With “green thinking” and recycling on the minds of many people today, electric vehicles have grown in popularity over the years. In an attempt to address a concern voiced by many prospective electric vehicle buyers, Nissan has launched its “No Charge to Charge” promotion, whereby the purchase or lease of a new Nissan Leaf comes with two years of no-cost public charging. What Nissan engineers refer to as “range anxiety” is believed to be a significant hurdle to increased consideration for EVs. It’s the fear among drivers that they’ll find themselves near the end of their vehicle’s range with no access to a charging station and not enough juice to make it to their destination.
The program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with charging station companies ChargePoint, Blink Network, Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo. It will offer Nissan LEAF owners access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access EZ-Charge card. The program launched on July 1, 2014 in 10 markets that have a high concentration of Leaf sales. It applies retroactively to buyers in those markets who purchased their Leaf on or after April 1, 2014. Nissan has said it plans to expand the program to at least 15 additional markets in 2015.
In addition, Nissan is involved in a plan to add 500 quick chargers at its dealerships throughout the U.S., as well as in public buildings and private businesses. All would accept the EZ-Charge card. Under the program, participants will receive 30 minutes of charging at an eligible charging station. A quick charger can take a Leaf battery up to 80 percent of its capacity in 30 minutes.
The Leaf has a range of about 75 miles on a single charge. For a cautious driver who keeps it steady at about 45 miles per hour, that range could be extended to 90 to 100 miles. However, for the majority of people, the 75-mile range is probably the more realistic estimate. It’s understandable that drivers approaching the end of their range without a charging station in sight would feel at least as panicked as a driver running out of fuel with no gas station in sight. The difference, of course, is that there are far more gas stations than charging stations.
“No Charge to Charge”
Fortunately, “No Charge to Charge” also offers Leaf drivers help in locating a participating charging station. They’ll have the option of using either EZ-Charge.com or PlugShare.com, with the latter also offering a PlugShare app that can be used on smart phones and other mobile devices running Android or iOS. Nissan hopes that word will spread among prospective Leaf buyers that the fear of running out of juice will soon be a thing of the past. After the allotted no-fee charging period, participants may continue to use the EZ-Charge card to fuel their EV at standard charging rates.
The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the U.S. with 2014 sales of 22,323 units through October. With sales of electric vehicles on the whole trending upward, Nissan hopes that giving drivers easy access to charging infrastructure, especially at no cost, will boost Leaf sales even further.