Slow charging? Tired of waiting? No Upgrades from Nissan? Here is what you can do about it.

All 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leafs were equipped with 3.3kW on-board charger. This means no matter what your EVSE is, you’re limited to this charging power. The 2013 Leaf received upgraded 6.6kW charger slashing bulk recharging time in half (which is still slower than desired), however, all Leaf owners are left out with no upgrade path from Nissan. Until now.

What you can do is install one or more Swiss made BRUSA NLG513 OEM EV battery charger(s) in your Leaf. You can double charging power of ‘2013 Leaf and quadruple it for ‘2011-‘2012 models. Working in unison, both stock and added power booster charger(s) provide total charging power as listed below, so you can enjoy much shorter recharging times. You can opt for one, two or three NLG513 booster chargers initially and make provision to add them later. Here is breakdown of expected power and recharging times from a 240VAC power source:

Nissan Leaf ‘2011 and ‘2012 models

Hardware on-board Total charging power 0-80% recharging time AC mains current
Stock charger only 3.3 kW ~6.4 hours ~16 A
Stock + One booster 6.7 kW ~3.2 hours ~32 A
Stock + Two boosters 10 kW ~2.4 hours ~48 A
Stock + Three boosters 13.3 kW ~100 minutes ~64 A

Nissan Leaf ‘2013 and later models

Hardware on-board Total charging power 0-80% recharging time AC mains current
Stock charger only 6.6 kW ~3.2 hours ~32 A
Stock + One booster 10 kW ~2.4 hours ~48 A
Stock + Two boosters 13.3 kW ~1.6 hours ~64 A
Stock + Three boosters 16.7 kW ~75 minutes ~80 A

What you can do.

  • Due to insufficient demand, we no longer offer upgrades labor, however will assist you in any way we can. With freely available schematics and pre-made mounting hardware the upgrade is pretty straight forward as DIY project. Just keep in mind that access to a vehicle lift is highly recommended for speedy and quality work. It is also possible to do on ramps, but detaching and re-attaching vehicle battery will be awkward.
  • Check out NLG513-U1-01A-A01 charger price on the Metric Mind Corp. site hardware price list. Don’t forget mains and battery cables.
  • With all the hardware and tools prepared the upgrade will take one person one full day; it may take about 8 hours if two people will do it.
  • You can request MMC to pre-program chargers to work as boosters for this project – we will do it free of charge. These OEM chargers are designed and manufactured in Switzerland by BRUSA Elektronik AG – leading European electric vehicle parts manufacturer.

Upgraded Leaf looks identical to the stock; charging is totally transparent to the owner, as if nothing happened. The same home EVSE or public charging station can be used as before. Same plug, same procedure, same everything. The only difference is – for the rest of the life of your Leaf it will take from half to a quarter of time it use to take to recharge it.

How much does it cost ?

Pretty much the chargers cost + electrical hardware cost (cables, wires, sockets, terminals, optional power meter, etc.) + mechanical hardware (mounting brackets). I will provide details of my calculations in my first blog which will give you an idea what’s involved. Much of the small parts cost depends on if you fabricate aluminum brackets yourself (which is doable), or hire a metal shop to cut, bend and drill sheet metal for you.

The main expense is the charger and its cables fitted with mating connectors: check current pricing. You can purchase and install one, two or three units right away or add more units later. If you want to see or be able to adjust current consumed from the mains, you will need power meter. I installed it but as turns out practically never use it because charging is done at full bore every time, and the current consumed (same every time) is of academic interest. You will need a 50A twist lock or J1772 inlet, supporting brackets, junction box and related hardware. You will need External cabling and plug as well as common consumables such as crimp terminals, bolts and nuts, wire ties, electric tape, flex conduits, coolant tubes and clamps – this generic hardware can be purchased anywhere in common hardware stores.

Good luck with your upgrade! Check out my second blog – this upgrade was done on customers site in Canada on his ‘2012 Leaf. The owner mainly wanted to take advantage of dual J1772 public charging stations by plugging both EVSE’s handles meant for two vehicles into his Leaf. Ability to speed up charge at home from a standard EVSE was also retained, as well as charging without EVSE at all (say, at an RV park) using 50A twist lock socket. You are flexible to pick and choose what functionality you want and add only necessary hardware. Should you change your mind later, adding sockets later is trivial if during this upgrade you make minimal provision for future improvements.