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Nissan to install 400 new quick charging stations for free

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Nissan is accelerating plans for a European-wide Quick Charge (QC) network for electric vehicles by giving away 400 new quick charging stations free of charge.

These new points, which will be capable of charging to 80% in 30 minutes, will boost existing networks and give EV customers greater freedom and flexibility by effectively extending the range of their car.

Countries across Europe have been asked to pitch for a charging network and the best ‘bids’ will win an allocation of chargers. In the UK, Nissan has put in a bid for 65 chargers which would be strategically located at selected service stations along the motorway network, creating a ‘pathway’ on major routes across the UK.

Contact has already been made with the three largest motorway service station chains who have a total of 100 stations across the country.

In addition, Quick Chargers would be located in some city centres and other key locations such as airports.

Nissan currently has a network of 32 EV dealers, 26 of which already have a Quick Charger installed. The remaining six dealers will be the first in the UK to install these new smaller units, the total number of dealers with QCs is expected to be 150 by the end of 2012.

By recharging batteries in a fraction of the time, Nissan hopes that this will help drive more customers towards electric vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF. The lithium ion batteries in the Nissan LEAF can be recharged from 0 to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes using a quick charger.

Although a range between charges of up to 110 miles will be enough for most Nissan LEAF owners, the spread of Quick Charger networks will allow drivers to travel longer distances in a day. Recharging a Nissan LEAF with a quick charger takes a little longer than it takes to refuel a conventional car and is significantly cheaper.

The move follows an agreement between Nissan and five of Europe’s leading utility and EV infrastructure supply companies to speed up the provision of the latest quick chargers developed by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., which are cheaper – up to half the previous price – and smaller than before. The target is to have a network of quick charge stations across Europe with several thousand units in place by the end of 2012 and tens of thousands by 2015.

To kick-start this ambitious programme Nissan is now announcing it will give 400 units away to Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies across Europe, all of which are enthusiastic backers of the company’s ambitious electro-mobility plans.

A selection process has already started and winners will be awarded chargers according to how they fulfill a strict list of criteria developed by Nissan. These include convenient and accessible charger location, installation starting February 2012 and free or discounted charging for all Nissan LEAF customers for at least one year.

The new quick chargers are engineered to the CHAdeMo standard and can deliver up to 50 kW of high voltage direct current (DC) electricity. The CHAdeMO – Charge to Move – standard was developed and agreed by a coalition of Japanese companies including Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries. Nissan’s QCs, therefore, can be used not just by drivers of Nissan LEAF but also by drivers of EVs from Mitsubishi, Citroen and Peugeot. The QC stations are also ‘AC ready’ to support the arrival of EVs from Alliance partner Renault designed to 43kW AC quick charge standards. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is promoting infrastructure deployment based on AC-DC Mix Quick Charger strategy.

The Nissan LEAF was the winner of both the European and World Car of the Year awards in 2011.

The family hatchback, which has been awarded a 5 Star safety rating by Euro NCAP, is powered by an in-house developed compact electric motor and inverter in the front of the car which drives the front wheels. The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 90 mph. It comes fully equipped with features such as climate control, satellite navigation, a colour rear parking camera, a quick charge socket and innovative smart-phone connectivity.