2011 Nissan Leaf: One Year Drive ReportEnlarge Photo
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, chargerEnlarge Photo
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 SLEnlarge Photo
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.