EV's. The Volt has a range extender, so doesn't need fast charging away from home. If Nissan can get Mitsubishi on board any new standard would have no traction. No-one is going to build a charging network for a couple of thousand Ford EV's or whatever.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart You certainly are a product of Harold Wilson and the socialist UK state education system. Charging systems at the present time are still very primitive and in a state of constant redevelopment. Sony once imagined that it had the home viewing market sewn-up with beta-max, until VHS, along came DVD's, and more recently, internet downloading made all previous technologies obsolete. Only Government Legislation can produce one fixed standard. Such legislation would be a disaster, and retard any incentive for innovation and progress.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          You are still calling each other names? That's it, I am coming down there...!
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @MarcoPolo, Stop with the ad hominem dickish behavior, stop fooling yourself that people like long-winded composition, and stick to the facts. Thank you.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Marco: At times you seem to be the product of some college level 1 psychology course, and unfortunately to have missed the logic and deductive reasoning courses on offer. Nothing I posted indicated any advocacy or even preference for any particular solution, I merely remarked on what seemed to me the probable outcome. Debate is more constructive if conducted on the basis of what is argued rather than from some spurious and tendentious imputation of the psychological or environmental factors behind arguments you happen to dislike, or in this case entirely invent. Stick to something you know something about.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Although...those were some of the more creative insults I have read. With Marco's post, I would have to open up a history book for the references, and DaveMarts....good heavens it was like weight lifting with my brain. Skier's was a pleasant mix of Latin prose with modern modified slang,
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          By which time the Nissan's should be so prevalent that their charging route becomes the de facto standard.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Every car company plans to produce serious numbers of EVs. It will just take several years to get there.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Its not meant for houses, but for public places. Why would you need a quick charge at home? Better to charge more slowly which is easier on the battery. Power usage of this order are not unusual for small industrial units and could easily be provided in service stations etc.
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I agree on the idea that these will be primarily used by public businesses not private home-owners. From a McDonalds on the Interstate to a gas station with enough room to separate the gassers from the BEV's, there are a ton of businesses that would like to have BEV's and EREV's want to stop by for a quick charge. And 75% of the total AER isn't a lot for a Leaf, this year, but it will be even more useful in a few years when the Leaf and the FFE have battery packages that give 150 miles of real world AER. Then you could use a BEV to do a road trip with few real drawbacks, just like the Tesla Roadster could do a long road trip today, if there were a few of these fast chargers strategically placed along your route...
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        In theory you could attach CHAdeMO charger in 240V/200A and get near full potential from it. There would be need to AC/DC conversion first at which point you could raise the voltage double, and lower the amps half, at which point it would be 480V/100A. This would mean that you shut down everything else in your home for charging though, so not really very realistic in practice.
          Rotation
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @Timo
          Spilt phase power presents huge issues in those case. Unlike 3-phase power, the presented voltage varies from 400V to 0V. The 400V is annoying but it's the 0V that's the big problem. You have to put in a fancy power supply with some rather large capacitors to supply power when the periods of 0V (nulls) occur. Any quick charger will really have to run on 3 phase power. And getting 3 phase power to houses can be difficult.
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      Again Nissan is leading the way. Seems everyone else is just following behind. Way to go Nissan!
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      10k$ is a price that many can work with but far from what it should be. 125A power electronics is just not that tricky.
        EZEE
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I am extremely cheap, but $9900 for something that does this? Wiring issues aside, I would get it in a heartbeat. The freedom to take the car out and not wait for hours? Also, the car might get old, but, keep this when you get the new electric. Also, many businesses will want one of these. Even if no one plugs in, it is still there to show how much they care. Never underestimate good will in business. Apple is now bigger than Exxon Mobile (market cap, at least) and people largely love apple.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @EZEE
          that doesn't sound extremely cheap : ) and I doubt you actually would buy it unless you are quite wealthy. you simply don't need it at home. if done right it shouldn't cost more than 600$. there is a lot of super cluelessness among the early providers. I inquired about prices for just the chademo plug. just the connector. 2000$. with a straight face. they even pretended to be offended when I suggested it was a little high. then I told them in no uncertain terms that the price was ridiculous.
