It is often quoted by the press and Nissan themselves that a Nissan LEAF can take up to 7 hours to charge from empty using a 240v power source. As I’ve used the vehicle I have come to the conclusion that such a time estimate is very conservative and that charge times are shorter.
Last night after arriving home from a trip to Nashville the car displayed a low battery warning and was flashing just 5 miles of range left as I pulled into the garage. The total time to recharge the vehicle was just 3 hours 46 minutes. I only charged the vehicle to an 80% charge level as recommended by Nissan to extend battery life, but I know from experience that the extra 20% takes just over an hour to accomplish. So the true charge time from almost empty to full would be 5 hours. My average charge time this month is just 1.8 hours. The common conception that EV’s spend all night charging is a myth! The Nissan LEAF also offers fast charging at special 480v charge stations that can charge to 80% in less than 30 minutes.
The best part about last night’s trip to the Bombay Palace in Nashville other than the food? It only cost $1.27 in electric to make the return trip. In my previous vehicle, a Chevy Malibu, it would have cost at least $7 in gas.
Update:2012-09-23 I charged from low battery warning to 100% battery capacity last night in 4 Hours 55 Minutes, which confirms my previous estimate.
Calculation shows that a 24kWh battery got filled up in about 5 hours means the charger is pulling 4.8kW from the power source (at 100% efficiency.) Either your LEAF has a better than 3.3kW charger installed or the engineers at Nissan were way conservative on rating the charger.
One reality to be aware of is that only 21kWh of the battery is available to the driver. 3 are reserved by the BMS to prevent over/under charge situations. Also note I did not run the car to ‘turtle’ just a little past the low battery warning. (Low battery warning is a little under 20% for a new LEAF, possibly 25% for an older one).
The whole point of the post is to point out that IRL the theoretical 7 hour recharge time is not experienced by the average LEAF driver. In almost 3 years of driving the LEAF I’ve never seen charge time exceed 5 hours, With 45,000 miles on the clock I’m tracking above the average miles per year.
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