Nissan Leaf

Nissan 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.
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NISSAN LAUNCHES PROGRAMS TO MAKE LEAF CHARGING FREE AND "EZ"

NEW YORK CITY (April 16, 2014) – Nissan today announced the expansion of its successful "No Charge to Charge" promotion, which will provide two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. In total, Nissan will launch "No Charge to Charge" in 25 U.S. markets, which are currently responsible for more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales.

The "No Charge to Charge" expansion will use the new EZ-ChargeSM card, a first-of-its-kind platform that offers Nissan LEAF owners access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access card. New owners will receive an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.

"'No Charge to Charge' and EZ-Charge are a winning combination, making public charging free and easy for new LEAF buyers," said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Aftersales. "Public charging is an important way to provide added range confidence to EV buyers and persuade more shoppers to join the more than 110,000 LEAF drivers around the world."

"No Charge to Charge" will launch using the EZ-Charge card on July 1, 2014, in 10 of the top markets for Nissan LEAF sales, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, DC. The "No Charge to Charge" offer and EZ-Charge card will be provided retroactively to buyers in these markets who purchased their LEAF on or after April 1, 2014.

After the rollout in the first 10 markets, Nissan plans to add "No Charge to Charge" and EZ-Charge at LEAF dealers in at least 15 additional markets during the following year. More details on the programs in these additional markets will be made available closer to their launch.

The EZ-Charge access card is managed by NRG eVgo with support from ChargePoint, CarCharging and AeroVironment.

"Nissan's commitment to mass-market electric cars is matched by our commitment to increase charging infrastructure for LEAF owners," said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan EV Infrastructure and Strategy. "EZ-Charge is a natural progression of our multi-pronged commitment to developing EV charging at workplace campuses, at Nissan LEAF dealerships and in the communities where LEAF drivers live and work."

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.

About Nissan

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.

About the EZ-Charge partners:

About ChargePoint

ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 16,500 charging locations and a 70%+ market share. Ranked #1 by leading independent research firm, Navigant Research, ChargePoint makes advanced hardware and best-in-class cloud based software. ChargePoint's open network is utilized by many leading EV hardware makers and encourages all EV charging manufacturers to join. Every 10 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station and by initiating over 4.5 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved over 3.9 million gallons of gasoline and driven 93 million gas free miles. For more information about ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com.

About CarCharging

Car Charging Group, Inc. (OTCQB: CCGI) is the largest owner and operator of electric vehicle (EV) charging services with more than 13,650 charging ports in 35 states and three countries. CarCharging owns and operates the Blink Network, the software that operates, monitors, and tracks the Blink charging stations and all of its data, and owns and operates EV charging equipment manufactured by various additional providers. CarCharging has strategic partnerships across multiple business sectors including multifamily residential and commercial properties, parking garages, shopping malls, retail parking, and municipalities, enabling EV drivers to easily recharge at locations throughout the United States. For more information about CarCharging or the Blink Network, please visit www.CarCharging.com, www.BlinkNetwork.com, www.facebook.com/Car.Charging or www.twitter.com/CarCharging.

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider with decades of experience delivering complete EV charging solutions, such as home charging, public charging, fast charging, data collection, grid-integrated communications, and complete installation, training and support services for consumers, automakers, utilities, government agencies and businesses. The company has deployed more than 15,000 Level II charging stations in North America and hundreds of DC fast-charging stations, including along the pioneering West Coast Electric Highway, where the company supplies, installs and maintains the highway's EV charging network. AeroVironment is a leading supplier of high-power test systems used worldwide by automakers and advanced battery manufacturers to develop the next generation of electric vehicles and batteries. To learn more please visit www.evsolutions.com.

About NRG eVgo

The NRG eVgoSM network gives electric vehicle (EV) owners new freedom and range confidence via home and workplace charging docks, plus a network of fast charging stations conveniently located at retailers along major transportation corridors within eVgo cities. Service plans offered by eVgo can provide EV owners a home or workplace charger and use of eVgo's Freedom Station® sites and other public charging stations. eVgo is a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company at the forefront of changing how people think about, buy and use energy. Through eVgo, NRG will provide access to hundreds of public charging sites across California, Texas and the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. To find out more, or to join the eVgo network, visit www.nrgeVgo.com. Connect with eVgo on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgeVgo.

EZ-ChargeSM is a service mark of NRG EV Services.