Rapid electric car charging stations for cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i may soon become a lot more common in the U.S. thanks to a new rapid charging station Nissan says it will launch in the U.S. by early 2012. 

The charging station, which is based upon the CHAdeMo direct current rapid charging standard, is being launched by Nissan as part of a global electric vehicle infrastructure collaboration with multinational logistics firm Sumitomo Corporation. 

Nearly half the size, one-third the price

Almost one half of the physical dimensions of previous generation rapid charging stations, the new rapid charging stations developed by Nissan are also a lot cheaper to manufacture, meaning they cost a lot less to buy. 

In fact, Nissan has managed to cut the cost of rapid charging station technology by two thirds, resulting in a $9,900 basic indoor rapid charging station capable of providing 49 kilowatts of power to recharge cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i to 80 percent full in just 30 minutes.

Designed to be used in covered parking garages, the base specification charging station features a 6 foot 6 inch charging cable, capable of reaching several parking spaces when placed correctly. 

More sophisticated options, including touch-screen LCD displays, longer charging cables,  or heating to cope with extreme cold, add additional cost. 

Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas Station

Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas Station

Long distance becomes easier

As anyone who has a 2012 Nissan Leaf will tell you, round trips greater than 100 miles become quite tiresome when the only charging stations you have access to charge your car at a measly 15 to 20 miles per hour. 

But with direct current rapid charging stations capable of replenishing up to 80 miles of range in 30 minutes, longer distance trips become plausible.

Nissan’s new, cheaper rapid chargers won’t spring up overnight, but the dramatic price drop should encourage more businesses to follow in the footsteps of Walgreens, installing direct current rapid charging stations where feasible.

And that means owners of the Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i will be able to make even more trips powered solely by electricity. 

400 donated in Europe, should U.S. follow?

Earlier this week, Nissan Europe announced that it was donating 400 of its new rapid charging stations to dealers, local government and what it refers to as “high profile locations”.

While Nissan is donating the charging stations free of charge, recipients will have to fund installation costs as well as maintenance.  In order to be eligible, those companies in Europe who wish to apply for a free direct current charging charging station will have to agree to offer free or discounted charging for all Nissan Leaf drivers for at least one year from the point of installation. 

Nissan North America hasn’t followed suit with a similar plan at the present time, but should it?   At present, despite audacious plans made in the past by many charging infrastructure companies to flood certain areas with direct current rapid charging stations, the reality is that very few public rapid charging stations exist. 

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

With most Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i owners currently living in areas not served by rapid charging stations, and the federal government still keen to embrace electric car technology, a manufacturer-sponsored rapid charging station scheme could dramatically change the way electric cars are viewed in the U.S. 

Tesla has already unveiled its own plans to roll out its proprietary SuperCharger charging stations for its 2012 Model S sedan -- but should Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet and Mitsubishi follow suit? 

Let us know in the Comments below. 


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