New Charging Options - 2011 Nissan Leaf SL Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test

2011 Nissan Leaf SL: New Charging Options

June 21, 2011

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The cost of the 2011 Nissan Leaf is complicated by many factors that subtract and add to the purchase price. One cost, the home charging station, is frequently quoted as being $2,000 for the purchase and installation. I'm getting ready to receive my own personal Leaf so I got an electrician to come look at my wiring system.

The electrician was a hip, young dude who's owned the Toyota RAV4 EV for years. After looking over my electrical panel he said, "You know, there's another option which could save you a ton of dough." Save money? Okay, I'm listening.

"You don't really need a home charging station," he said. "You just need a 240 volt connection and then you can modify the cord that comes with it to charge at the higher voltage." And how much is that? He said he would replace my old, corroded circuit breaker system and install an external 240 volt outlet for $900 parts, permit and labor. (Installing just the 240 outlet would be much cheaper.) My only other expense is $239 to modify the cord included with my car so I can charge from the outlet at 240 volts.

Last night, I took the Leaf home and plugged it in on the 110 volt connector inside my new box (our cord isn't modified to use the 240 plug). In the morning, the Leaf was completely recharged and showed a 104-mile range. This dropped quickly, of course, but when I got to the office, after covering 32 miles, I still had an indicated range of 62 miles.

The electrician said he frequently goes to visit his parents in his RAV4 EV and their house is outside his comfortable round-trip range. To solve this problem, he installed a 240 volt charging outlet at their house. His car is charging as he visits with his folks. A nice solution that essentially boosts the range of his EV.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 2,589 miles

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