New charger to put zip into electric vehicles

Nissan Motor Co. has unveiled a new rapid charger for electric vehicles that is smaller, faster and easier to use for drivers who want to recharge their environment-friendly cars.

Just as importantly, the new charger is compatible with all of Nissan's electric vehicles - such as the Leaf - as well as those produced by other car manufacturers like Honda and Toyota.

A number of companies have developed their own EV charging facilities, including Park & Charge in Europe and Better Place in parts of America. PARVE is under development in Spain, while JFE Engineerign Corp. is developing a rapid charging system that it claims will be able to take an empty battery to 50 percent full in just three minutes.

Nissan's new device was unveiled at the company's global headquarters in Yokohama and will go on sale for installation at the company's parts companies throughout Japan in November.

The charger will be made available in the North American and European markets in the near future, Japan's second-largest car manufacturer said, although no decision has been made on exact dates for those releases.

"The newly developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan ... but is nearly half the size by volume," the company said in a statement. "The new charger unit's smaller size will take up less space and enable easier installation."

The previous unit had a suggested retail price of Y1.47 million (€14,076), including tax, the company said, but the updated system will cost "significantly less than Y1 million (€9,576)," Nissan added. The basic unit will cost less than half the price of the present charger.

The company said it plans to sell 5,000 of the new quick chargers by March 2016 and contribute to the development of electric vehicle infrastructure in Japan.

As well as installing the chargers at its network of dealerships and companies, Nissan will site units at local government facilities and other places that attract high numbers of car users. These might include supermarkets and other large stores.

The new chargers can be used in wet weather, the company emphasized, and have a range of safety features, including a monitoring system to prevent a potential short circuit when the charging system is interfacing with the vehicle. Nissan has also developed a cold weather variant of the system.

JR

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