LEAF owners buy more LEAFs

by Ernie Hernandez on February 8, 2016

2016 LEAF

LEAF receives IHS Automotive Loyalty Award

There are currently well over 30 automobile brands sold in the United States, from Acura to Volvo. Each brand offers an array of models. I’m not even going to make an attempt to tally them all. 2015 saw almost 17.5 million vehicles sold in the US, the best year ever for vehicle sales. So why does any of this matter? Because all of those buyers had to choose which car to buy, from among all of those many choices.

IHS, which once upon a time stood for Information Handling Services, is a handler of information. In its early days it categorized catalogs on microfilm. Now IHS provides information, analytics, and subject matter experts to help you discern what you should do with all of this information, in almost any field. In this particular instance, we are looking at people that are repeat buyers of automobiles. And in the non-luxury traditional compact car market more individuals are repeat buyers of the Nissan LEAF than any other compact car. That the LEAF is not what many would consider to be traditional, in style as well as in powertrain, is perhaps best left for others to decide. You can find the results of the 2015 Model Year IHS Automotive Loyalty Award Winners here. This is the second year in a row that the LEAF accomplished this feat. Generally people that are unhappy with their vehicle do not buy another, so this bodes well for the future of electric vehicles (EVs) – at least this particular EV.

The Nissan LEAF was not the only EV acknowledged in this study. Tesla was recognized as the brand with the most improved loyalty to make, and perhaps more importantly for their long-term success, most improved conquest percentage. This last one is for getting owners out of their old brand and into a Tesla.

All of this to say that the EV market, while not growing as fast as many had originally predicted, is making inroads into the conventional automobile market that has been around for over a century. Look for more dramatic improvements once the second generation EVs start hitting the market next year.


EV charging is getting easier

by Ernie Hernandez on December 24, 2015

EV Charging signage

More places to charge with easier access

Currently, EV drivers must collect an assortment of charging network access cards if one is to be able to charge at the nearest charging station. This issue harkens back to the days when gas stations had their own credit cards but the idea of bank cards had not caught on yet. You would need to have a gas card for each gas company that you wished to use. Once bank cards came along, and gas stations started accepting them, customers found it easier to use one card wherever they traveled. It looks like EV drivers are moving in this direction.

Last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show the ROEV Association announced a partnership of electric vehicle (EV) automakers and EV charging networks to make it easier for EV drivers to access charging equipment while out and about. The initial members of this EV trade association are BMW and Nissan from the automotive side, and ChargePoint, EVgo, and CarCharging/Blink from the charging network side. Additional auto makers that have signed on include Audi and Honda thus far.

With the advent of ROEV and its charging network interoperability, an EV driver that holds an access card for any of the member charging networks will be able to use that access card to access any other network in the association. All of ROEV’s communications to date make statements such as “in the future” and “ROEV will enable EV drivers…”, so we don’t anticipate that this capability will exist in the near future. More information regarding a timetable for implementation of their plan can be found at roev.org as the make it available. For those that would like this convenience now, there is another alternative that is already operational.

The EZ-Charge card (ez-charge.com) is available to Nissan LEAF owners at no charge. The card allows access to five different charging networks located across the country. Current providers are AeroVironment, Blink/CarCharging, ChargePoint, Greenlots, JNSH, and nrg/EVgo. More information can be found at their website.

Of course, EV drivers can also choose to continue keeping several charge network cards in their car, or apps on their phone.

Nissan and BMW partner to deploy fast charge stations

For EV owners that wish to easily extend their driving range, conveniently placed fast charge stations can be extremely helpful. The fast charge network is growing more slowly than the standard charge network for a variety of reasons. To assist its expansion, Nissan and BMW have joined to provide 120 charge locations in 19 states. All of these charge locations support both the CHAdeMO design used by Nissan and SAE Combo connectors used by BMW. As can be seen on the plugshare.com screen grab of fast chargers across the US shown below, the vast majority of fast charge stations (excluding Tesla Superchargers) are on either end of the country. This makes sense as this is where the majority of EVs are purchased. With the passage of time it can be seen that fast chargers, in particular, don’t seem to come online until there are EVs sold in that market. But compared to this map of just three years ago, significant progress has been made.

Fast Chargers Dec 2015




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