Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Time Fast Charging

Last Friday, I took a quick trip from Santa Monica down to Cypress, CA. to the headquarters of Mitsubishi USA to visit with David Patterson, Chief Engineer, Mobile Emissions Regulatory Affairs & Certification for Mitsubishi's R&D division. He is the guy to talk to about their iMiEV the next EV to hit the U.S. market. Kitty Adams of Adopt a Charger a new non-profit that installs sponsored "fee-free" charging stations throughout the U.S. and Canada, had set up the meeting and accompanied me. Mitsubishi installed the first DC fast charger in southern California at their headquarters, and they were interested in talking to us about installing some under the umbrella of Adopt A Charger. We drove up to their beautifully designed 40 kW solar array under which were several Level 1 and Level 2 charge stations used to keep their fleet of iMiEVs charged. In the middle of these stood the refrigerator-sized EATON 480 volt device, an imposing charger to one used to much smaller. After locating someone with a key to unlock the device (they don’t allow unsupervised use) I locked the large connector into the big port on the front of my LEAF.

The display screen was simple enough, just push start and that was it. It started out pushing 380 volts at 120 amps, a lot of power! While we chatted for a few minutes, the amperage dropped gradually as the battery pack filled and by the time we were ready to go to lunch it was down to about 39 amps. We left it charging while we took one of the iMiEVs for a spin to the restaurant. The iMiEV is a great car!

I reported on a right hand version in February, 2010 after getting a loaner for a weekend. This time, we had a production model made for the U.S. market with the steering on the left side. The ride was every bit as good as the first time, maybe a bit quieter. The interior was comfortable although not as richly appointed as the Volt or LEAF, but still very nice. Acceleration was exactly as I remembered it, I'm guessing 0-60 in about 10-11 seconds. There is an "eco mode", but it's not the same as that in the LEAF. They have it programmed to increase the regen quite a bit, much more than the LEAF, so I liked that.

Kitty took her turn behind the wheel on the drive back and was similarly impressed. David says that Mitsubishi will be selling these by November of this year, so they'll beat the Ford Focus EV to market. Even better is the price. David says they will sell a fully loaded iMiEV for under $30K before incentives. Here in California, that means you could purchase one for under $20K after state and federal incentives. This is great news as it opens up a much larger market for new EVs. I see this as a perfect college car, low cost to buy, very inexpensive to operate, and your kid won't be driving to Vegas, at least until we get those DC Quick Chargers installed:~)

Upon arrival back at the charger, my LEAF was filled to the 80% level, not full. Apparently, and this was news to me, if you start the fast charge with less than 50% state of charge (SOC), the charger will automatically stop at 80%, but if you start with more than 50% SOC, it will take you all the way to 100%, but slowing down as it gets toward full. This is a software feature in the LEAF, not in the charger. Maybe some of the Nissan engineers who read this blog will tell us the reason for this feature. My preference would be to take it all the way to full, even if it has to go much slower for the last 20%.


  1. Paul,
    Great post on the fast charging option. We need more stations like this one.

    Any word on when the 2012 Leafs will start showing up on dealer lots ?

    Kyle Dansie

  2. Zevutah, thanks for the nice words. It looks like the 2012 model will start arriving late October or in November. As of this week, Nissan has delivered over 6,600 LEAFs in the U.S.

    Santa Monica Nissan has delivered about 250 of those, and I've delivered about 125 of that. I love my job! I can't wait till the Tennessee plant opens next year and we start making 150,000 units just for North America. That's going to be fun.

  3. How much will the fast chargers cost? And what does a normal charger cost?


    Andy (Saralegal)

  4. Andy,
    I believe the fast Level 3 'Chademo' DC chargers are $12-$25K...wholesale!

    The Chademo Level 3 is truly a charger and connects directly to the high-voltage DC battery pack, while the Level 1&2 'chargers'(EVSE) are actually a sort of interface between the AC Outlet and the charger built-IN the EV.
    The on-board charger converts the AC to high-voltage DC to match the pack voltage.

    Level 2 EVSE for home use are now, or will soon be, available from about $750 plus installation, and through sources such as Home Depot or Lowes.

  5. Hi Paul -

    Great post on a real world example of DC Level 2 charging.

    When I saw the 380vdc, 120amps, my first thought was: I wonder how hot the cables and traction pack are getting?

