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USA: Field Trial: Mobile EV Quick-Charging

If you’ve ever wondered what happens if an electric car runs out of juice on the road, we might have the answer, and it’s not as inconvenient as we had imagined. Sure, you can call a tow truck and get hauled to the closest source of power, but what if you could grab a quick roadside charge and get on your way? We did, and soon EV owners might be able to do so as well.

Thanks to a company called Real Power, we were able to test both this scenario and our Nissan Leaf’s Level 3 DC quick-charge port, which was a $700 option on our 2011 Leaf SL but will become standard with this trim level for 2012. Though Level 3 charging has been promised before, it’s not yet available publicly.

An Indianapolis-based company that produces onboard generators with capacities ranging from 12 to 150 kilowatts, Real Power purchased a Level 3 charger and installed both it and a common Level 2 unit on a medium-duty flatbed truck to demonstrate that roadside charging is doable — and also surprisingly simple. AAA recently announced it will conduct similar experiments with a mobile unit equipped with giant batteries.


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