33 kWh BMW i3 And 30 kWh Nissan LEAF Fast Charging Comparison

AUG 19 2016 BY MARK KANE 21

33 kWh BMW i3 fast charging - 8-80% in 30 minutes

33 kWh BMW i3 fast charging – 8-80% in 30 minutes

BMW i3 at Fastned charging station

BMW i3 at Fastned charging station

As the new longer-range BMW i3 (94 Ah, 33 kWh battery) appears on the market, we spot the first fast charging report on the updated EV.

Roland van der Put released two graphs, registered at a Fastned station in the Netherlands.

The first shows that a charge from 8% state-of-charge to 80% takes ~30 minutes.

The second one below, compares the charging power, expressed in kW vs percent of state-of-charge for a 33 kWh BMW i3 (blue) and a new 30 kWh Nissan LEAF (orange).

Conditions were not necessarily the same, but we can see a general similarity. The i3 seems to touch 50 kW, while latest LEAF only just exceeds 45 kW, but still much better than the original 24 kWh version of the LEAF.

Update (July 20th): Roland kindly offered some additional information to us (via comments section below) on the comparison conditions:

“Both vehicles were using one of our ABB T53 CJG fast chargers. There is one difference between the charge sessions that I know of: temperature was around 5 degrees C when I charged the Nissan Leaf and it was a lot warmer with the i3.”

Ed de Rochemont also shows similar partial i3 charging speeds (46-80% in 14 minutes). The official BMW spec says 0-80% fast charging at 50 kW happens in 39 minutes (25 minutes in the case of the older 22 kWh version).

33 kWh BMW i3 VS 30 kWh Nissan LEAF fast charging comparison

33 kWh BMW i3 VS 30 kWh Nissan LEAF fast charging comparison

source: Roland van der Put

Categories: BMW, Charging, Nissan

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21 Comments on "33 kWh BMW i3 And 30 kWh Nissan LEAF Fast Charging Comparison"

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Original Leaf (24 kWh, post 2013 model) is probably the same power up to about 55% level in moderate temperature.

It would be interesting to see how quickly they charge at higher temperatures. I suspect both will slow down, Leaf to save the battery and i3 with extra cooling. But I think i3 with active cooling will be better both for speed and battery life.

It’s characteristics are completely different. It basically gets to the maximum rate very quickly in a session and then begins to fall, slowly at first and then more rapidly as SoC increases beyond 55-60%.

I’m very surprised to see these graphs. In the latter it is clear that both reach maximum rate above 80% SoC! Based on the experience with my LEAF I thought all had the highest rate when SoC was quite low…

LEAF commercials on telly all the time right now. I guess they are clearing inventory here in Norway too – which ought to mean we get the facelifted and much longer range new LEAF very soon! I can’t wait to see the pricing.

Looks like they are about the same…10% difference in size and speed…

My first question would be, “Is this done on the exact same charger?”

It appears one has a few more amps on the other.

As many modern electric vehicles, both the LEAF and the i3 share the identical number (96) of cells in series.

If both events are the same amperage (presumably 120 amps), then we have a pretty large discrepancy somewhere!!!

My hunch is that the LEAF was on the 115 amp Nissan 44K W charger, and the i3 was on the more typical 120 or 125 amp chargers. That would easily explain the discrepancy.

If both vehicles were charged at the same amperage, then my secondary consideration would be that Nissan is slightly more conservative with its cell voltages. Just a very small change will make a difference.

120 amps * (96 series * 4.14 volts) = 47.7kW peak

120 amps * (96 series * 4.20 volts) = 48.3kW peak


Doing the math with a 125 amp charger versus a 115 amp charger at exactly the same max cell voltage:

125 amps * (96 series * 4.14 volts) = 49.7kW peak

115 amps * (96 series * 4.14 volts) = 45.7kW peak

See, much bigger difference.

Much bigger – and still just 5%, which is insignificant. 🙂

I’d love to see a power-vs-SoC graph for the old LEAF (my car). My experience is that the rate reaches the maximum very early in the session, even with a pretty low SoC (say 15-20%). It falls slowly at first, but it’s interesting to see these behave opposite and actually continue to climb all the way to 80%.

