Buy a LEAF, charge for free

by Ernie Hernandez on April 19, 2014

2014_nissan_leaf_charging

Program to reach 80 percent of sales market

Nissan announced this week the intention of offering free charging for two years to everyone that purchases or leases a new LEAF. Ultimately the program will reach 25 U.S. markets covering 80 percent of LEAFs sold.

The heart of the program is an all-access card that will allow the holder to charge with no cost at equipment provided by several charging networks. Current participants include ChargePoint, Blink Network, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo. This is akin to using one card to access different brands of gas stations. The combined charge stations available are over 45,000 and counting. The vast majority are Level 2, or 240 volt charge stations but all of the participating networks also offer Level 3 DC quick charging capability.

This program will launch on July 1, 2014 in ten of the top LEAF markets including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, DC. The program will be retroactive to those individuals that acquired their LEAFs on or after April 1, 2014. The fifteen additional markets will be added over the next twelve months with more information about each market made available is it gets closer to their launch date.

Save thousands each year

One of the largest costs of vehicle ownership is the cost to fuel it. As long as Nissan offers this program one only need lease a LEAF every two years to eliminate that cost. Tesla sees the value in providing this service as new Tesla Model S owners with the large 85 kWh battery pack can charge for free at Tesla’s Supercharger network. Those buyers that opt for the smaller 60 kWh battery can option it up for $2,000 when ordered or $2,500 after delivery for the same capability. Many gasoline vehicle drivers pay more than that each year to fuel their rig. The difference between the two manufacturer’s programs is that the Tesla Supercharger network is really only useful for long distance traveling (unless you happen to live near a Tesla Supercharger station as there are only 85 currently), while the Nissan “No Charge to Charge” program will likely offer many stations near your home or office.

The introduction of Nissan’s “No Charge to Charge” program is yet another way that Nissan is promoting the still small but growing electric vehicle (EV) market. This program, combined with the ever growing charging network itself, is a compelling reason to consider purchasing a LEAF if you or someone you know has been on the fence.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon May 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Seriously? The dealers don’t have fast charge stations yet! I can not drive to the nearest city and back without a 4 to 5 hour layover for a level 2 charge. I think the idea is great, but it could start much smaller than that and have a much bigger effect!

Reply

Ernie Hernandez May 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Jon – Welcome to Living LEAF. I don’t know where you live, but Nissan is rolling out fast chargers nationwide. With roughly 1,000 dealerships, the fast charge rollout is probably not nearly as fast as anyone would like. Check out the plugshare.com site for the best view of Level 2 and fast chargers in your area.

Reply

navipro1 May 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

For those that have bought or lease their Nissan leaf, it appears Nissan is no longer offering free quick charging to existing leaf customers. Even at my local Nissan dealer, EG Nissan, CA, where I bought the car and the fact that they said quick charging are free to their customers helped convinced me to buy it are No longer valid after April 16, 2014 is a Nissan Corporate decision. So if you ever do want to travel a little further than usual and had planned on using a quick charging station along the way, you will be in for a rude awakening that you will not be able to charge it. Even If you have a charge point card, that doesn’t work as their quick chargers are now maintain through a company NRG – ie. EVgo. EVgo charging fees are high in my opinion, requires a monthly subscription to get access to charging like quick chargers (each quick charging can cost $10.95 to charge for a 30 minute session). I found out the hard way last Saturday. Took 20+ minutes on the phone, they ask for all sorts of information, almost like buying a car, then after signing up in hopes to get a quick charge in so I can get home, they end up telling me that it takes 72 hours to activate my account. So no quick charging for that day which I ended up needing to go to an L2 charging station for 3 hours. Very disappointed at Nissan, imo Nissan has alienated their existing leaf customers with a bait and switch on quick charging.

Reply

Ernie Hernandez May 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Welcome to Living LEAF. I understand your frustration. Nissan is not doing a good job of communicating with existing LEAF customers about the change in status of existing dealership charging stations. Both Level 2 and DC quick charge stations had been free to use and now Nissan has gone to a promotional program for those that buy LEAF in certain markets. We wrote about that promotion in the article above. For those existing LEAF owners (and those in non-promotional markets), formerly free charging stations now require payment through the eVgo network (or whichever network the dealer chooses to subscribe to). I’ve heard that the access cards for the EZ-Charge program will be available for purchase by previous LEAF owners, but have not heard any details. I have an inquiry in and will provide more information as I have it.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: