Fast Times at Nissan HQ

Today, my daugh­ter and I had the entire day to hang out. We went to out for break­fast, played com­put­er games, went swim­ming, went to the Lego store, and of course, vis­it­ed Nis­san North Amer­i­can Head­quar­ters to check out the Lev­el 3 DC Quick Charg­er for our LEAF. You know, like all 5yo girls enjoy doing.

L3 Fast Charger at Nissan NA

DC Quick Charg­er at Nis­san NA

Seri­ous­ly, though, she did seem to enjoy her­self while pranc­ing around on the side­walk and around the high-volt­age fast charg­ing tow­er. It was both cute and dis­con­cert­ing.

Ainsley at the ChargerSafety First

Ains­ley hang­ing out with the DC mon­ster & tak­ing pho­tos of it record­ing videos of safe­ty instruc­tions with her iPad

But I real­ly want­ed to write about the fast charg­er, as this thing is real­ly some­thing to behold. It’s rel­a­tive­ly large for an ev charg­ing sta­tion, though not real­ly that daunt­ing when com­pared the mas­sive Nis­san build­ing just behind it, of course. The cord & charg­ing plug attached to this thing are just mas­sive, though. We’re talk­ing Doc Brown send­ing 1.21 jig­gawatts big!

Monster Plug

Mon­ster plug capa­ble of trans­fer­ring 1.21 Gigawatts in 15 min­utes

Charger + Cable

Not sure how clear this is, but that’s about a 2″ dia. cable

Charging LEAF

Not a Snuf­fal­ufa­gus, our ev

The fast charg­er is actu­al­ly a Nis­san design and this is a show­case for how an ev can be quick­ly charged up (to about 80% capac­i­ty) in 15–30 min­utes. Our expe­ri­ence today was pret­ty typ­i­cal. We rolled in with <24% of our bat­tery pack remain­ing after our dri­ve up to Nashville’s Opry Mills and back 1. With­in exact­ly 15 min­utes, we had charged up to 74%, or one-half the bat­tery pack capac­i­ty. That would be remark­ably slow for pump­ing gas, of course. How­ev­er, com­pared to L1 (120v) and L2 (240v) charg­ing, it is remark­ably fast.

Quick Charging

Charged 50% of the bat­tery in exact­ly 15 min.

Nis­san’s DC Quick Charg­er is 480v (!) and, to be hon­est, isn’t like­ly some­thing you’d want at your home. Even if you could get the elec­tric ser­vice hooked up for it and did­n’t mind the $15,500 price tag, the noise this thing puts off is dis­turb­ing2. You know that high-pitch whine that some flash pho­to capac­i­tors put off? Imag­ine that much loud­er and even high­er pitch. Some­thing like the world’s largest den­tal drill.

First step: put it into the charg­er…

But this is a show­case of what is pos­si­ble for elec­tric vehi­cles at fuel­ing sta­tions or ser­vice cen­ters, not res­i­den­tial3. And it is quite cool to have one near­by.

Me with Fast Charger

Bonus shot of yours tru­ly stand­ing by the quick charg­er tow­er. Ains­ley insist­ed on tak­ing my pho­to since I’d tak­en hers.

Here’s a bonus video from over three years ago when the LEAF was first intro­duced to Nis­san NA employ­ees (many of whom are my neigh­bors).

  1. We only live about 2 miles away from Nis­san, so mak­ing it home was­n’t real­ly any issue. This was done sole­ly for the pur­pose of just hav­ing done it… and to write this blog post. []
  2. This video shows some guys check­ing out the (old­er ver­sion) of the L3 fast charg­er (skip to the 3:45 mark to quick­ly hear the high-pitch sound this thing emits). []
  3. The 240v res­i­den­tial L2 charg­er is about $800 and the elec­tric work to add a new cir­cuit for it in your garage is typ­i­cal­ly around $1,200; like­ly much less if you’re plan­ning ahead in new con­struc­tion. []

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