Japanese carmaker Nissan has unveiled a high-performance charger which can revive the battery pack of the new Leaf electric car in just half an hour.

The “Quick Charger” can restore 80 per cent of battery power within 30 minutes, compared to around eight hours for a conventional recharging station which typically replenishes batteries overnight.

The device looks like a cross between an oversized refrigerator and a fuel station petrol pump.

The price of some 21,600 dollars for the device may deter potential customers; especially since they will have already paid more than twice that sum for the car which is due to go on sale in Europe during 2010. An exact introduction date for the model has not been announced.

The Leaf will initially be introduced in Britain, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands, with the Netherlands the first European country to get the car.

The mini power station is aimed primarily at shopping centres or local authorities who might like to underscore their green credentials by providing the owners of electric vehicles with an extra recharging service.

Nissan plans to establish 2,200 conventional charging stations and a further 200 with the high-performance charger. The Japanese company says the network will mean that no owner is further than 40 kilometres away from the next public charging facility.