Nissan says CHAdeMO at 'critical mass' in Japan

Number of Japan's CHAdeMO stations have surged in the past five years.

Nissan may be experiencing lagging sales of its Leaf electric vehicle here in the US, but over in Japan, the automaker appears far happier with the state of play of the electric-vehicle sector. The company puts out a newsletter called EVolution, and in the most recent issue, Nissan says CHAdeMO quick-charging stations have reached "critical mass" in that country. Nothing wipes out range anxiety like a bunch of easy, quick charging spots.

Japan is home to about 7,000 CHAdeMO stations, or about one station per 17 square kilometers. That's up from about 2,800 stations in late 2014 and from less than 1,000 stations at the end of 2011. In fact, when Nissan debuted Leaf sales in late 2010, there were just 312 quick chargers throughout the country.

As a result of such growth, Japan accounts for about 60 percent of the world's quick chargers, and provides what Nissan calls a "safety net" for Leaf drivers. The US (obviously a much larger area) has 1,800, while France and the UK have about 1,350 stations combined. Nissan is quick to credit everyone from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, to Sumitomo and the NEC for their efforts during the past few years.

Whether 7,000 rechargeing locations account for "critical mass" remains to be seen. With Japan's population at about 127 million, there is one quick charger per 18,000 people. By comparison, the US is home to about 170,000 gas stations, or about one in 1,900 Americans.

The CHAdeMO Association said last month that it was working on a protocol for fast-charging systems that would accommodate electric vehicle that can go at least 200 miles on a single charge. The first of those stations may be deployed as early as next year. The group also said earlier this year that it planned to install more than 500 DC fast chargers in Europe by the end of 2016.

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