Nissan, EVgo Complete Charging Station Network from Boston to Washington

Nissan claims to have spent $60 million on charging to date.

Last year, Nissan and charging-network operator EVgo set out to build a network of electric-car charging stations along one of the busiest stretches of U.S. highway: the section of Interstate 95 linking Boston and Washington, D.C. The chain of charging stations, dubbed “I-95 Fast Charging ARC” is now open.

Nissan and EVgo built nine electric-car charging stations along this 500-mile stretch of highway. That may not seem like enough, but these are DC fast-charging stations, not the slower Level 2 AC stations you might find in your local parking garage. Nissan said the stations can charge a Leaf battery pack to 80 percent capacity in 30 to 40 minutes. 

Each charging station can also accommodate at least four electric cars at a time, according to Nissan. Stations will initially charge at a rate of 50 kilowatts, but they are prewired to charge at up to 150 kW, future-proofing them against new generations of electric cars with larger battery packs that may overwhelm less-powerful charging equipment. 

The stations are compatible with the quick charging method known globally as CHAdeMO and is also a standard used by Nissan, as well as the Combined Charging Standard (CCS) used by U.S. and European automakers. Tesla uses a separate standard for its Supercharger DC fast-charging stations.

The stretch of I-95 from Boston to the district passes through New York City and several other large cities, generating lots of traffic. The highway is already populated with some charging stations, including Tesla Superchargers.

Nissan claims to have spent more than $60 million on charging infrastructure since the launch of the first-generation Leaf in December 2010. As a result, U.S. Leaf drivers are now within an average 10-minute drive from a DC fast-charging station. But while Nissan may be competitive on infrastructure, it is no longer competitive on range. The current Leaf is rated at 150 miles of range, but 200 miles is quickly becoming the benchmark in this price range.