Nissan May Offer Free Gas-Powered Car Rental With Purchase of LEAF [Updated]

· · 7 years ago

Over the last week, a few reports have surfaced indicating that Nissan is strongly considering providing LEAF purchasers in Europe—and perhaps even the U.S.—with a week's worth of free gas-powered car rentals per year as a way to ease potential EV buyers' minds about untethering from the gas powered-world.

The hints reached a rather substantial level yesterday in two articles published in separate outlets regarding two different continents. A column written by the Europe-based—and vicious anti-EV nut—Neil Winton indicated that Nissan's Senior Vice President, Andy Palmer, said during an interview at the Paris Auto Show that Nissan is prepared to offer a week's worth of rentals to LEAF owners so that they could go on longer trips occasionally. And in what they're calling an "exclusive"—not really, considering that the rumor has been around for a week—The Detroit Bureau quotes an unnamed "well-placed, high-ranking Nissan source" as saying that Nissan was considering doing the exact same thing for North American LEAF owners as well. reached out to Nissan USA to see how much water these reports actually hold. "These are discussions that Nissan of Europe is having," said Katherine Zachary, a spokesperson for Nissan North America. "Nissan North America is not currently actively pursuing this marketing strategy in the U.S." According to Zachary, the free rental program is something Nissan is considering for international markets where there are fewer two car households than in the United States.

Although the vast majority of daily driving needs can be accomplished in a 100 mile range battery electric car, it certainly won't satisfy those times when you want to go on a driving vacation or need to travel long distances on business—especially before substantial charging infrastructure is in place. However, most people in the United States have more than one vehicle in their household so replacing one of those with an electric car is extremely feasible—use your electric car for 90% of your daily driving needs and then use the gas car when you need to do something the EV can't and give the other driver in your household the EV on those days.

Of course, even a week may not be enough to cover the annually-needed long distance driving of an average owner, so the extra rental time may still not make the LEAF a viable car for most one car households. But, if the rumors turn out to be true, it is certainly a bold move that should allay the "range anxiety" fears of much of the population—and, if it is offered in the U.S. it will give those two car households more confidence that even on those rare days that the long range of a gas car is needed by more than one household member they have options.

[On Friday, October 8, 2010 at 10:50 AM Pacific Time, this post was updated to include comments from Nissan USA.]


· · 7 years ago

Good idea! I take somewhere 7 to 15 long distance trips per year.

· Steven (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hate to be a critical little snit and I definitely will be cashing in on my week's free rental if it comes to pass in the US. But why not rent fully charged, exchangable BATTERIES - Nissan willing (and maybe some quick design changes??) - from car rental companies?

As for the free rental, renting cars for long trips is good economics even if you aren't planning to come near an EV.

· · 7 years ago

what is a week rental worth in the US, $200 ?
I'll be more impressed if I hear home delivery.

The LEAF is very competitive already, I do not see the need for stunts.

· · 7 years ago

It seems like you could easily just drop your Leaf off at the rental facility, where they will keep it nicely stored while connected to a charger. When you get back, you can simply swap cars.
I don't see that home delivery would be particularly valuable.

· JJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

"As for the free rental, renting cars for long trips is good economics even if you aren't planning to come near an EV."

Could you explain this.
Do you mean because it saves wear and tear on your own car? Gas consumption would remain the same if you rent a same size car.

· · 7 years ago

Easy for some, hassle for others, time waste for most.

I am not agitating for home delivery of a rental, I was only saying that if Nissan feels like it has to pamper LEAF owners home delivery of a rental would be a better advert along the "absolutely no inconvenience" marketing line. IMO the LEAF will sell just fine on its own merits.

· Steven (not verified) · 7 years ago

Hi JJ,

Sorry to take so long responding. Perhaps I should have said "FOR ME, the economics of renting make sense." I buy and hold cars. I'm still driving a 1977 Ford van purchased new (though probably not for much longer - it doesn't have air conditioning - kind of a problem here in Arizona). Furthermore, when I leave town the trips are almost always from several hundred to thousands of miles in length. And that is when I don't just fly and then rent at the destination. If all you want to do is just 'get there', when you add in the cost of motels and meals any trip longer that a day usually doesn't make dollars and cents sense. For us buy and hold types 'miles is miles'; it is all about wear and tear. I'd much rather be wearing out the rental company's machines, tires, etc than my own.

P.S. I was going to apologize for this plug-in irrelevant posting. But maybe it isn't irrelevant? If I'm not atypical, maybe we all need to re-think how we use cars?

· · 7 years ago

Even if I had to pay for the rental I would use such a service. I would like to be able to drop my LEAF off at the dealer, rent a Nissan vehicle for a week (our annual road trip), have my LEAF serviced and washed, and return to a fully charged LEAF when I turn the rental back in. This would get me in the dealership more often and also I could drive other Nissan vehicles which I may be interested in purchasing. Seems like a win-win all around.

· free gas card (not verified) · 7 years ago

Interesting. Maybe this will be a good consideration for me and my family...we'll think about it.

· Michael (not verified) · 7 years ago

Renting a car is no big deal. Hertz and Enterprise will pick you up, or in some cases even deliver it.

· Beltane (not verified) · 5 years ago

Is that for real, how is it going, is the service launched. how are the reviews? nice concept though.

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