EVSE Upgrade Testing 6.6-kW Upgrade To Halve Leaf Charging Time

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2011 Nissan Leaf: One Year Drive Report

2011 Nissan Leaf: One Year Drive Report

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In the world of electric cars, there are a great number of engineers who like to tweak, modify, and improve the various electric cars on the market today.

So far we’ve seen everything from advanced remote monitoring devices to jet-powered range extenders, but now one prolific Californian engineer has confirmed rumors that he has fitted his 2011 Nissan Leaf with an on-board charger capable of halving the usual level 2 charge time of Nissan’s first electric car.

Enter Phil Sadow, otherwise known as Ingineer on the MyNissanLeaf forums, and his specialist firm EVSE Upgrade. 

Responsible for both the aforementioned range extender, along with a modification that turns the Leaf's included 110-volt level 1 charging cord into a portable, level 2, 240-volt charging station, Sadow is number one when it comes to developing aftermarket solutions for the Leaf.

Turbine-powered Nissan Leaf range extender, charger

Turbine-powered Nissan Leaf range extender, charger

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Although the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leaf shipped with a 3.3 kW onboard charger capable of charging from empty to full in six to eight hours, Sadow has fitted a 6.6 kW experimental charger to his Leaf, enabling it to charge as quickly as the 2013 Nissan Leaf, which will launch later this year with a 6.6 kW charger as standard.

It also means Sadow’s Leaf can charge as quickly from a Level 2 charging station as the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, and the 2012 Coda Sedan.

“My car is indeed equipped with a prototype 6.6 kW upgrade that works properly, and more than doubles the Leaf’s charging speed (when used with a 32A capable EVSE),” wrote Sadow on the MyNissanLeaf forum. “I can charge to 80 percent in well under 3 hours.”

When Nissan initially announced the 2013 Nissan Leaf was getting a faster, more powerful on-board charger, Nissan’s Mark Perry hinted that the new charger would be designed so it could be retrofitted to existing cars, saying “We don’t want to orphan our first-year buyers.”

But the complexities and labor costs of retrofitting a 6.6 kilowatt charger has meant that an official upgrade for existing Leafs from Nissan is highly unlikely

Sadow says his modification requires no holes drilled or cut wires, and has no affect on the amount of space the Leaf has in its load bay. 

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

2011 Nissan Leaf SL

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Sadly however, while Sadow has hinted his firm may one day offer an upgrade, there are more pressing products to develop.

“It’s not available and I am not working on it any further until LEAFSCAN is out,” wrote Sadow.  His firm’s current project, LEAFSCAN is a third-party device designed to give Leaf owners full access to battery information data, energy logs and offer more sophisticated charging control.

For now, with Sadow and his firm concentrating on other projects, those with 2011 and 2012 Leafs will have to wait to see if this particular prototype makes it into production. 

If it does, Sadow warns, it won’t be cheap, musing that it could be as low as $2,000-$3,000 if enough Leaf owners were interested, presumably before fitting.

What price would you pay to double the charging speed of a Nissan Leaf? 

Let us know in the Comments below.


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Comments (11)
  1. For me this is useful when taking a trip; otherwise, I can afford the time to charge at 3.3kws. However, I think this would be useful if the battery were increased to say...from the current 24kws to about 35kws.

  2. i am happy with Phils EVSE Mod level 1 which only charges at 12 amps instead of the Level 2 of 16 amps. as it is, i am done charging overnight at like 3 AM. if i need a quicker boost, i grab 10=15 minutes at a DCFC in town

  3. 2k max. I think that I'd rather put that same money toward a group purchase of CHAdeMO DC quick chargers.

  4. I'm with you . What difference is there in charging for 8 hours or 4 if it happens when you are staring at the insides of your eyelids (asleep)? On top of that, a lower rate of charge can be achieved with an unmodified (ie cheap) 240V socket, is less likely to cause issues with your supply, less likely to cause a fire and causes less ware and tear on your Leaf battery.

    95% of Leaf drivers will won't need a full charge for 95% of the time so, as you say, what we Evers really need is a full-scale rollout of CHAdeMO (or similar) really fast chargers for the other two 5% scenarios.

  5. This is s a good news. But without changing the battery cooling system, this will ONLY add more heat to the battery pack during charging. This will potentially increase the battery capacity loss in hot area such as AZ and TX...

  6. Phil won't get many takers for his upgraded OBC until folks exceed the 100,000 mile battery warranty. Owners will resist modifying their on board systems until they are no longer able to get warranty coverage for those components.

    LEAFScan will sell easily today, the upgraded charger will have a market in 3-4 years.

  7. I'd pay $2,000 to $3,000 for this; it won't save me much to enable all my charging to 100% occurring in the 4 hour super-off-peak TOU window rather than spilling over into the 1 hour of Off-Peak after it but for all those times when I could have waited 30 minutes instead of an hour to get home, thank you where do I sign up!

  8. Well most of the existing level 2 chargers in public places aren't really providing 32 amps so you won't really charge that must faster if you rely on public charging. My Wattstation can handle it though. My LEAF has never taken more than 5.5 hours to charge and I've had it down to the last 10 miles. I would still drop $2,500 on the upgrade though. Go Phil!

  9. just buy a aftermarket charger and huck it dirlectly to the batterys and u will half the 3 hours to 1.5 hours. and if u have a electric bike if u use your charger to conect directly to the batterys u will half the charge time of it.

  10. Bought the EVSE upgrade, customer service is terrible. They are very critical of using any shipper other than UPS. They include very few details on returning the original cord. When they received it, they docked me $ because there was a buff on the cord. Seriously, I am the second owner of the car and the cord look quite nice to me. They wouldn't answer the phone or get back to me to discuss. Needless to say, I would NOT recommend this product...what if it breaks down the road and this is the customer service that they provide NOW.
    Don't get duped.

  11. It would be worth 2000-3000 as the main reason for upgrading to the 2013 Leaf for many would be the 6.5kw charger. Bring it on!

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