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Nissan installs 1,000th 30-minute charger, beating Tesla to the punch

Nissan's 1,000th 30-minute charger is now live in Europe, beating Tesla's "Supercharger Network" to the punch by offering more convenient locations for charging than does America's premium EV maker.

As Tesla Motors completes a charging network that stretches across continents to accommodate long-distance driving, Nissan focuses on putting more chargers into more places in order to accommodate everyday driving for the bulk of the EV buying public.

In Europe and much of Asia, the conventional charging method is the CHAdeMO standard with a Mennekes connector (here in the U.S. it's the SAE J1772 standard; Tesla uses a proprietary method). The fast-charging convention of the CHAdeMO standard allows a Nissan LEAF to charge from zero to 80 percent in thirty minutes. Nissan and its partners offers many of these charging stations free-of-charge. There are now 1,000 of them across Europe.

Europe's largest electric vehicle (EV) market is Norway, where the number of EVs using the E18 highway increased eight fold in just eighteen months after a CHAdeMO charger was installed on that route. That charger was installed in collaboration with Ecotricity, a green energy specialist, powering chargers from green electricity sources - mostly wind and solar.

With the installation of a similar charger on the M25 motorway south of London, England (one of the busiest roads in Europe), drivers traveling west of London towards Kent and the rest of Europe now have easy access to recharge quickly.

In the United Kingdom, a network of 195 chargers is continuing to grow, allowing drivers of EVs to travel much of the nation easily. 124 of those chargers were installed in 2013, thanks to partnerships with companies like IKEA, Roadchef, Moto and Nissan dealerships.

Unlike Tesla chargers, the CHAdeMO chargers can be used by anyone with a compatible EV, including Model S owners who have the conversion plug for their proprietary system to the CHAdeMO standard (they're only $1,000-$2,900 here in the U.S.). Whether driving a Nissan LEAF, a Citroen C-Zero, or any of the other popular EVs in Europe, people can use this 1,000-strong plug-in network to keep themselves on the road.

It is expected that more than 1,800 quick-charge stations like these will be available across Europe by the end of 2014. Compatible plug-in vehicles sold in Europe include the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200, Citroen C-Zero, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Outlander PHEV, and the Peugeot iON. Other vehicles may have adapters, including the Model S, to allow them to use the stations as well.


Buzz (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 10:26AM

It's a nice achievement by Nissan. I'm glad to see them staying committed to advancing the EV cause. It's silly to compare the Nissan quick-charge network with Tesla's (although I realize having the word Tesla in the headline increases clicks). Driving a Tesla means I only need to charge at home or on a road trip. That's because it has a real range of 200+ miles on the freeway, under all conditions. So, Tesla owners require far fewer charging stations. My LEAF is closer to 55+ miles of real range. Plus, in the U.S. when I want to QC at a NIssan dealership, I'm faced with the prospect that the dealer is closed and/or has some restriction about who can use the QC (some restrict to their customers). Tesla just completed a coast to coast trip in 3-days using only free Superchargers. I don't expect any sane person to bother with such a trip in their LEAF. The point of a QC network is to allow an EV owner to never need an ICE car. Tesla has achieved that. Nissan has a ways to go still.

Sal (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 4:05PM

Misleading Title "30 Minute Charger"

Nissan Leaf, 24 Kwh 75 mile total range 30 min. Chademo charge fills 80% => 60 MILES
Model S, 85Kwh 265 mile range 30 min. Tesla Supercharger fills 80% => 212 MILES
Model S 60 Kwh 205 mile range 30 min. Tesla Supercharger fills 80% => 164 MILES

Aaron Turpen    February 2, 2014 - 6:53PM

Apparently, most of you Tesla lovers missed my main point: why does the Model S use a proprietary system for charging AND THEN CHARGE YOU THOUSANDS TO GET ADAPTERS so you can use another system? After all, there are FAR MORE chargers out there using the J1772 and CHAdeMO system than there are proprietary Tesla chargers. Wouldn't it add to the convenience of ownership to have access to all those other plugs without having to pay the cost of a home charger and installation to get them?

Buzz (not verified)    February 2, 2014 - 11:51PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Calm down Aaron. None of the comments I've seen seem to call for such snippiness.
Tesla provided me with a J1772 adapter (free!) which I used twice when I first got the car. Then the Superchargers were installed along a 350 mi route I take a few times a year and I haven't needed it since.
My LEAF has a Chademo QC port which I've used twice. QC'ing around Southern Calif has been difficult. The prime location, downtown, has a QC charger that is often behind a locked gate (parking lot). The other location is a dealer that closes at 10pm.
Tesla's connector is better than J1772 and far far better than the Chademo behemoth. Tesla has offered to license the tech to other car manufacturers. I don't know why you have to drag Apple into this.
So, to your main point: Tesla's system is better for Tesla owners and any manufacturer that makes a car with a large enough battery can license the tech. My LEAF can't even make it to the Superchargers I would use so it's pretty useless for that kind of trip. For me to buy a Chademo adapter from Tesla is $1000. But I see no point now that Superchargers are becoming ubiquitous on routes I would like to drive.
Owning both EVs and having used both charging systems under real-world conditions, Tesla's charging tech is much superior and I'm glad they didn't go J1772 or Chademo.
Call me a "Tesla lover", don't care.
I also love my Nissan LEAF. They're just very different EVs.

