DC Fast Charging: Mitsubishi Says You Can Do It Every Day

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If you're considering a Nissan Leaf optioned with Level 3 DC quick-charging, you've probably been told, as we have, that you shouldn't make too regular a habit of getting a quick charge. Doing it daily, or even a few times a week, is probably a little too often.

But the answer from Mitsubishi officials, regarding the quick-charge option on the new 2012 Mitsubishi i, is quite different.

“We expect a daily quick charge not to have a significant toll on battery life,” said Bryan Arnett, manager of EV product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

According to Arnett, the company has expected that its batteries will retain 80 percent of their original charge after ten years—and that includes a consideration that the battery might be frequently quick-charged. It would be bad if the battery were to be quick-charged every time, he said, but not in the context of extending range midday, between overnight charges.

80 percent charge, in 20-30 min

As we experienced again in our recent First Drive of the U.S.-spec 2012 Mitsubishi i (or i-MiEV), it's nice to know that quick chargers can pinch-hit, in about the time it takes to grab a quick lunch. According to Mitsubishi, DC quick-charging will bring battery charge from zero up to 80 percent in just 20 to 30 minutes (with most of that variability linked to battery temperature).

The Leaf can be charged to 100 percent if you're willing to wait an hour or more, but Mitsubishi has limited the charge the battery pack in the i can get from quick-charging to 80 percent—thus avoiding the heat-related worries that cause the process to slow as you near a full charge (and can reduce the battery's life).

While the i takes 22.5 hours to charge up from zero charge remaining on a typical (110V) household socket (due to the charger's rather low 8 amps), charge times are just seven hours with 220V charging—including the Eaton home charger that's available, via Mitsubishi, at Best Buy, at a price of about $700 plus installation costs, which can vary widely.

Hundreds in Japan; dozens coming to Portland, Seattle

The Chademo interface, which is already being used for the Leaf and the soon-to-arrive i, is rapidly becoming quick-charge standard. Mitsubishi has already sold about 11,000 i-MiEV models in Europe and Japan (plus another few thousand, including Peugeot and Citroen versions), and the company has already gathered extensive usage and battery information through a network of hundreds of quick chargers in Japan.

In the U.S., there are very few yet, but they're on the verge of gathering to a critical mass in the Pacific Northwest. There are already two publicly accessible DC quick-charge stations in Portland—both using the Chademo standard—and the Portland public utility PGE, recently reaffirmed its expectation that there will be 30 more DC quick-charge stations to be installed by next spring (all are funded). And that's only part of a broader regional plan that would install Chademo chargers up the I-5 corridor, from the Oregon-California border to Vancouver, British Columbia. In theory, that would allow the occasional day trip to the coast, or up to the mountains.

Other regions nationally are proposing quick-charger networks, but none are deploying them to this degree. So it's not surprising that the Mitsubishi i's initial market is California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.

Tesla, however, is going its own way; the Silicon Valley automaker has announced that it plans to roll out its own Level 3 quick-charge interface with the upcoming 2012 Model S.

Most affordable vehicle with quick-charging

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car at quick charging station

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car at quick charging station

Enlarge Photo
The other thing the 2012 Mitsubishi i has going for it is that, when optioned as such, it's the most affordable new EV with rapid charging. The Chademo charge capability will be included in the $2,790 Premium Package, or available as a standalone option for just $700 on the ES model—bringing the bottom-line price as low as $29,825 (or $22,325 including the $7,500 federal tax credit) with quick-charge capability.
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Comments (16)
  1. Several months ago MIT announced the results of their study of quick charging and claimed that how fast you recharge has no
    effect whatsoever on the lifespan of the battery.

  2. Nissan in the UK are also on the record as saying once a day quick charging is fine.

  3. Link please.

  4. At $30,000.00 for that little car, they should throw the quick charger in to say 'thank you' for buying our car.

  5. That price DOES include the quick charge capability!

  6. Level 3 quick chargers need nearly 500 volts of 3-phase power that you will never get at your house. Plus, the unit itself costs tens of thousands of dollars. Some cost over $60K.

    Level 2 chargers (not considered a "quick charger") can be installed in the home and will fully charge in less than 8 hours.

  7. why is Tesla going another way? are they that confident that they can build a charging network on their own? or do they think their customers will be rich enough and have enough money left over after the S purchase to fund their own public QC network?

  8. Tesla is designing the Model S to be charged from a standard clothes dryer outlet. This is much easier to install than a dedicated J1772 plug in your garage. However, this article is about quick charge, and Tesla has no intention of trying to establish a new standard, they just haven't announce which standard they will follow.

  9. The most likely "other way" is the J1772 level 3 design. SAE is trying hard to get this to become a world standard. As such it has evolved to be a little bigger to appease electrical standards of all countries. This is a good compromise. The difference is not so much that the ChaDemo quick charge stations could not be converted or even have two cords, one with the ChaDemo plug and the other with the J1772 level 3 plug.

  10. More info, see: http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/10128

    ChaDemo's weak point is the large number of small pins used for communication. The J1772 standard uses only 2 larger and stronger pins for communications. This more robust design is less likely to be damaged and will be more reliable.

  11. Better read the fine print on this: fast charging is only okay for midday charges to extend range a bit, not for the larger overnight charging cycles and even than it will only charge to 80%. This leaves only a small portion of the vehicle's small battery capacity that can be safely fastcharged everyday without damage to the battery.

  12. Mitsubishi is the Japanese equivalent of Fo-Mo-Co only better. This is the only all-electric car worth buying. Why would you finance Elon Tusk's financial escapades? Just because you can? Come on, you're smarter than that.

  13. While we are on the subject. Perhaps charging to 100% every day is more damaging to the battery than whether you quick-charge or not. Perhaps only charging the battery to 80% is the best way to extend its life.

    But that is a real conundrum for the "i" because the range is already so small that reducing it another 20% would be intolerable.

  14. John Briggs-the i will just have to be used for shorter travel distance right now. Like 80 miles or less. Unless you can charge up again easily enough at a charging station somewhere. It's just the price to be paid right now.

  15. Please do NOT refer to DC Fast Charge as LEVEL 3.... IT ISN'T !!!
    It is actually DC Level 2 charging that is being offered. Check with SAE if you need confirmation.
    Presently we have AC Level 1 & 2 charging and DC Level 2 charging available in the US marketplace.
    I have provided this comment three times to the writers of these articles. If you use the term level 3...you're stuck in the 1990's.

  16. Wikipedia disagrees with your use of Level 1,2,3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_1,_2,_and_3_charging#US_Charging_Standards

    DC charging with an offboard charger is Level 3, as this article correctly states.

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