2011 Nissan Leaf Orders Commence. Fast Charge Option $700

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2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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It's been the most anticipated all-electric car of 2010 with well over 13,000 pre-orders in the U.S. alone. We've driven one twice and loved the car's well-finished trim, impressive handling and accurate range calculations using the car's built-in GPS.

Our very own Marty Padgett is one of the 13,000 people who has parted with $99 of cash to be placed on the waiting list, but until tomorrow no-one has been able to do any more than wait.

But that's all set to change. According to Washington state based Volkswagen and Nissan dealer CampbellNelson, posting on MyNissanLeaf.com,  Nissan will open its order books on Tuesday, August 31st,  allowing those who have reserved a Leaf to specify color, trim, options and final details.

As we've heard already from existing owners on the RAV4EV owners forums, some folks on the Nissan leaf waiting list have scheduled appointments to have the required chargers installed at their homes.  But that's all without knowing more about the final details for the car.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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As it turns out the 2011 Nissan Leaf is going to offer some great standard features and some impressive extra options.

Standard to the 2011 Nissan Leaf SV, with an MSRP of $32,780 are a 3.3 kilowatt on-board charger, capable of charging from either a 240V outlet or a 120V domestic socket.

In addition to Nissan's proprietary navigation unit which tells the driver how many miles the Leaf can travel before it needs a recharge, Nissan will offer 36 months free roadside assistance and 36 months free CARWINGS telematics assistance.

Also included as standard are 16 inch alloy wheels and seat trim made from cloth woven from recycled fabric.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf SL, at a more costly $33,720, offers automatic headlights, a solar panel on the car's spoiler, fog lights, rear-view parking assistance camera and a Homelink Universal Transceiver, useful for those with automatic garage doors.

After the standard trim for both models, a whole list of options are available offering the usual accoutrement and styling extras available for most cars.

What we're slightly worried about though is Nissan's fast-charge feature for the Leaf, which can charge the car to 80% full in just 30 minutes at a special 440V CHAdeMo charging station.

Why are we worried?

It's only an extra option. Worse than that, it's only available on the SL trim level Leaf at an extra cost of $700.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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According to the dealer in Washington State who published the options list, the fast-charge option will only be available as a new option and can't be added as a retro-fit option.

While a 100 mile range is more than enough for most consumers' needs and those with a charging place at their place of work could theoretically drive the Leaf for 200 miles or more per day, we think the absence of fast-charge option on the SV and the inability to add it post-purchase on the SL is a serious error on Nissan's part.

Our advice? If you can spare the extra $1800 or so to upgrade to the SL and fast-charge option we think your new electric wonder will retain a much higher resale price than the much-slower charging SV model.

[CampbellNelson] via [Mynissanleaf.com]

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Comments (15)
  1. A charger capable of 125 Amps and 50 to 500 Volt DC input requires more sophisticated electronics.
    The 3.3 kW AC charger is only 15 Amps by comparison, so the connector, transformer, inductors, capacitors, and power transistors all need to be beefed up for the fast charge option ...

  2. Pass - I will be using the LEAF as a comuter car and will drive less than 40 miles per day. $1000 for the SL and another $700 for the L3 will put me over my budget. =(

  3. A fast recharge option?? At some point, you need to sleep. That's when you plug in. You'll be fully charged way before you wake up on the 120v standard plug. The average driver drives 29 miles a day. You'll never even need a full charge! It's like buying a tow package for a vehicle you would only tow with once every two years. I've commuted for close to a year in my electric car and never once ran out of juice, or used anything but a standard outlet. It's a useless option to add to the bells and whistles so you feel you have one up on your neighbor....

  4. "It's been the most anticipated all-electric car of 2010 with well over 13,000 pre-orders in the U.S. alone."
    LOL. That is an understatement.
    BTW, there are now more than 18,000 reservations as of Aug-11th.

  5. egm,
    The fast (L3) charge is a DC charger and as I understand it goes directly to the battery pack bypassing the on board charger.

  6. Dave,
    Connecting "directly to the battery pack" isn't a good idea. An AC charger has a rectifier to convert the AC to DC. After that both AC and DC chargers require electronics to regulate the current and voltage going into the battery pack. These are known as "Buck-Boost" PWM converters, the "Buck" prevents over current and reduces voltage if the source voltage is higher than the battery pack, the "Boost" regulates current and increases the voltage if the source is less than the battery pack. These PWM (Pulse Width Modulating) converters require the sophisticated electronics previously mentioned.

  7. You WILL be able to add it to either model POST purchase...just not from Nissan. Obviously people will figure out how to hook it up. Look what they've done to the prius.

  8. This is bad. If it is true that is. Nissan made a big deal of the Leaf's fast charge capability, probably because it seemed to compensate for the fact that the Leaf's battery is (too) small and there is no range extender and now it turns out that it will be offered in such a fashion that many, may be most Leaf's will end up having no fast charge capability at all? Unacceptable. For one thing with fewer cars able to use it there is less incentive to set up a fast charge infrastructure which will slow down EV acceptance (range anxiety). Also people buying the Leaf are a lot more likely to end up disappointed with the cars real world capabilities. If Nissan is committed to the BEV concept it cannot afford not to make the fast charge capability standard.

  9. i am hearing a bunch of bitching and whining. grow up, and enter the real world.
    when you say make it standard, what you are really saying is give it to us, and dont charge us for it. everything costs money, one way or the other.
    could they have offered it as standard ? sure they could have. guess what. the msrp would have been 700 more expensive.
    perhaps a lot of people wont need it ? right now, price is one of the biggest deterrents.
    the main thing is that the nissan salespeople need to be trained, and be honest. there may be some areas in the country where the onboard charger is necessary, others where it is not.
    if nissan sells in such a way as to make sure their customers are well informed, i see nothing wrong with what they are doing.

  10. But we are going to be able to charge on a 240V socket in 8 hours, I think this makes a point.
    Really, if everyone is going to need to recharge only by night, the 700 dollars package is useless, in fact.
    Essiemme - Portugal/Europe

  11. one needs to understand his driving needs. the leaf, the coda, etc. will give you about 100 miles on a charge. they can then be charged over night.
    you need to ask yourself what percentage of the time this is satisfactory to you.
    you can always rent a gas car to go longer distances.
    so the next question to ask yourself is how often do you drive over 100 miles in a day.
    also keep in mind that battery range will continue to get better. if you think 100 may be too restrictive, but it is close, then you may be a better candidate a few years from now. in that case, you would be better off putting as few dollars into a gas car now, that would continue to meet your needs until you think an ev would suffice.

  12. dont forget that range is not the only thing to look at.
    with an ev, there is no radiator to blow up or freeze up. there is no smog equipment, and no smog check if you live in california. there is no oil, so no oil changes. there are far fewer parts, and far fewer moving parts, so maintenance is WAY LOWER. and along with all these service calls, means down time, that you cant drive across the street with your car, cuz it will be in the mechanic's garage.
    when you look at the OVERALL PICTURE, the "range" downside is accompanied by a tremendous amount of upsides, including a much cheaper "fuel" cost.

  13. It seems to me that getting the fast charger and skipping the 240 home charger makes sense. Are there reasons why I am wrong? The cost difference between SV with 240 charger and SL with fast charge capability is negligible.

  14. Pass, I'll take the Chevy Volt over this any day. If you keep telling your self range isn't a problem it doesn't mean its going to go away.

  15. It is expected that EVs have the promise to help lower car accidents on the simpler operation.

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