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How To Charge A Nissan LEAF With Level 3 Charger? (Explained)

How To Charge A Nissan LEAF With Level 3 Charger? (Explained)

If you’re a first-time LEAF owner, learning how to charge your car effectively can be a major hassle. Especially considering there are multiple forms of charging, and each one of them comes with a different set of instructions. Today, we’ll look at all you need to know to effectively quick charge your Nissan LEAF with a level 3 charger. Here’s the quick answer:

You can use a level 3 charger for your Nissan LEAF if your vehicle is equipped with a CHAdeMO connector. This connector is found right next to the level 1 and 2 connectors. Furthermore, you’ll need a public charging station that supports these connectors. Charging a Nissan LEAF like this will take approximately 30 – 40 minutes in ideal conditions.

However, that certainly doesn’t answer everything you need to know. In the article below, we’ll jump into how to identify if your Nissan LEAF has a quick charging option and how to use this step-by-step. We’ll also discuss how long charging takes in less ideal conditions and how much all of this costs. Read on!

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Can Every Nissan LEAF Use A Level 3 Quick Charger?

First, it’s essential to know if your Nissan LEAF can use a level 3 charger (also referred to as a quick charger). Typically, these chargers are found at public charging stations, homes, or offices when specifically installed.

Not every Nissan LEAF can charge using a level 3 charger. Your Nissan LEAF needs to be equipped with a quick charger port. In the image below, the quick charger is indicated by the red-dotted circle on the left. The charging port with the orange cap is used for level 1 and level 2 chargers. Learn more here about level 1 charging and level 2 charging with a Nissan LEAF.

Furthermore, it’s essential to know the limitations some Nissan LEAF have. The first generation of Nissan LEAF (2011 – 2017) has a 24kWh or 30kWh battery. These can use level 3 chargers with a maximum output of 50kW. The same goes for the second-generation Nissan LEAF with a 42kWh battery.

However, the second-generation Nissan LEAF also has a 62kWh battery which can use a quick charger with a maximum output of 100kWh.

How To Use A Level 3 Charger With A Nissan LEAF?

There are several situations we need to discuss when talking about charging a Nissan LEAF with a level 3 charger. These are: what type of charger to use, how to start charging, how to finish it, and what to do when charging is cut-off too early. Below, there are instructions for all of this.

What Type Of Charger To Use?

First, you must know that you can’t just charge a Nissan LEAF at every quick charging station. You have to find a charging station that supports CHAdeMO connectors. These connectors are Japanese industry standard and have also been used by Nissan and Mitsubishi in the North American market. Read here everything you need to know about the different charger types a Nissan LEAF uses.

CHAdeMO charger

In the above image, you can see what a CHAdeMO charger looks like. Tesla uses their own specific chargers at their supercharger locations. This is why you can’t charge a Nissan LEAF at a Tesla supercharger location. However, if you buy a Tesla to j1772 adapter, you can charge a Nissan LEAF at a Tesla destination charger which is a slower form of charging and considered level 2 charging.

One more type of charger is becoming popular in North America, and that’s the CCS (Combined Charging System) charger. This charger is slowly becoming the standard in the United States; therefore, Nissan is gradually starting to equip these kinds of chargers on their vehicles in the United States.

However, Nissan LEAFs still use the CHAdeMO chargers, so you’ll have to visit local quick charging stations or search the internet to find what quick charge location supports your Nissan LEAF.

Start Charging

Secondly, you’ll need access to a public charging station. These are the only places that will carry level 3 chargers. The instructions below are the same for all model years of the Nissan LEAF.

First, push the P (Park) position switch to place the vehicle in the P (Park) position and apply the parking brake. Then, place the power switch in the OFF position. Charging will not start when the power switch is in the ON position.

Then, open the charge port lid and charge port cap. Align #1 with the groove of the charge port
and insert the charge connector as seen in the image below.

Grasp the lock lever and lock the charge connector, as seen in the following image. Make sure to put the charger in as straight as possible. Otherwise, you may damage the equipment, or the battery will fail to charge.

Follow the instructions on the quick charge equipment to start charging. When the equipment is installed correctly and ready to charge, a beep sounds twice, and the charging status indicator light will change. In the image below, you can see what charge the car has. When all three lights are illuminated and don’t flash, this means the car is charged at least 80% (80% is ideal for the lifespan of the Li-on battery). When none of the lights are illuminated, this means the car isn’t charging.

Finish Charging

Confirm charging is stopped by looking at the indicators on the dash. The charge connector can be disconnected from the vehicle when charging is stopped. If you want to stop charging before the vehicle is done charging, follow the instructions on the quick charging equipment.

Then, unlock the charge connector, remove from the vehicle and properly store it. Close the quick charge port cap and shut the charge port lid. Please be aware that level 3 chargers are much heavier than other types of chargers.

When unlocking it, be careful not to drop it and pull it out as straight as possible to prevent damaging the equipment.

Charging Stopped Too Early

In some cases, level 3 chargers will stop charging automatically. This happens in the following situations:

  • When charging is complete
  • When charging time has exceeded 60 minutes (Nissan LEAFs cut off automatically because of safety reasons)
  • When the possible charge time that’s set for the quick charger is exceeded

If charging stops mid-charge, it’s possible to start charging by pressing the start button on the quick charger again. Also, keep in mind that, as the car gains more charge, the pace at which it charges decreases.

How Long Does It Take To Charge A Nissan LEAF With A Level 3 Charger?

How long it takes to charge a Nissan Leaf depends on many factors. The two most significant factors are battery temperature and the size of the battery you have. At ideal temperatures, the Nissan LEAFs with a 24kW, 30kW, or 40kW battery will take 30 – 40 minutes to charge to 80% assuming you started at a 20% charge. For the 62kW battery, expect this to take 60 minutes.

It’s important to know that these charging times can be used when talking about ideal temperatures. Both the first and second generation of the Nissan LEAF have a battery temperature gauge. Ideal temperatures are present when the gauge hovers in the middle.

When temperatures hover slightly outside the ideal range, expect charging to take 30 – 60 minutes extra (total time: 60 – 90 minutes). When temperatures are far outside the ideal range, expect charging to take more than 60 minutes extra on top of the expected times (total time: 90 minutes or more).

Other Questions Related To Level 3 Charging For The Nissan Leaf

How Often Can You Quick Charge A Nissan LEAF?

You can quick charge a Nissan LEAF multiple times per day as long as the battery isn’t in the red zone (overheating). If this does happen, the charging will shut off automatically to protect the battery.

Can You Install A Level 3 Charger At Home?

No, you cannot install a level 3 charger at home. This is because these chargers require an industrial amount of power which the regular power grid can’t handle. Furthermore, level 3 chargers can cost more than $50,000 to install, making them far from affordable. Instead, opt for a level 2 charger.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Nissan LEAF This Way?

Level 3 chargers cost between $0.40 – $0.60 per kWh. Charging a Nissan LEAF from 20% to 80%, therefore, costs the following:

  • 24kW: $5.76 – $8.64
  • 30kW: $7.20 – $10.80
  • 40kW: $9.60 – $14.40
  • 62kW: $14.88 – $22.32

Also read: 8 Common Problems Of A Nissan Leaf


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