Brusa Continues Charger Production To Support LEAF Upgrade

By · May 29, 2013

Swiss e-mobility specialist Brusa had planned to end production of its NLG513 3.5 kilowatt charger earlier this year. Usually found in limited-run prototype and custom on-off electric car conversions, enterprising Nissan LEAF owners realized the charger could be used to halve the charging time of original 2011 and 2012 LEAFs, by adding it in parallel with the car’s original on-board charger. Brusa now plans to continue making the item.

The modification, first developed by aftermarket LEAF specialist Phil Sadow of EVSE Upgrade, sits under the hood of the 2011 and 2012 LEAF, tapping into the main DC feed from the battery pack. It then monitors the car’s on-board charger, adding additional power as needed to decrease charging time.

Brusa NG513

While Sadow hasn’t publicly discussed the intricacies of his modification, demonstrating it at a LEAF meeting in 2012 was enough to encourage other LEAF drivers to work on making the same modification to their cars.

At between $1,000 and $2,000 for the hardware alone, the modification isn’t exactly cheap. But for LEAF owners who have already paid in full for their all-electric cars, and who are comfortable with and understand the possible consequences of making the necessary modifications to their car, the upgrade gives their early LEAFs the same charging capabilities as the 2013 LEAF.

The open-source project, which has already gained many supporters and prospective Guinea pigs in the LEAF community, can be followed in full on the MyNissanLEAF forum.

Despite planning the obsolescence of the NG513 earlier this year, Brusa has reversed its decision after an unprecedented increase in demand for the unit. “Due to the positive echo from the market, which also has resulted in a remarkable increase of the demand, our management decided to continue production and offering the NLG513,” a Brusa spokesman told us earlier today.

“It is a corporate decision, to continue offering the NLG5 series, until the next generation of the 3.5kW OBC is established,” he continued. “Even beyond we will sufficiently long be able to provide spare parts.”

While we’re pleased to see the open-source community—as well as an established electric vehicle specialist—get behind this particular project, it’s worth remembering the potential safety risks involved in modifying your own car.

As with any high-voltage system, anyone considering carrying out this modification on their own LEAF should have a comprehensive knowledge of electronics, know how to work safely on an electric car, and be willing to deal with the consequences of something not going as planned.

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