On a 500-mile round trip to Grover Beach from Bakersfield last week we got the chance to use the new Yazaki DC Fast Charging connectors. EV pioneer Tony Williams had commented that these new connectors were easy to use. And indeed they are. What an improvement over the old version that was common on Nissan-branded CHAdeMO fast chargers. No fumbling, no “how does this work again,” just plug in and charge.
The previous version required reading the instructions, watching a video on line, and–if you were smart—a practice session or two before you needed it on a road trip with a line of Nissan Leafs behind you waiting to charge.
One of the first times I charged at the Nissan-branded fast charge station at Pacific View Mall North in Ventura I was fumbling with the connector, thinking “Oh no, I am going to be stuck in Ventura for the night.” Fortunately, a guy drove up who wanted to charge, saw me having problems, jumped out of his car and offered to help. I was happy to take him up on it. He shoved in the connector, pulled up the locking lever, then slid that annoying keeper over the locking lever and we were ready to charge. He made it look simple—but it wasn’t.
Later on that trip we charged again at that station and I still couldn’t get it to work. This time a woman who had just finished charging saw me fumbling around. She got out of the car and said this happens all the time. She offered to do it—and again I backed off and said, “Sure, go for it.” She mashed the connector around for a few seconds and finally got the reassuring click that it was locked.
On that trip we came across an Eaton DC Fast Charge station that used a different kind of connector that was simple and straightforward to use. So I knew it could be done.
Finally, NRG is swapping out the old Yazaki connectors for the new, one-step models. You don’t have to be an Electric Vehicle (EV) nerd to use these. This is how EVs will become mainstream, making it simple enough anyone can do it—including me.