Nissan answers questions about optimally charging the Nissan Leaf
Nissans' series of educational videos about the Nissan Leaf continues with a discussion of charging considerations. We grew up with cars that are refilled at gasoline stations, making the electrical refilling process "new" and "different" from our gasoline acclimatization.
This video on charging the Nissan Leaf is the second in a series. In the first video Mark Perry, Nissan North America's Director of Product Planning, went over some basic concepts about the Leaf, and opened the floor to further questions. This video is a high level overview of the charging process, the best practices for charging a Nissan Leaf, and even touches on some of the controversy over fast charging on electric cars.
Why does Nissan recommend installing a charger at home: This may seem like an odd question, because automakers position electric car charging stations (a.k.a. EVSE) as the primary means of electric car charging. Even though electricity is electricity, we're supposed to think of electric cars only plugging in to charging stations, and not into regular power outlets. Nissan, and the other automakers, does provide a 120 volt charging cord with the Nissan Leaf, and some customers skip buying a full charging station for a variety of reasons. Mark Perry's answer first talks about how, in the U.S., the typical source of a 240 volt circuit is the outlet for a dryer or deep freezer unit. He then goes on with the "cost benefit ratio between speed, affordability for charging itself, and simplicity" and he asks us to think of charging a Leaf just as you do a cell phone. You come home, plug the car in, walk away, then the next morning it's all charged up and ready to go.
The speed aspect is because of the higher charging rate using a level 2 charging station, the EVSE units with the J1772 cord that looks vaguely like a gasoline fuel hose. On the Nissan Leaf that rate is 3.3 kilowatts, while via the 120 volt charging cord the rate is about 1.2 kilowatts. Hence, charging through an EVSE is three times faster. The cost is no different between charging using an EVSE or the 120 volt charging cord, in both cases your electric car absorbs kilowatt-hours of electricity, and the cost is simply the kilowatt-hours consumed times your local electricity rates. What's different between using the 120 volt charging cord and an EVSE, is how quickly it does so.
How long does it take to charge on a 240 volt circuit, and what are the other options: Perry explains that a Nissan Leaf whose battery is depleted all the way down to "zero" requires about 7 hours to recharge using an EVSE (240 volt circuit). Data Nissan has collected from the Leaf owner base shows the typical recharge cycle requires only 2-3 hours, because typically the battery is not depleted down to zero. The 120 volt charging cord, as just discussed, is a lot slower and Mark Perry suggests to call it a "trickle charge". What Nissan will not suggest is to send your the 120 volt charging cord to EVSEUpgrade.com to have them work some magic to increase the charging rate through that charging cord.