Nissan has worked with utility partners in the European Union to reduce roadblocks to EV infrastructure in the next five years. The Japanese automaker wants a network of at least 1,000 charge points on the continent by 2012 with at least 10,000 installed by 2015. These goals received a boost last week with Nissan’s announcement that 400 quick-charge stations will be offered free to European utilities in the next year. This opening salvo of Nissan charging stations should prime the pump for utilities, automakers and municipalities to invest in quick-charge technology.
The selection criteria developed by Nissan for complimentary quick-charge units ensures that participants can meet the needs of EV users. Nissan requires applicants to submit planned locations for charging units so that the most convenient and heavily used locations are selected. Installation of Nissan quick-charging units must take place beginning February 2012 to maximize impact for plug-in vehicle owners. The automaker also wants utilities to provide free or significantly discounted rates for Nissan owners for at least 12 months. The application process began on October 10 with recipients notified over the next month.
Nissan’s quick-charge technology was developed in conjunction with Mitsubishi, Nissan and Fuji Heavy Industries to ensure compatibility. The CHAdeMO charging standard used in Nissan stations allows owners of vehicles ranging from the Nissan LEAF to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV to rejuvenate their batteries. The inclusion of Mitsubishi vehicles in this standard helps Peugeot and Citroen given their partnerships with the Japanese auto industry. This technology also takes into account AC chargers developed by Renault for the European market. The Renault-Nissan Alliance can easily reconfigure Nissan’s quick chargers to meet the 43kW AC standard set by European automakers.
The delivery of 400 free quick-charge stations expands Nissan’s influence within the European market. The automaker already operates manufacturing facilities in Russia, Spain and Great Britain that have produced 528,000 units. Nissan Europe employs 12,500 staff members and offers 24 vehicle models throughout the European Union. The LEAF EV was released in Great Britain earlier this year with a broader release due by the end of 2011. Nissan’s partnerships with public utilities, governments and other automakers certainly improve prospects for the LEAF EV in Europe. The long-term consequence of the company’s investments in infrastructure is increased competition from other automakers looking to fill customer demands.