Fast charging: Nissan Leaf vs BMW i3

Nissan Leaf vs BMW i3

With the introduction of more battery capacity, electric cars not only gained range but also the ability to charge faster.

Most current DC fast chargers with CCS and CHAdeMO protocols are limited to 125 Amps and 500 Volts.

Given that most electric cars have batteries that are limited to 396 V charge, the maximum power the batteries can take from 125 Amps is 49,5 kW (396 V x 125 A).



Made by Roland van der Put

BMW i3 (blue) vs Nissan Leaf (orange)


In this comparison chart made by Roland van der Put, we can see that the BMW i3 with the new 33,84 kWh battery is charged at an higher rate than the Nissan Leaf with the 30 kWh battery.

The Nissan Leaf (30 kWh) never gets near the 125 Amps limitation of the Fastned fast charger, while the BMW i3 (33,84 kWh) gets there.


BMW i3 (33,84 kWh) charging above 120 Amps for most of the time

BMW i3 (33,84 kWh) charging above 120 Amps for most of the time


This was only a test and results may vary in other attempts. But I suspect that the BMW i3 with the battery cooling system will always be ahead, especially since the Leaf starts to limit the input power when the battery’s temperature gets high enough.

During this year we’ll see the introduction of CCS and CHAdeMO fast chargers that are limited to 200 Amps, with the limitation being pushed to 350 Amps next year.

I’m curious to see if the upcoming facelifted Nissan Leaf (40 kWh) will charge faster than the Chevrolet Bolt (60 kWh). If it does I really hope that Nissan finally introduces a TMS (Thermal Management System) to its battery.

The next 43,2 kWh battery (120 Ah cells) expected for the BMW i3 will also handle more Amps than the current fast chargers can provide.

At one point we’ll stop worrying about the kWh our battery has. Carlos Ghosn says that to eliminate range anxiety, more than range, electric cars need a visible, reliable and fast enough network of charging stations. I agree with his statement. This might explain why the Leaf is getting a 40 kWh battery while the Chevrolet Bolt will get 60 kWh.



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Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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