TOKYO - Nissan has developed a charger for electric vehicles that's smaller, about half the price, and easier to install.
Nissan Motor Co., Japan's No. 2 automaker, said Monday the new charger will go on sale in November in Japan and is planned later for the U.S. and Europe, although dates are not set.
The basic model of the revamped charger will cost about half the price of the current model, which is stockier and has more parts, and costs 1.47 million yen ($19,000). The higher-grade model for outdoors will also be cheaper and cost under 1 million yen ($13,000), according to Nissan.
Yokohama-based Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric vehicle, is targeting sales of 5,000 of the new chargers in Japan by the end of March 2016.
Zero-emission electric vehicles are drawing attention amid concerns about global warming and the environment. The Leaf is among the pioneering models in the technology.
But electric vehicles still make up a niche market. They have to be recharged, and recharging stations aren't that plentiful. Owners generally have to go through the trouble of installing a recharger in their homes.
Right now, Leafs are being sold to mostly local governments rather than regular consumers.
The difficulty of installing chargers, which look like the filling machines at gas stations, is another reason.
Nissan is hoping to sell the new chargers to highways, airports, shopping centres, convenience stores and gas stations, it said.
Nissan has sold more than 13,600 Leaf cars around the world since they went on sale in December 2010. There are now 619 chargers throughout Japan, 32 per cent, or 196, in the Nissan group, while the rest are with local governments, highways and other companies that promote EVs.
Competition in electric vehicles is likely to intensify in coming years as others, such as Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., enter the sector.
Toyota already offers plug-in hybrid cars, which run partly as EVs but switch to become regular hybrids with gas engines when they run out of the electric charge.