        lne937s
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I think a system that converts AC to carefully regulated DC at a range of voltages needed to charge a battery with outputs up to 48 kW should be similar the electrinics that basically do the opposite operation. This isn't just an extension cord. So if you compare it to a 48 kW grid tied inverter, this charger is less than half the cost, despite having a fraction of the time to engineer out the costs from it. $9900 is a pretty impressive price if you actually understand what is going on in this charger. http://www.atensolar.com/m5/200-358--sma-sunny-tower-48kw-grid-tied-dc-ac-disc-480-277-vac-60-hz-3-ph.html
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      How often would you get home "with only 10 miles on it" and within 10 minutes want to drive more than 10 miles? Not often, I'm sure, after driving that much most drivers would want to take a break. No, don't give me that "emergency drive to the hospital" bit, in a real emergency call 911 and get an ambulance that can offer emergency treatment quicker. Besides, the "level 2 charging" that IS designed for home use can add 30 miles or more of range in just an hour. The top-of-the-line Tesla home charging unit can add about 60 miles of range in an hour. You'd have to be really impatient to consider that inadequate. You see, you don't have to do a full 8 hour charge every time you charge up, a partial charge is certainly permissible.
      Drivesolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Both a game-changer and potentially the end-game for EV's not equiped to accept this standard.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      No, this isn't a game changer. The cost of getting 50kW service installed to a parking spot is rather expensive. It's nice the cost of the charger is down, but that's only part of the equation.
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      #corrections This is not a "level 3" station, it's a DC fast charge station. SAE defines 3 different levels of AC and 3 levels of DC charging: every electric car supports level 1 AC (110 V up to 16A/1.9 kW) and level 2 AC (SAE J1772 240V up to 80A/19.2 kW), so people informally call DC fast charge the next level. But it's not. CHAdeMO's 62.5 kW is between what SAE calls DC Level 1 (30 kW) and DC Level 2 (90 kW) and much less than DC level 3 (240 kW). SAE's AC Level 3 is over 20 kW, single phase and 3 phase. All these higher levels are "not finalized", though the SAE "combo-coupler" franken-plug spec due in early 2012 will support DC level 1 and 2. Read http://www.sae.org/smartgrid/chargingspeeds.pdf Also, it's the "TEPCO" connector (the same Tokyo Electric Power Co that's struggling with Fukushima), not TERPCO, and the i-MiEV also supports CHAdeMO.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sweet. They really could sell more of these than leaves, as if it works on all electrics.... And besides, the whole 'charge time' has been one of the big three issues with electrics. Now just range and price. O brave new world!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Nissan could get just one chain like Subway to install these, we could travel the whole country in our electric cars. It would be the best way to hasten the adoption of electric cars. Or, perhaps a better way, would be to put a fast charger at every 40 miles on Interstate highways. There are 65000 miles of Interstate highways, at $10000 a unit, the cost of the chargers would be $16.25 million. Installation shouldn't be too expensive since most rest stops have electricity. This device could be a game changer.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Based around the CHAdeMO protocol and operating on 480 volts" I doubt that your typical Subway or McDonalds is running 480 volts power.
      Peter
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bottom line, between the difficulty in finding something to supply the charger and the number of models that it can charge, no one can make a business on this. We need a standard and a subsidy to jump start this until there are enough EV's on the road. (Or we are going to wait until there are enough EV's charging at home wanting to go for a road trip before these sell in numbers)
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have any of you actualy fast charged a Leaf? I have done it in Copenhagen 3 times and I have not been able to do 0 - 80 % in 30 minutes. It takes quite a bit longer. See pictures of our Leafs: http://www.cleardrive.dk/2011/11/danmarks-første-nissan-leaf-er-ankommet/
        JP
        • 18 Hours Ago
        Maybe that charge station doesn't have full capacity?
      floorman56
      • 3 Years Ago
      So can ANY Ev quick charge? or does it require a special design? . Also does it effect the life of the battery?
        Ele Truk
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @floorman56
        Theoretically yes, any EV CAN quick charge. However, only the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi iMIEV are compatible with this system. Most batteries can generally take a fast charge, but only if you carefully monitor them to make sure you don't overheat or overcharge them.
        Edge
        • 18 Hours Ago
        @floorman56
        It needs a Level 3 charge capability, and it does effect the life of the battery. Toshiba's Scib battery though, seems to be quite resilient to degradation from fast charging, and that is going into the Honda Fit EV.
          Dave R
          • 18 Hours Ago
          @Edge
          Too bad the Fit EV isn't coming with QC capability, only 6.6kW L2 charging like the Focus EV.
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