Nissan Expands Its Free Car Charging Program to 10 Markets
New Nissan LEAF drivers can now access free charging in 10 markets across the United States. Those markets have more than 2,600 public EV charging stations, including about 200 quick chargers. The free EV charging is available as part of Nissan’s "No Charge to Charge" program.
The quick charging stations can charge a Nissan LEAF battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. Each charging session in the Nissan program is limited to 30 minutes when using a CHAdeMO fast charge station, and to one hour at Level 2 240-volt stations.
The expanded markets include: San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, D.C. In the next year, Nissan plans to offer the program in 15 more markets. The company also has plans to support the installation of an additional 500 quick chargers at Nissan dealerships and other public locations.
"No Charge to Charge" uses a new EZ-Charge SM card, giving Nissan LEAF owners access to leading EV charging networks, including Blink, CarCharging, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo. ChargePoint, the largest network, is not formally part of the free program, although the EZ-Charge card can activate charging events at ChargePoint stations. Nonetheless, about 60 percent of ChargePoint’s locations (and many stations offered by other service networks) are already free to use.
The program is limited to “new” buyers—not existing owners of the Nissan LEAF.
Participants can locate eligible chargers at PlugShare.com, or by downloading the PlugShare app for iOS or Android. (Note: Not all chargers accessible with the EZ-Charge card are included in the "No Charge to Charge" program.)
Designed to Spur Sales
Earlier this year, Nissan ran a pilot project in Texas to test the power of the “free fuel” message. At the time, Brendan Jones, director of EV infrastructure strategy and deployment at Nissan USA, told PluginCars.com, “We think the program holds promise to bring new LEAF buyers into the fold. Public charging at workplaces or other key locations in the community act as the ultimate range extender and encourage more people to consider, and purchase, an electric car.”
One Nissan dealer in the Houston area said the free charging deal tripled LEAF sales. “Our floor traffic and Internet leads have picked up significantly,” said Christopher Goodwin, general manager of Baker Nissan North.
The EZ-Card is a significant step toward making public electric car charging as easy as using a gasoline pump—simply roll up to any charger, swipe a card, and start the refueling process.
The concept of offering free charging was pioneered by Tesla Motors, which offers easy access to its national network of highway-based fast chargers to all owners of the Model S equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack. (The Supercharger function can also be enabled on Model S cars with a 60 kWh pack for $2,000 if ordered prior to delivery, or $2,500 after delivery.)
For all electric cars, approximately 80 to 90 percent of EV charging takes place at home, where electricity roughly costs the equivalent of $1 a gallon of gasoline.
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