Aaron Turpen    February 4, 2014 - 12:57AM

In reply to by Buzz (not verified)

If you don't love your Tesla, then obviously "Tesla lover" doesn't apply to you. It's not a derogatory term.

The Model S is a great car. I've enjoyed it every time I've driven it. But I'll never own one. $100,000 for a car is ludicrous, I don't care how great it is. "Free" charging or not. I would own a LEAF, were it feasible where I live. It isn't. But I enjoy driving them. Same with the other EVs I've been in. Yet there are obvious and long-term drawbacks to electric vehicles that have to be acknowledged. One of those is infrastructure, which so many EVangelists decry as being unavailable because someone or another (usually "Big Oil") is stopping government from throwing piles of cash at the issue. So when one of the most in-your-face EV makers comes out with a system that no other EV can access, I've cried fowl.

PV guy (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 10:53AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Aaron, simply break out your negotiation skills. If you can afford $60 to $100k for a Tesla, you can either afford the conversion package, or have enough brains to negotiate for a conversion kit so you can use whatever charging station you want!
This technology is new, we have to start somewhere. Tesla came out with their version in hopes that it would be so much better, that other companies would have to buy into their technology at a premium, and it would become the standard. Its a new VHS/Beta, Mac vs Windows, in the electric car space.

Donny B. (not verified)    February 4, 2014 - 4:04PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Tesla could have charged $2000 more for their car then given everyone a "free" CHAdeMO adapter. But I prefer that they kept it separate because there are very few CHAdeMO charging stations in North America. If they build them, and they are convenient for me, THEN I will purchase an adapter.

Aaron Turpen    February 2, 2014 - 6:57PM

Nothing misleading here, Sal. Nissan installed 30-minute chargers in a network across Europe faster than Tesla did. Just because they don't have to be "Superchargers" doesn't mean it's not beaing Tesla to the punch. All you're doing is comparing **** sizes.

Sal (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 11:55AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Wow, an author responding to his/her readers' valid criticism by expressions like "you Tesla lovers" , "comparing dick sizes", etc. Is there even an editor on this site?
When you use the term "30 minute charger" as if it's an industry standard when in fact 30 minutes of charging gives Nissan Leaf 60 miles & Tesla Model S85 212 miles range, it is indeed misleading.
Regarding your baseless "Let's build a global EV infrastructure we can all use" concept, the other charging companies can negotiate & pay to use or help construct Tesla's patented supercharger technology (free to Tesla customers) instead of expanding their "slow ass" charging technologies their customers pay for. That's how the real world works.

Aaron Turpen    February 4, 2014 - 12:47AM

In reply to by Sal (not verified)

Tesla's PATENTED (and thus largely unavailable to the rest of the world) charging technology must be LICENSED at a COST to other manufacturers if they want access whereas the STANDARDS set by world bodies are FREE to anyone who wants to comply.

My entire point. Thank you.

Sal (not verified)    February 4, 2014 - 11:59AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

So you want Tesla to do all the hard work and then give it away for free?:)
Musk stated multiple times during earnings calls that Tesla is willing to let any manufacturer to use their supercharger network "as long as they help us add more chargers to existing ones and construct more stations" which is how things in real life works rather than giving your superior and hard earned product away for free. Especially for a small startup car company from San Francisco that's barely profitable now.

Those superchargers aren't gonna build themselves Aaron;)

Aaron Turpen    February 6, 2014 - 2:50PM

In reply to by Sal (not verified)

If Tesla actually cared about the EV revolution, they would give open access to their charging. They don't. If Tesla actually cared about the environment, they would produce their cars in a sustainable manner. They don't.

Reality sucks, but that's the truth. Tesla buyers are of the same mindset as Apple buyers: they want the thing that LOOKS like the latest tech and that they can snub their noses about having, but don't actually want to do anything more than that. It's the paradigm. Like it or not. Similarly, most LEAF buyers (after the initial wave of early adopters) were people who saw how much they could save in fuel costs with not much up-front investment in vehicle purchase costs. Nissan readily admits this is the paradigm despite the car's "green-ness."

Aaron Turpen    February 4, 2014 - 2:36PM

In reply to by Sal (not verified)

I said "Nissan thirty-minute chargers." THAT is a standard - for Nissan. I said they beat Tesla's plans for thirty-minute chargers across Europe. Just because those charging times/amounts aren't the same doesn't make the comparison valid. Anyone with a CHAdeMO-enabled EV can drive across Europe now thanks to the Nissan partnerships. You cannot yet do that in a Tesla Model S unless you have that converter. That's the title. Period. Reading anything else into it is just your bias attempting to find flaw.

