Tesla has been touting their rapid Supercharger network that will soon be nationwide. Not to be outdone, Nissan has announced that they will bringing a fast-charging system to their more than 100 certified Leaf dealerships nationwide. Nissan produces the all-electric Leaf, a small car designed to compete with the likes of the Ford Focus Electric, Fiat 500e and Chevrolet Volt.
These chargers will be able to charge a completely drained Leaf to 80% charged in approximately 30 minutes. Nissan has tested these chargers at select dealerships and plan on having the entire network operational by April 1, 2014. Nissan believes if there is a larger charging infrastructure in place they would sell more electric vehicles. That seems logical, but it remains to be seen how many people want to recharge at a dealership. Sometimes they are not located in the most convenient of places, and may not be easy to find after dark when the dealership is closed.
The installation of the chargers and ongoing support will be provided by a third party, and Nissan has not indicated whether or not they Leaf owners will have to pay to charge for their vehicles.
Tesla’s Supercharger network is free to use, but is limited to Tesla Model S vehicles. The Nissan chargers will use a standard connector, making it usable by anyone with a supported vehicle. More high-capacity charging units will surely be a welcome addition to the charging network.
However, will 100 additional chargers nationwide really affect the overall network and improve sales? Probably not. But new Leaf buyers may feel comfortable knowing they can charge their vehicles at their local dealership, reducing some of the anxiety of “where to charge?” That will probably help the Leaf in customer satisfaction surveys.