Not quite vs SoC, but you can see power and SoC (or GID) vs time in this handy graph made by Todd for his 24 kWh Leaf.

That and another by Tom described in my blog. Scroll down to bottom.


I have about 15k miles on that same Leaf now and lately I charge at 47kW on the ABB charger up to about 65% before it drops off similar to my earlier graph above. The Nissan charger always peaks at 44kW before the taper. Ambient temperature when I charge lately has been about 80F.

Your old LEAF required that the charge rate be reduced early because of very high internal impedance and significant degradation, which is common for the Nissan LEAF (particularly 2011-early 2013).

Both cars above are both brand-new, and have large enough batteries that can handle an almost 50 kW charge rate to a very high SOC%.

There’s no magic here.

Any of the cars with larger batteries (any Tesla product) will perform in much the same manner as these two cars with approximately 30-33kWh batteries.

Two of the cars that our company offers CHAdeMO charging options for:

2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 EV with original 45kWh battery w/ JdeMO:

125 amps * 382 volt max = 47kW max to about 80%


2008-2011 Teala Roadster with original 56kWh battery w/JdeMO:

125 amps * 412 volt max = 51.5kW max to about 70%

The Roadster, in particular, with the new larger 70kWh battery with lower internal impedance will probably charge to nearly 90% at 125 amps.

Yes, both vehicles were using one of our ABB T53 CJG fast chargers. There is one difference between the charge sessions that I know of: temperature was around 5 degrees C when I charged the Nissan Leaf and it was a lot warmer with the i3.

I am considering collecting and analysing more charge sessions of various vehicles and battery pack sizes in the coming months for comparison.

Thanks for this very relevant tidbit of information. IDK if 5 is cold enough to have a huge effect, but the two weren’t very far apart either so it seems plausible this could skew the results enough to swap the winner/loser tuple. 🙂

@Jay this should be mentioned in the article.

Or make that @Mark!

I can do that!

ps) thanks for the additional 411/info Roland

The LEAF, in particular, is subject to the whims of ambient temperature.

Yes, 5C temps would have a significant effect on ANY battery. It’s just chemistry.

If you want to do a bunch of testing, I recommend finding a charger that will indicate amps and battery voltage. You would also need to know the cell temperature, or at least have a really good guess.

Virtually all of the ABB chargers news 120 amps maximum.

The reality is that the LEAF or the i3, both with approximately the same size battery, at approximately the same temperature, will charge at approximately the same rate.

So will any other battery of that size with approximately the same internal impedance at the same temperature.

Ohm’s law at work with chemistry.

Nissan more conservative due to lack of TMS?

Maybe. But it was much warmer when the BMW charged and only five degrees C when the Nissan did. I believe this gives the BMW unfair advantage.

The question may be, why is the charge current of the BMW is reduced in the range of 3-15 mins ?
One reason should be the heat in the battery packs – then BMWs (water ?) cooling is starting and after having a sufficient level, the power is pushed up (giving a sense of sensor oriented slave cooling algorithm).

Seems an odd explanation to me, but it could be.

Why odd? The car knows the outside temperature, the temp of the pack (probably multiple points, but whatever) and that it is charging. It is also able to control the rate. Why then start the pumps AND dial back the current? It seems to me you’d instead tune the algorithm to start cooling a little sooner.

But maybe this is not as easy as I assume. It is only a very slight dip in power after all, and I have no alternative, more likely explanation for the observed power dip.

Well, we don’t even know where this person is measuring this power from. Failure to recognize that something as basic as a cold battery could have a big affect on a comparison raises a lot of red flags for me.

Obviously, the change in power was a reduction in amps, since the rate keeps rising with the battery voltage increase during the charge.

What we don’t know is where he measured this power from. If he’s measuring power as a net into the car, then this could be easily explained with the battery heaters turning on.

It could also be a glitch in the charger, reducing our for some unknown known reason.

For comparison, here’s the curve of on e-Golf on an ABB Terra 53 CJ. The starting SOC is 13% and the ending SOC is 92%. 75% SOC was passed at 19min 35sec. The current started dropping between 75% and 80% SOC. Sorry the curve is vs. time instead of SOC.