Mark (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 10:01AM

I would agree with Sal say it's a bit misleading and an apples to oranges comparison. The 30 in "30-minute chargers" is arbitrary. To make it more accurate, Tesla has 12-minute chargers, vs. Nissan's 30-minute charges, since that's about how long each would take to add 60 miles of range.

Also, the article makes a strongly inferred comparison with Tesla, stating, "As Tesla Motors ... [accommodates] long-distance driving, Nissan focuses on ... everyday driving." But this is another apples to oranges comparison, since it doesn't explain that with a Tesla there's no need for a charging network to support everyday driving.

Overall, it doesn't read as a balanced article.

Bobby (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 10:12AM

exactly Sal this article is comparing apples to oranges. To do the same 80% charge on a Tesla with those Nissan chargers you'd have to stay put for 2 hours!
I don't know where the author got his information about the price of the conversion plug but it is completely wrong, every Model S gets comes standard with a mobile connector and a public charging station adapter.

Buzz (not verified)    February 3, 2014 - 11:58AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Aaron, I don't understand your reply. The link says $1000 for the adapter when purchased for an existing Tesla with Supercharging enabled. It looks to me like it's $2400 if you order the Chademo adapter and the Supercharging HW (so $400 for the Chademo). There's no option for Chademo if you have a Tesla without Supercharging. With a LEAF, there's also no option for Chademo QC'ing unless you pay for the $1127 option package (4%).

We are so off topic here. Both brands charge $ for quick charging. Nissan has refused to license the Tesla tech, and for good reason, few LEAFs can use stations so far from home. Tesla provides a Chademo option for a price but includes (for free!) a 10kW EVSE and a J1772 adapter.

Tesla needs fewer quick chargers than other manufacturers because they have greater range. Your headline makes it sound like they're trying to achieve what Nissan has already achieved but I think you miss the point. Tesla doesn't want or need 100's of quick chargers in cities. They want them on the interstates. It's just a different model.

Aaron Turpen    February 4, 2014 - 12:46AM

In reply to by Buzz (not verified)

It's pretty plain. $1,000 for the adapter if you have the 85kW and pre-order the CHAdeMO converter, $2,600 if you order it after the fact. No funny math required.

As for the rest of it: again, you miss my point. I'm not going to repeat it. Again.

Buzz (not verified)    February 4, 2014 - 10:55AM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

And you can't seem to grasp or, refuse to acknowledge mine: NIssan charges 4% for CHAdeMO (and you must order it with the car). Tesla, 2-3% for a higher performing QC. As everyone seems to be trying to tell you, your article has a misleading title and is misdirected. Perhaps next time, put your "point" in the title.

Aaron Turpen    February 4, 2014 - 2:46PM

OK, everyone. I'm sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities about their Tesla and if I'm unable to grasp your math in terms of the charge times and power. The point of my story was pretty straight-forward and shouldn't have required any advanced math or over-thinking. Nissan has built more charging stations in Europe than has Tesla and those Nissan stations are capable of charging the LEAF (or similar car) quickly (within 30 minutes) and allow travel across the continent. Tesla has not completed their 30-minute network. So Nissan beat them to the punch. Period.

I did get a little over-wrought in my comments here and have edited those to remove anything that seemed to be offensive. I apologize for that. You all should have access to edit anything you've written as well, if you wish to.

The fact is, in Europe, the Nissan equipped with the supercharging capability (i.e. all but the base model, which frankly doesn't sell well, just as the base Model S didn't either) comes standard with a CHAdeMO plug. The Tesla Model S does not come with that plug, as far as I could find, and its price (listed here in USD since I couldn't find anything about European sales) is over-and-above the premium cost of the Model S.

Sure, the Model S can travel 200-some miles per charge versus the ~70 miles of the LEAF. However, one thing many EV proponents continually say is that "the average commuter only needs 40 miles or less", which is why so many EV makers are aiming for about twice that as their goal. It makes the car affordable (sub-$50k before incentives). In order for electric cars to get somewhere, Tesla or not, they have to have access to infrastructure - just as a gasoline car needs gas pumps, a diesel car needs diesel pumps, etc. In Europe, Nissan has beat Tesla to the punch in terms of that infrastructure. The point of the article.

Thanks for reading.

Chris (not verified)    March 2, 2014 - 11:33AM

I used my 2013 Leaf's CHAdeMO port for the first time at a new level-3 charger at my local dealer in NC recently. The charger's connector was huge, unwieldy, and difficult to connect properly. On the other hand, it was quite fast of course.

Charging on level-2 at home is really all I need though, even though I've put 16k miles on it in just one year.

Michael (not verified)    January 26, 2015 - 6:06AM

For others stumbling on this thread that may not know. Tesla "patents" are now completely open, available and free to use by anyone. Go Tesla!

Michael (not verified)    January 26, 2015 - 7:50PM

I think the big 3 think it's a scam, because that's how the 'lil' 3 operate. It's a shock to think that someone like Elon, a billionaire auto/space/internet mogul, could be genuinely sincere in an industry as large and corrupt as the automotive one is. Doesn't make it any less true. That being said, no one's even tried yet. And as they say, you never know until you try.