Auto Tech

Nissan tests mobile charging service for stranded EVs

A trial EV-specific roadside assistance vehicle in Japan will help drivers of EVs with dead batteries.

JAF's prototype mobile charging station for electric vehicles.
JAF's prototype mobile charging station for electric vehicles. Nissan

When you run out of gas, you basically have two choices: hoof it to the nearest gas station to fill up a canister, or ask roadside assistance to bring the gas to you. Electric vehicles with a dead battery don't have that option, unless you're in Japan.

Nissan and the Japan Automobile Federation, the Japanese version of AAA, have launched a mobile battery charging unit to help stranded EV drivers on the road. The trial service is an attempt to curb range anxiety until EV charging infrastructure catches up to its gasoline counterpart. It will also "create a safety net" for early adopters of these clean vehicles, Nissan said in a statement.

The prototype service vehicle is equipped with a charging system that will recharge drained electric car batteries, and assist with other EV-specific problems. It's not clear how much of a charge the systems are equipped to deliver, or how long charges will take. The Nissan Leaf takes approximately 7 hours at 220/240V to fully recharge the 24-kWh battery, which gives the vehicle a 100-mile range. Using an 80-volt quick-charge station, it takes approximately 30 minutes to achieve 80 percent battery capacity. However, it's likely the service vehicle will recharge empty batteries just enough to get the driver to the nearest EV station.

In Japan, Nissan offers an optional tow plan for Leaf owners, which covers up to $6,599 in tow fees.