2011 Nissan Leaf: Charge Time is the Challenge
March 14, 2011
I'm fascinated by the concept of driving around on pure electricity, and I'd love to see the technology eventually work as a real-world alternative to internal combustion.
But beyond the issues of cost and range there remains perhaps the biggest challenge that won't be easily solved -- charge time. When I drove our long-term Nissan Leaf home a few weeks ago the range went from 95 to 24 miles.
That wasn't so troubling, but I did drain over 75% of the battery and I don't have a 240V charger at my house. When I saw the charge time for my 110V home outlet I realized I couldn't leave the house until lunch the following day (I was plugging in around 6 p.m.) if I wanted the Leaf fully charged before driving it again.
That's a loooooong time for a fill-up, and one that the majority of new car buyers couldn't deal with on any regular basis. One solution is to have pre-charged batteries at corner locations, just like gas stations. You drive in, swap batteries and drive away taking no more time than a current gasoline fill-up takes. Let's see if we can make that work.
'Til then these cars are going to have very limited real-world application.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large