San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced it will work with Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. (eTec) and others on the roll-out of 1,500 public and commercial and 1000 home base charging points across the county, starting in four to six months.
The group's goal is to prepare for sales of the compact 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car.
Nissan LEAF Charging PortEnlarge Photo
After receiving a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $99.8 million, eTec--along with SDG&E and other local stakeholders--is working with Nissan to make San Diego electric car-ready as quickly as possible. This requires installing charging points in key public and private locations throughout the region.
The Nissan Leaf comes with a built-in Level 1 (110-Volt) charging system, capable of plugging into any household power outlet, that lets the car be recharged from "empty" to "full" in a sedate 14 or 15 hours.
Because Level 1 charging time is off-putting to some potential buyers, the group is mapping out the installation of Level 2 charging points in homes, offices, and public locations.
These Level 2 charging points can halve the Leaf's recharging time to around 6 or 7 hours at a maximum power output of 3.3 kilowatts. The first 1,000 San Diego purchasers (or lessees) of the 2011 Nissan Leaf who qualify can have Level 2 charging stations installed in their homes.
There will also be up to 60 fast-charge points in key San Diego locations, capable of recharging the car from 20 percent empty to 80 percent full in less than 30 minutes, using a high power output of 96 kilowatts (480 Volts DC, 200 Amps).
Both Level 1 and Level 2 charging points will have the much-anticipated J1772 recharging connector, which has become the U.S. universal standard for plug-in vehicles. Fast-charge outlets will utilize a separate weatherproof connector capable of high-voltage and high-current recharging.
The new Level 2 charging systems are being manufactured for $500 to $700 each, whereas the DC Fast Charge units go for as much as $35,000. They are reserved for commercial installations. Hardware and installation costs will be covered as part of the eTec project, called The EV Project. (www.theevproject.com)
Of California's greenhouse gas emissions, 38 percent comes from the transportation sector alone. The push for a stronger electric vehicle infrastructure marks another step in California's goals--the most aggressive in the United States--of reducing its statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
San Diego is the largest of the five regional projects to install charge points in the U.S. Other regions include Seattle, Portland, Phoenix/Tucson, and Chattanooga/Knoxville, Tennessee. Nissan hopes the new charging points can ease customers into electric-car ownership while eliminating "range anxiety."
Installations will begin in the third quarter of 2010, anticipating delivery of the very first 2011 Nissan Leaf electric cars to customers in mid-December.