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New Power Stations For Nissan Leaf

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On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 2:38PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Power Stations For Nissan Leaf

As the Nissan Leaf gets closer to delivery date, final orders are in at a whopping 17,000 consumers who want to purchase the all-electric car this year—that includes Japanese and American buyers. As it stands today, Nissan has the capacity to deliver only about 12,000 Leafs by March of 2011, but with all of the those new electric plug-ins on the road—and many more to come—how will motorists power up?

EV-Charge America is currently installing Smart EV Charging Stations across the country. The electric vehicle charging stations are being located in public and private parking areas, municipalities, governments, city streets, and Interstates. In San Diego alone, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced that it will work with Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. to build 1,500 public charging stations and 1000  home-based points, in preparation for the 2011 Nissan Leaf all-electric car. The stations are targeted to be complete by July of 2010. 

The new Leaf has a built-in level 1 (110-volt) charging system that can plug into any household outlet, and will take 14-15 hours for a complete charge. The extended charging time was a feature that many consumers were not interested in, so the level 2 charging stations are being developed that have a higher electrical output—3.3 kilowatts—and will decrease charging time to only 6-7 hours.

The first 1,000 Nissan Leaf owners in San Diego will get free level 2 charging stations installed in their homes. In addition to the level 2 charging stations, San Diego will have 60 “fast-charge” points in key locations, these stations will charge a car that is at 20% full charge capacity to 80% in less than 30 minutes using a very-high-power output of 96 kilowatts, or about 480 volts of electricity. These fast charge outlets require a weatherproof connector to be used to transfer high voltage electric current safely.

SDG&E received $99.9 million from the United States Department of Energy in the form of a grant specifically intended for the expansion of the infrastructure that will soon be necessary as the electric car hits the U.S. market. The cost of the level 2 charging systems is from $500 to $700 to install each station, compared with the “DC Fast Charge” unit that will be priced at up to $35,000.

San Diego is one of the largest of the five projects selected to develop the infrastructure for electric cars in the United States. Other cities include Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, and Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Instillation is planned to begin in the third quarter of this year.

Nissan had expressed hope that the new charging stations will help ease motorist’s worries about what they call “range anxiety.” Now it looks like the only thing Nissan really needs to worry about is how to produce more electric cars in order to meet the demand.

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