One of the standing arguments in favor of electric vehicle ownership is that it costs far less to charge a car than to fill it with gasoline. Nissan is strengthening that argument by making that cost zero.
The Japanese maker’s new “No Charge to Charge” promotion gives Nissan Leaf buyers two years of free charging at selected public charging stations in 10 markets around the country: San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C.
“Free charging is a great way for Nissan and our charging partners to make Leaf an unbeatable value for the average American driver,” said Brendan Jones, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure. “The popularity of ‘No Charge to Charge’ since our April announcement shows that public charging spurs range confidence and additional Leaf sales.”
The company plans to add 15 more markets in the next year as well as an additional 500 Nissan-owned quick charging stations. The quick charge stations can charge a complete dead vehicle to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes.
The program gives buyers an EZ-Charge card, which allows Leaf owners access to five EV charging networks: ChargePoint, Blink, CarCharging, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo. The owners can also use charging stations at Nissan dealerships. In all, it gives owners more than 2,600 charging points in those 10 markets.
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The Leaf has been the primary pure EV competitor to the Tesla Model S, which offers a network of superchargers across the country that provide a 80% charge in less than 20 minutes free of charge to owners. While Tesla sales in the U.S. have cooled in recent months, the Leaf continues to post strong results.
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In June, the company sold 2,347 units accounting for a 5.5% increase over the year-ago results. For the first six months of 2014, sales are up 29.4% to 12,736 cars. For a starting price of less than $30,000, the Leaf has an estimated driving range of 84 miles and MPGe ratings of 126 city, 101 highway and 114 combined.
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Of course, a Tesla Model S is at least twice the price of a Leaf, but it also boasts more than twice range at 208 miles with its 60 kWh battery and more than three times, 265 miles, with its 85 kWh performance-tuned battery.