has proof that giving away a bit of electricity makes buying a new Leaf
all the more enticing. Thanks to a deal that offers free charging to some Leaf owners in Texas, one dealer there claims his Leaf sales have tripled
. We don't see national sales climbing quite that high starting July 1 2014, but an announcement made today at the New York Auto Show
will likely give the EV a boost.
New Leaf buyers will get to charge for free at public chargers for two years. Within limits: a max of 30 minutes at CHAdeMO and an hour at Level 2 stations.
Nissan will expand its "No Charge to Charge" promotion to at least 25 markets across the US. The deal means that new Leaf buyers will get to charge for free at public chargers that accept the new EZ-Charge card, within limits. That means a maximum of 30 minutes at CHAdeMO
DC fast chargers and just one hour at Level 2 stations, Brendan Jones, director of Nissan EV infrastructure strategy and development, told AutoblogGreen
. This should be plenty of time, Jones said, since the average Leaf driver comes to a CHAdeMO station with 35-40 percent state-of-charge on the battery and the average time they stay is around 16-17 minutes. A half hour is fine at a fast charger, since the battery will get to 80 percent full within that time, but we're less impressed with the one-hour limit at a Level 2 station, since that will only put maybe 20 miles into the battery.
The EZ-Charge card is compatible with four of "the leading EV charging networks," which here means ChargePoint, Blink, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo. Nissan says the 25 markets make up over 80 percent of all the US Leaf sales. Anyone who buys a new Leaf in one of the specified markets - or bought one on or after April 1 of this year - will get the free-to-use EZ-Charge card (others can still get the card, which means only carrying one charger company fob instead of four). The promotion starts July 1 in 10 markets (San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Washington, DC) and then expands to the next 15 by the end of June, 2015. Nissan would not specify which markets these will be, but they will be where the Leaf is selling well and
there are DC fast chargers. That means, we suspect, places like Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Atlanta
Fred Diaz, senior vice president of sales and marketing, aftersales, US, said during a meeting with journalists that over 90 percent of new Leafs are ordered with the CHAdeMO fast-charging option. We were curious if Nissan's emphasis on making charging easier – Diaz said the goal of this project is to build range confidence and drive additional sales - means the automaker isn't as interested in developing a longer-range Leaf, but Jones said that making charging easier and does not exclude a 150-miles EV. Plus, he said, there will always be a need for chargers.