Faster Electric-Car Charging Gets Smaller, And That’s Better

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Nichicon Rapid Charging Station

Nichicon Rapid Charging Station

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If you’ve got a 2011 Nissan Leaf SL you probably ordered it with the included $700 rapid charging port, capable of recharging its 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack to 80 percent full in a little under 30 minutes using an off-board rapid charger.

But direct-current rapid charging stations using the Chademo protocol haven’t been adopted in the U.S., partly due to their size and cost among other reasons.

As a consequence, there are very few public charging stations in existence. 

That may change however, with the announcement of a smaller, cheaper, more lightweight rapid charging station from Japanese Nichicon Corporation. 

Up to 50 percent smaller and weighing less than a third of any other rapid charging station on the market, the NCQ-202 and CHQ-203 rapid chargers should be easier to install in tight parking lots 

At a price of between $25,000 and $27,000 the Nichicon charging stations will also cost a lot less to buy than other larger charging stations -- which have traditionally cost around $40,000 to buy. 

However, there is a trade-off for a smaller charging station and a lower purchase price: speed. 

2011 Nissan Leaf does 520 Miles in 2 days

2011 Nissan Leaf does 520 Miles in 2 days

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Unlike larger charging stations which are capable of providing up to 50 kilowatts of power to recharge compatible cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i,  the Nichicon charging stations can only provide between 20 and 30 kilowatts of power. 

This translates to slightly longer recharging times, meaning a car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf would take around an hour to recharge from empty instead of the 30 minutes it takes using a more powerful rapid charging station. 

Given the drop in speed, expect the Nichicon charging stations to be best suited to shopping malls and grocery stores rather than freeway rest stops. 

[Nichicon via engadget]


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Comments (16)
  1. just a waste of resources - not gonna be needed long-term.

  2. What makes you say that?

  3. Level 3 charging does shorten the life span of your battery, I'd only use one if it was an emergency.

  4. recharging anywhere but at home simply wont be done on any consistent basis. even if it did not shorten the battery life.

    it will cost the customer extra (in one way or the other), such that said customer will recharge at home whenever possible.

    battery range is already pretty decent (100 miles) for most people. that range will still improve by quite a lot. 10 years from now we will very likely be at 200-300.

    as i have stated many times in the past, the only recharging network that we will need will be at our truck stops. electric big rigs will overtake our current diesels.

    vacationers would also be able to stop and juice up.

  5. range is not any real issue. it is just something that people like to blabber about. there are 2 reasons for people not buying evs, currently. and they are related, in that as we improve one, the other will improve as a by-product.

    the biggest issue is supply. we cant manufacture anywhere near enough at this point. but as many car companies start rolling off their first models, we will be able to ramp up our production.

    the second issue is price. as production goes up, price will come down. and it will come down only enough to sell the cars that they can make.

  6. as evs begin to hit the road in numbers such that the average joe really understands what an ev is - it will doom gas cars very quickly.

    evs are so much better than ices in almost every regard, that no one is gonna want to spend new bucks on an ice.

    people will get new evs, or buy used ices. this will occur much faster than all the "experts" are predicting.

  7. Rang is not an issue if there are charging stations. Range anxiety may be like crime anxiety. And remote chargers may be like having extra police on duty. We may range farther and stay later knowing they exist. But to actually see them, reminds us that there are problems in the wild that we would rather not think about just yet.

  8. As far as big rigs go, I'm hoping that something like the Sumitomo low-temp sulfur battery lives up to the hype and becomes available soon.
    How damaging is Level 3 to battery life? I recall a claim that even daily Level 3 charging would only reduce battery life by an additional 5-10% over 7 years

  9. is there a reason we cant use our car technology, and apply it to trucks ?

  10. Lithium-ion would be too expensive for rigs right now, although the added weight wouldn't be as much of an issue as for passenger cars. The sulfur-based battery is supposed to be MUCH cheaper AND more energy-dense. A serious effort to reduce aero-drag on rigs must be undertaken.

  11. while it is still down the road a bit, one day our roads will be collecting sunshine. take a look at solar roadways.

  12. I came across that a couple years ago. It might have been feasible back when the US still had money but any attempt to do that on a grand scale will die a quick death in Congress and I don't know if the individual states have the cash and private enterprise won't do it unless they own the roads.
    If it's technologically feasible, it'll probably happen in Australia, somewhere in the Middle East or Mexico before the US.

  13. actually, the first projects will be parking lots. supposedly it will generate enough electricity to run the building, as well as charge the cars parking on it. could be cost effective for the owners of the building.

  14. That seems to be much less efficient and cost-effective than the solar panels on sun shades that Envision Solar is putting up. Easier to replace whether defective or with improved tech, can track the sun, if required and clients and their autos get the benefit of shade.

  15. When gas stations start converting over to charging stations and battery replacement stations here in the U.S., those charging stations will probably be a fraction of the cost they are now to the charging station. Almost every country, except America, is starting to build battery replacement stations, and Canada is supplying all its roads with charging stations and they will be finished by the end of this year, and to replace your battery will cost about as much as a tank of gas does now and to recharge your car will cost about .$2.00 American money. The times are rapidly changing and America should stop dragging its heels.

  16. Tesla and AC Propulsion have an 18 kw charger BUILT INTO the car, at an incremental cost of a couple hundred dollars. This is less than the incremental cost of a chademo connector on a Leaf. So Nichicon offers an external DC sort-of-fast charger that is only about 10% faster than what the serious guys build in, but it costs almost as much as the car?

    When AC Propulsion's "reductive" charging technology gets more widely accepted, these half way measures will be a questionable investment. Most EVs in the long run will need nothing more than a sturdy EVSE at around $1000 to charge in 2 hours or less.

    But these are early days. We will see how it pans out. The Japanese have always sold cheaper products with expensive accessories

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