    Did you reach behind the LEAF's Jari connector to see how warm the cable might be getting? I've not been around a LEAF enough to know, but can you get your hand on the traction pack or box at any point? If so, did you check for heat there? Is there a battery temperature display on the LEAF, if so what did it say? I wonder if the 80 percent SOC cutoff when starting your charge under 50 percent is due to heat accumulation?

  6. Hi Paul,

    I like the fact that these Quick Charging Stations are being deployed because they solve many of the worries people have about EVs running out of power or taking too long to charge. I really like the design of the charging station too ... very cool and futuristic looking while being functional by off-setting the actual electricity you just used in your vehicle.

    Mark Machuszek

  7. Hi Paul,

    Cute little cars. What's the driving range per charge?

  8. elaterite, I wish I had checked the battery temp gauge. Next time I will. I don't know it it's possible to feel the pack that closely, but if it is, it would be underneath the car. There's a bit of protection, of course, so you couldn't feel too well.

    Mark, yes, a few of these in the right places would greatly expend our overall range.

    Tim, I easily and regularly get 100-120 miles of range. I drive efficiently. It's a fun game, actually, I really have learned a lot about driving from point A to B safely and will the least amount of energy without holding up people around me. Coasting is mandatory.

  9. Now I'm so glad I got the fast-charge port. Cypress is not far from our home, I'll see if they will let me charge there.

  10. I've used the quick charger in Cypress twice now. It's a beautiful thing! It is available 8-5p.m. Monday-Friday only at this point. The Level 2 chargers are available 24/7 from what I understand.

    elaterite, the system does get slightly warm, but nothing like what I expected. My battery temp gauge did not move when I charged to about 90% (10.4 kwh in 22 min) or the second time where I charged to 80% in about 20 min (8kwh I think). The Level 2 is a different story, after a while, some serious heat comes from under the wheel wells. After a month with the car, it seems that Nissan did an excellent job in engineering, the car is awesome!

  11. news from Colorado:
    "Free Plug-Ins for Electric Vehicles Likely Won't Last" (due to the high cost of construction of the facilities.) Will private providers step up, or are there other ways, like requiring developers to provide them?

  12. Hi Paul --

    Thank you posting this report, I enjoyed reading it. I'm wondering if you remembered the number of bars displayed on the battery gauge before you plugged in at Mitsubishi HQ. Was it about five bars by any chance? Also, the 380V you reported was an even number or did you round it up or down a bit? We are doing some comparative research on the MNL forum and have only a few voltage readouts so far. This would be quite helpful.



  13. Charged my LEAF at the Mitsu HQ last Thursday while on my way to the OC Auto Show. We need more DC quick chargers...a lot more....

  14. Great post on the fast charging option.

  15. Paul,
    I hear rumor that Santa Monica Nissan is no more and that you are working at another dealership.

    Is that true ? Can you give us any details on what is going on in your part of town ?

    Still waiting for the Leaf to show up here in Utah.


  16. Each and every modern woman lovesBurberry Scarf to own at Burberry Scarf least a few designer purses. Too bad that most of Coach Outlet Online the timesCoach Outlet Online such Coach Outlet Online Store bags come with a very high price tag, so someCoach Outlet Online Store ladies cannot afford buying at least one. There has to be a cheaper way to look good. Indeed, smartCoach Outlet Store Online women can manage to be fresh and col without spending a lot of money. Leather goods manufacturers suchCoach Outlet Online as Coach handbags are an Coach Outlet Store Online excellent option Louis Vuitton Bags and significantly cheaper than a Prada, Gucci or Fendi. Louis VuittonCoach Factory Outlet Here you'll be able to read a few tricks that will allow you to enjoy your style to the full. Smart ladies always chase promotions. Coach Factory Outlet If youCoach Factory Outlet Online look in the shops during the discount periods, you'll notice a lot of women struggling to obtain those items Coach Factory Outlet Online they have been logged in Coach Factory for over the past every year, and which now are Coach Factory Online for sale at incredibly discounted prices. Coach Factory, which are not expensive,Coach Factory but not quite cheap either, can be bought with important discounts when the collections get older, and when fashion changes. Coach Factory Online Even so, you can buy such discounted bags today, because the fashion always returns after a few years, so you'll have the chance to be in vogue withCoach Factory very little money invested. Bright colors are a good choice for bags. A sparkling purse can make others notice you out of the crowds. Yet, you need to watch yourself in order ofCoach Factory Online keeping the number of colors you wear at a time at a maximum of three. You don't want to look like an exotic bird, after all.

