Nissan said the first of 400 units of its direct current quick charger, which will be installed at key locations across Europe, had arrived on the continent.

The 400 volt DC units allow charging of ChadeMo compliant electric vehicles (EV), including the automaker’s Leaf, to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes. The Nissan-developed unit is CE and TUV certified for all countries in Europe.

The quick chargers allow EV owners to significantly extend their journeys and will be positioned at key transport points such as motorway services, airports and retail parks. Nissan is giving the units away to kick-start the creation of national charging networks, which will give greater mobility to electric vehicle customers.

This project will open a number of zero emission corridors such as the route from Paris to Amsterdam which, when finished, will allow an EV driver to travel between the French capital and the largest city in the Netherlands with ease. These initial routes will be linked by chargers from partner companies who have agreed to sell or manufacture the innovative new system under licence. These commercial partners will be installing thousands of chargers over the next two years, adding to the already radically expanding EV charging network.

The new units are 50% smaller and 50% less expensive (now starting below EUR10,000/US$13,091) than previous designs, making them easier and more cost effective to install for commercial operators. The project to create the chargers is part of the automaker’s proactive approach to the electric vehicle market, which seeks to make zero emissions motoring accessible to more European consumers.

Nissan sales and marketing chief Paul Willcox said: “This is a huge first step in the creation of a European quick charge network which will open up electric vehicle ownership to many more people. We are creating an infrastructure which can be used by any ChadeMo-compliant vehicle, not just Nissan Leaf owners. These chargers are also compatible with our alliance partner Renault’s AC 43kW fast charging system for future network expansion.

“Our approach is to overcome perceived barriers to the ownership of electric vehicles rather than waiting for others to do it for us. We believe this holistic approach is essential for the continuing success of our electric vehicles programme in Europe.”