2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf: Charge Time is the Challenge

March 14, 2011

Nissan Leaf Charge Time.jpg

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

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