  17. Regardless of man's age, hermes belt mens watches present both classically refined and vintage inspired. Despite searching opulent, michael kors outlet.net stretch and play with their color hues from black pave crystals adorning round bezel to white ceramic bezel embellish with numeric engraving.

  18. To get unlimited hermes belt access to

    NYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps, you’michael

    kors outlet
    ll need a subscription.

  19. What will you choose when faced with the dynamic duo between black hermes belt and white? Elegant black and white watches come in new innovative ceramic, silicone, acrylic or plastic casing and bracelet. Gold and crystal accents lands the final touches on these watches. The Michael Kors Baguette and Glitz watches michael kors outlet have crystal embellishments surrounding the bezel and dial. The Michael Kors ceramic watches have a smooth glossy surface which is highly scratch resistant. The ceramic watches are very popular for its beauty and durableness. Choose between alluring white and sleek black Michael Kors ladies watches.

  20. Of course
    Coach Factory Outletthese may
    possibly not
    be your
    Coach Factory Outletordinary retailer
    Coach Factory Outlet purchased ones
    Coach Factory Outletbut they
    Coach Factory Outletare sturdy
    Coach Factory Outletand can be
    Coach Factory Outletterrific for heavy
    Factory Outlet
    duty get
    Coach Factory Outletthe job
    Coach Factory Outletdone. Army
    Coach Factory Outletcoats are also offered as perfectly as rain dress in.

  21. Interested in shopping for a designer breitling watches from a ray ban sunglasses locations?
    These typical merchants of the corporation stock goods which are surplus,
    and all those products which could suffer small defects because of to shipment or at the time of production.
    ray ban glasses that breitling watches typically obtain goods in bulk,
    they get these products at comparatively lower price ranges and also offer prospects enticing reductions on designer goods like purses and rolex watches for sale.

  22. That shoes and boots can be vacationing watched on the spot as well as have women's wandering over with the sites to own them all. They are really highly toasty and even awareness lightweight onto your foot. That designer high heel sandals can be easy walk around the block on so are Michael Kors Wallet fabulous designed for breaking a leg.
    You can get as a result quite a lot of outstanding Michael Kors Outlet affordable handbags to help you show up on simply adore through. That Unsecured personal Michael Kors Online Outlet affordable handbags are usually very good to help you one of a kind once you will have an important backpack to be through every little thing. Moreover, that Hobo Michael Kors Purses plastic bags can be super for every issue. That Lover designer handbag is perfect for some of those just who always like to bear bigger Michael Kors Outlet Handbags plastic bags. The more often compressed plastic bags can be what you must contain designed for venturing out around town and even some people will you should not treatment solution in the thicker Michael Kors plastic bags for instance the sizeable Lap Michael Kors Handbags Outlet affordable handbags.

  23. If you look closely will find the words hidden in the shoes of "23", two large patterns in the upper side support, three the soles lateral bottom

  24. --! @senquanSome LV Purses put up for sale distinctive situation and concert louis vuitton handbags outlet. Louis Cardinals Deals, louis vuitton outlet online, Cleveland Indians Deals, louis vuitton purses, Kansas Place Royalty Deals, authentic louis vuitton handbags, California Angels Deals . . .. along with a distinct louis vuitton outlet online. --! @senquan.

  25. In That Respect Chanel Wallet is a wide Chanel Sunglasses range ready for Chanel bags choice including the Chanel Outlet Store black leather satin Chanel Outlet bag.

  26. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work. scottsdaleduilawyer.biz

  27. WOw .. I Like your post bro
    Thanks for sharing for me.

    Good Jobbs.. ia Largers sites
    download game java
    game android
    Download Game Terbaru
    Inuxz foundz

  28. Glad to read your post :). It is very informative!
    Iftekhar Ahmed

  29. Your article is very useful and have good knowledge, thanks for the post.

  30. Very value able post, I read the whole story when I start reading it.

  31. I appreciate your blog post, beautifully expressed and well written.
    Radiator Covers UK