• 100 new DC quick chargers at Leaf-certified dealers
  • Located in 21 U.S. metro areas
  • Provides 80-percent charge in 30 minutes

Nissan is expanding its network of quick chargers for the all-electric Leaf by adding new charging stations at 100 dealerships across the U.S. The new DC quick chargers, which can provide an 80-percent charge for the Leaf in just 30 minutes, will be installed this summer at Leaf-certified Nissan dealers on the East Coast.

These high-powered chargers are much faster than the equipment available to electric vehicle (EV) drivers for home use. Using a standard 110-volt household outlet, the Leaf requires about 21 hours to charge completely. That time drops to seven hours with a 220-volt charger, or four hours with an available 6.6-kW on-board charger.

Not every Nissan Leaf is equipped with the quick-charge port required to use the DC charging station. It's an option for the base Leaf S and mid-grade SV models, but comes standard on the top-trim SL model.

Some dealers in West Coast cities that were part of a pilot quick-charger program already have the equipment. These include 24 dealers in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Seattle. East Coast dealers will get the first of the 100 new chargers this summer. By April 2014, Nissan expects 21 more markets to have DC quick chargers available to Leaf drivers.

EVs such as the Leaf are increasing in popularity, but zero-tailpipe-emission cars remain only a sliver of the overall new-car market. Part of the reason is anxiety about driving range. The Leaf is rated at 75 miles of range before its batteries need recharging. While that's adequate for most Americans' daily commute, it's considerably shy of the range of gas- or diesel-powered vehicles, which can go hundreds of miles before refueling. Moreover, fuel stations for conventionally powered vehicles are everywhere.

The network of DC quick chargers is growing quickly, though, especially in urban areas. Nissan's expansion of fast chargers will effectively extend the range of EVs, provided drivers stay in areas where chargers are located.

What it means to you: If you own a Leaf EV or are considering buying one, check to see if a DC quick charger is available in your area. It could come in handy if you need additional driving range in a hurry. If your area does not have a quick charger, ask your local Nissan dealer if it's among the 100 dealers that will soon have the equipment installed.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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