Tripling the Size of Current U.S. Quick-Charging InfrastructureWhen Tesla Motors unveiled its Supercharger network of fast-charge stations for electric cars, I thought it was a great move on many levels: It'll be great for Tesla owners, allowing them to charge quickly and for free all around the country (over time), and it'll remove a worry that potential customers might have about doing long-distance trips. But it no doubt was also a catalyst for the rest of the industry, forcing them to up their game. I can't be sure, but I imagine that when Nissan's bosses saw Tesla's announcement, they went "crap, now we have to build a large network of quick-charge stations to compete".
But whatever the motivation for today's announcement - internal to the company or external - Nissan's plans to build at least 500 fast-charge stations around the U.S. during the next 18 months is a big deal. It alone would triple the current fast-charge infrastructure in the country, which currently numbers about 160, and it'll add more pressure for other makers of plug-in vehicles to do the same (you getting the message, GM? How about you, Ford? Toyota?).
"We envision a quick-charging network that links communities and neighborhoods where people live, work, shop and socialize," said Brendan Jones, Nissan's director of electric vehicle marketing and sales strategy. "Having a robust charging infrastructure helps build range confidence, which boosts interest in and use of electric vehicles. By improving the charging infrastructure, Nissan furthers its commitment to bringing electric vehicles to markets throughout the United States."
Nissan plans to build stations across three main types of locations: its dealer network, workplace campus charging, and opportunities within local neighborhoods. They are partnering not only with their dealers, but also with local municipalities and companies like NRG Energy and its eVgo Network.
Through its subsidiary eVgo, NRG's investment of approximately $150 million in EV charging infrastructure will provide EV drivers with access to hundreds of public fast-charging Freedom Station sites along with level 2 (240-volt) charging stations at homes, offices, multi-family communities, schools and hospitals across Texas, California and the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. eVgo provides charging solutions directly to EV owners as well as businesses looking to serve the EV charging needs of their residents, tenants, employees or customers. Service plans offered by eVgo enable EV owners to avoid paying large up-front costs for a charger and provide unlimited charging at Freedom Station sites for a monthly fee. (source)
The only way to make this better would be to offer free charging and to build up (or purchase) enough renewable energy capacity to power these charging stations, like Tesla does.
See also: Nissan to Launch 15 Hybrids by 2016