The physical act of plugging in an electric vehicle isn’t usually an issue worth discussing, yet the ease with which it can be done varies depending on the type of connector used, as well as the location of the charging port. This doesn’t usually cause any significant problems, though.
Nissan’s product planning and strategy boss, Ivan Espinosa, says it certainly does, especially when it comes to female EV drivers. He argues that even the weight of the cable can have a negative impact on the user experience when it comes to getting a car plugged in for charging.
The automaker acquired this information through feedback received from people who purchased the Leaf EV (which, by the way, has been on sale since 2010, so they’ve had plenty of time to gather said feedback). And it seems that instead of making the charging method better Nissan is going at it in a completely different way.
Espinosa talked at length about how Nissan wants to bring more electrified (not fully-electric) models to market under the company’s e-Power moniker (which designates a range extender EV). In other words, the Japanese automaker wants to give drivers the feeling of driving an EV, but its strategy is to still have an internal combustion engine on board to generate electricity, thus eliminating the need to plug in.
There is some good news here, though. Nissan wants to “ democratize technology to make it accessible to our customers, “ according to Espinosa, and this essentially means that keeping the cost (and the price premium you pay compared to non-electrified models) down; in Japan, an e-Power model is around $4,500 more expensive than its non-hybrid equivalent model.
The near future plan is for e-Power to become more prevalent across Nissan’s European lineup, particularly in markets whose EV charging infrastructure is not that well developed. Yet this all sounds like Nissan is avoiding fixing the problem it highlighted (the hassle of having to plug an EV in), instead of finding a solution to fix it (i.e. develop a better and easier to use connector and make the cable lighter and easier to handle, or invest more into wireless charging tech).
Source: Automotive News Europe