Nissan is pretty certain that free charging offers in the two largest metropolitan areas in Texas are substantially boosting sales of the Leaf electric vehicle. Heck, one Houston car dealer says Leaf sales have tripled because of the plan, which is run by NRG through its batch of eVgo Freedom Stations. Each of these stations has a fast-charging outlet and a standard Level 2 cord where EV drivers can plug-in without breaking out the wallet.

Here's how the plan works: NRG is offering a year of free charging for those who buy or lease a Leaf in either the Houston or Dallas-Fort Worth areas. NRG has 17 stations in Houston and another 23 in DFW. Nissan pays NRG a fee for employing the program, and it's apparently paying off, Nissan's Brendan Jones told Plug In Cars. The stations are located at retailers such as Walgreens and at gas-station chains. The "No Charge to Charge" program started October 1 and runs through the end of this month. The promotion may be driving sales, but let's remember that Nissan was touting a rise in Leaf sales numbers before the free charging deal went into effect.

Of course, the fun does eventually end, and folks have to start paying for the juice after that first year. Two options NRG offers are a 12-month unlimited charging plan for $39.95 a month or a year of unlimited one-hour sessions at a Level 2 a cool $59.95. Californians, there's sadly no word on Nissan or NRG bringing a similar program to the Golden State. Because we know you were wondering that.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      EZEE2
      • 1 Year Ago
      I do not have a Leaf, so correct me if I am wrong, all of the people that own Leaves...but... Is free charging that big of a deal? I would think the 'no gas in your tank' would be enough of a sales incentive. Also - at $40 a month? How much is the monthly electric bill to charge a Leaf anyway? I would imagine it is nice to charge the vehicle remotely, but doesn't everyone charge their vehicles at night, so they are ready in the morning? Danny did write this, so I suppose a healthy dose of skepticism is in order (sorry Danny, but...well, you know...).
        GoodCheer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        Good question. Let's assume 1000 miles/month, and the EPA 'official' 30 kWh/100miles, so 300 kWh/month. If you pay $0.13/kWh, that gets you back to $40/month. If most of your charging is at night, and your night-time rate is $0.08, then you're spending $24/month. All in all, $40/month is enough that they're going to make a big profit on anyone who ever plugs in at home, which I suspect is most people, most of the time. I would assume they pay an industrial rate that is significantly lower than residential retail electricity rates. But then they do have infrastructure and support people to pay for.
        Aaron
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        Maybe to people new to EVs, free charging would seem like an incredible deal considering how expensive gas is. Then they get home and, if they have half a brain, look at how little power their car really uses, they will see that this "free" charging is really not worth much at all.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Aaron
          But most people seem to lack half a brain and that is why more EV makers should offer this deal. It is a great way to help convince people.
        David Murray
        • 11 Months Ago
        @EZEE2
        It IS. Because the EVGO network of DC fast chargers essentially gives a Leaf driver the freedom to drive anywhere in DF/W or Houston without worrying about if they have enough charge to get home. It essentially gives us the same freedom that a gas car driver would have, except that we're still tethered to our own metroplex and can't really drive out of town. I would not pay $40 a month, but since it is free I'll take it. They are supposed to be converting to a pay-per-charge which I think will be much better for the consumer.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        level 3 free (fast) charging is a huge deal. remember you are still looking at 40-60 bucks a month in energy costs depending on how many miles you drive the car a month.
        krona2k
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        You're right - I don't think this represents good value at all.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      EV companies would be wise to offer "free charging" as a perk for EV sales. It is a clever ploy because it takes advantage of the fact that most people don't know how cheap EV charging is. So it would just cost them a few hundred bucks to provide "free charging". Of course, the trick is figuring out how to calculate what they need to pay. But if you did it by requiring them to install a charger which tracks all charging then they could write a check for the cost of that electricity. Pay 15 cents for each KWH from the EVSE . . . . it would only cost a few hundred bucks.
      Wm
      • 1 Year Ago
      $40/mo is more than I pay for gas with a gas only hybrid in a typical month. I drive every day, but less than 4mi each way to work and shopping rarely requires more than a 20mi drive.
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wm
        Then u can just charge at home or anywhere there is a charging system or power outlet. Do u really need to drive for 4 miles? Cant you get an ev bicycle for such tiny distance?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Actually 40 a month for unlimited charging is a really good deal. At home with .14cents per KWh, it costs me about 5 bucks more a month (at a 12k mi a year pace) for my leaf. So I would sign up for this deal if I felt it was more convenient than using my home charger and I would definitely sign up if I didn't already have a home charger.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        I think that is the crux of the deal. It works great if you cannot really charge at home. So for street parkers, this might work. But right now, there aren't many EV owners who don't have a dedicated charger spot at home.
      Aaron
      • 1 Year Ago
      NONE of the eVgo chargers are functional in Dallas. This company is a scam.
        David Murray
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        I use them ALL of the time.. Including two of them this weekend. They are the most reliable network in DF/W (way more reliable than Blink) I have never pulled into an EVGO station and not been able to charge, except for the time I forgot my keyfob and the guy on the phone couldn't seem to figure out how to turn the station on.
          Aaron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David Murray
          Maybe they're working in Ft. Worth, but ALL the ones near me in North-East Dallas are non-functional. The Walgreen's? Dead. The Cracker Barrel? Dead. Not to mention the day I got my EV, they started calling me, pressuring me into buying one of their home EVSEs. I told them to stop calling; they didn't; I finally called them back and told them to discontinue my "free" account and shove it up their ass.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @David Murray
          "Way more reliable than Blink" is not saying much.
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      More incentives for the rich.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jebibudala
        There is nothing about this car that is aimed for the rich. After a 10k trade-in and fed tax credit you are looking at 14k-17k cost to own this car! Not to mention the state incentives.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jebibudala
        The Leaf had a significant price drop... it is now WELL into the realm of middle-class.
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's not a bad thing but if you live in southern California then the Hyundai program for the hydrogen tuckson with their free unlimited hydrogen refill and way bigger range is more appealing . I won't own or rent a constrained car like the leaf even if they sell me that car for 100$.
        EZEE2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Now come on....$100? I have always said that the leaf's range is a deal breaker for me - with my work and lifestyle, but if they sold them for $100, I would buy one for me, and at least 10 of my friends. And women would pretty much have to - I mean, I got them a car afterall.
      Marco Polo
      • 11 Months Ago
      If it works, and helps drive EV sales, where's the downside ?
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