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Charging System


The LEAF has a built-in charger that is rated at either 3.3 kW or 6.0 kW delivered to the battery[1]. (The external "charger" is actually the Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). It is essentially a switch with some built-in intelligence, not a "charger".) The charger is liquid cooled: see "Drivetrain". This charger can accept alternating current from 100 to 130 volts (level 1) and also from 200 to 250 volts (level 2). It sends direct current to the battery at a variable voltage in the neighborhood of 400 volts. It communicates with the Li-Ion Battery controller, which specifies current levels that vary during the charging. The charger meets those levels by dynamically adjusting its output voltage.

For 2011 and 2012 the charger was located within the hump behind the rear seats. For 2013 it was moved to the front of the car and is part of an integrated stack sitting on top of the motor.

2011/2012 LEAF's gutted interior, showing charger and capacitor:
LEAF gutted interior kern0071.jpg LEAF gutted interior kern008.jpg LEAF gutted interior kern009.jpg

All LEAFs have a SAE-J1772 Level 1/Level 2 charging port. Some LEAFs also have a CHAdeMO DC quick charge port [2]. For 2011/2012 LEAFs the quick charge port was optional on the SL model and not available on the SV model. For 2013 it is standard on the SL and available as an option on the S and SV. This port cannot be added after the LEAF is manufactured.

The U.S.-market J1772 is substantially different from ones for other markets.

The J1772 has five pins[3]:

  • AC Line 1
  • AC Line 2
  • Ground Pin
  • Proximity Detection pin
  • Control Pilot pin

AC Line 1 and AC Line 2 pins are of the same size. Proximity Detection pin and Control Pilot pin are of the same size.

Note that not all J1772 plugs are created equal. Here is an account of a non-UL approved J1772 plug getting stuck in a LEAF, though later plugs from the same manufacturer (Dostar) apparently work fine.

The J1772 charge gun's latch button has an interlock such that, when plugged in and powered, pressing the latch (to remove the charge gun) will cause the car to immediate stop drawing current.

Charging time:

EVSE Time
Level 1 charging: OEM EVSE on household 110/120V 22 hours [4]
Level 2 charging: EVSE on 240V 40A circuit 8 hours [5][6]
Level 3 charging: "CHAdeMO DC fast charging":
"A 480V quick-charging capability will eventually be
available in many markets once a standard is set.
" [5]
30 minutes [6]


General Info

Nissan's Charging Recommendations

  • Info on charging in LEAF Owner's Manual: "Overview" / "Efficient use of your vehicle" / "Li-ion battery life" section.
    Nissan recommends:
    • Only charging to 80% in order to maximize battery life:
      "Long life mode
      NISSAN recommends charging the Li-ion battery using the long life mode to help maximize the Li-ion battery useful life. Long life mode can only be set using the charging timer function. The long life mode is set by changing the [% Charge] to [80% Charge (Improves Battery Longevity)] using the following procedure." [7]
      Furthermore, the LEAF's warranty includes an exclusion regarding Li-Ion battery being charged full on a daily basis "despite the lithium-ion battery keeping a high state of charge level (98-100%)." [8]
    • Allow the battery charge to be below at least 80% before charging.
    • Avoid leaving vehicle for over 14 days where the battery charge state is zero or near zero.
    • Allow the vehicle and Li-ion battery to cool down after use before charging.
  • If vehicle will not be used for long period of time, NISSAN recommends charging with "long life mode" (charging only to 80%, see above) and to charge once every 3 months [9]

Other General Info


Cell balancing is automatic with normal charge/discharge cycles and there is nothing additional that you can do to affect it. The service manual only addresses cell balancing when replacing a battery module. The new battery module must be balanced to match the other modules before installation.

For best battery life, Nissan recommends using the Long Life Mode for charging (80% Charge). Any more detail would be considered proprietary.

  • EV Project: ECOtality North America started the EV project using a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, aiming to deploy 14,650 Level 2 (220V) Chargers and 310 DC Fast-Chargers in 16 cities and six states

How-Tos






Problems/Issues




  1. "2013 Nissan Leaf Press Kit"
  2. "Nissan LEAF Will Include Fast Charge Capability and Emergency Charging Cable at Launch"
  3. [1]
  4. http://gas2.org/2010/05/27/nissan-leaf-will-include-fast-charge-capability-and-emergency-charging-cable-at-launch/ Nissan LEAF Will Include Fast Charge Capability and Emergency Charging Cable at Launch
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index#/leaf-electric-car/faq/top/charging "answers: charging" at nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/
  6. 6.0 6.1 Media:NISSAN LEAF SpecSheet FINAL US 2.pdf
  7. Media:2012-leaf-owner-manual.pdf, page CH-22.
  8. File:2012-leaf-warranty-booklet.pdf, page 9.
  9. Media:2012-leaf-owner-manual.pdf, page EV-23.