2011 Nissan Leaf, Nashville, October 2010Enlarge Photo
Japanese electric car owners in eastern Prefecture of Kanagawa can now drive easy without the fear of being stranded with a flat battery pack thanks to a new pilot project being run between Nissan Japan and the Japan Automobile Federation - the Japanese equivalent of the AAA.
Stranded owners of cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i will be able to ring for assistance when their car runs out of juice in the form of a small pickup truck carrying a portable level 3 rapid charger.
Portable diesel-powered 440-Volt quick charger for Nissan Leaf electric carsEnlarge Photo
The rapid charger - similar to ones being installed in Washington and Oregon - is capable of recharging the 2011 Nissan Leaf from empty to 80% full in around 20 minutes. Normally chargers this powerful require special high-power electrical wiring and are expected to be installed everywhere from public parking garages through to gas-stations worldwide, but this particular rapid-charger is powered by a diesel-driven generator.
For anyone unlucky enough to run out of charge the (hardly-new) idea of a rescue truck coming to their aid with a rapid-charger is probably extremely welcome, but given the number of electric cars on the road we’re wondering if it is overkill.
After all, most electric cars get plugged in overnight, meaning they always have a full-charge every morning. Since most consumers - regardless of country - are likely to drive less than the 70-100 mile range offered by most electric cars
50 Kw Leaf ChargerEnlarge Photo
Add to that the large public network of level 3 rapid chargers available in Japan, and we’re wondering why the truck is even needed at all, especially when some brave Dutch electric car enthusiasts proved that in the most dire of cases you can even recharge a Leaf by towing it.
Naturally, mistakes happen and people will forget to plug in at some point, but given the number of warnings you’d have to ignore in order to run completely flat we have to admit to losing a little sympathy with those who push on forward to the dreaded ‘turtle mode’.
[Nissan via Panorient News]