Charge time from empty – 3 3/4 hours

It is often quoted by the press and Nissan themselves that a Nissan LEAF can take up to 7 hours to charge from empty using a 240v power source. As I’ve used the vehicle I have come to the conclusion that such a time estimate is very conservative and that charge times are shorter.

Last night after arriving home from a trip to Nashville the car displayed a low battery warning and was flashing just 5 miles of range left as I pulled into the garage. The total time to recharge the vehicle was just 3 hours 46 minutes. I only charged the vehicle to an 80% charge level as recommended by Nissan to extend battery life, but I know from experience that the extra 20% takes just over an hour to accomplish. So the true charge time from almost empty to full would be 5 hours. My average charge time this month is just 1.8 hours. The common conception that EV’s spend all night charging is a myth! The Nissan LEAF also offers fast charging at special 480v charge stations that can charge to 80% in less than 30 minutes.

The best part about last night’s trip to the Bombay Palace in Nashville other than the food? It only cost $1.27 in electric to make the return trip. In my previous vehicle, a Chevy Malibu, it would have cost at least $7 in gas.

Update:2012-09-23  I charged from low battery warning to 100% battery capacity last night in 4 Hours 55 Minutes, which confirms my previous estimate.

This entry was posted in Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Level 3 EV Charger, Nissan LEAF and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Charge time from empty – 3 3/4 hours

  1. Tuan Duong says:

    Calculation shows that a 24kWh battery got filled up in about 5 hours means the charger is pulling 4.8kW from the power source (at 100% efficiency.) Either your LEAF has a better than 3.3kW charger installed or the engineers at Nissan were way conservative on rating the charger.

    • jpwhitehome says:

      One reality to be aware of is that only 21kWh of the battery is available to the driver. 3 are reserved by the BMS to prevent over/under charge situations. Also note I did not run the car to ‘turtle’ just a little past the low battery warning. (Low battery warning is a little under 20% for a new LEAF, possibly 25% for an older one).

      The whole point of the post is to point out that IRL the theoretical 7 hour recharge time is not experienced by the average LEAF driver. In almost 3 years of driving the LEAF I’ve never seen charge time exceed 5 hours, With 45,000 miles on the clock I’m tracking above the average miles per year.

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