Nissan knows that offering free charging can increase Leaf sales, so it only makes sense for them to expand the "No Charge to Charge" program. And that's exactly what happened yesterday.

As previewed during the New York Auto Show, No Charge To Charge gives new Leaf buyers free charging at participating public charging stations – which is pretty much any public station – for two years. That's the kind of thing that simplifies the EV buying process, which can move units, Brendan Jones, director of Nissan EV sales and infrastructure, told AutoblogGreen.

"There is an expectation that we'll get a sales increase out of this," Jones said. "All the dealer has to say is that we have one card that accesses all chargers and we have a promotion where you can get free charging. The more complexity we reduce, the more sales we get."

"The more complexity we reduce, the more sales we get." – Nissan's Brendan Jones

That all-access angle is important for the broader EV market, Jones said, calling the program, "The first valid step towards interoperability." Jones said there will be more surprise announcements soon. "The infrastructure companies really came together to support Nissan on this," he said, but added that, "What's good for the industry and EVs in general is good for Nissan."

"Leaf customers are not shy about their ability to provide constructive criticism," Jones said, " and interoperability has always been a big concern." Now that many of the early adopters drive an EV, the next target audience are the people who are telling EV companies to "Make this easy for me and I will adopt," Jones said. "[Interoperability] is a necessity for the industry now. We know the experience is great once they drive it. This just takes away a barrier, that confusion at the dealership."

And, in some areas in the US, No Charge To Charge is now live. There are 2,600 public stations (200 of them fast chargers) in the initial 10 markets, Nissan says. Those include: San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland (OR), Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Washington, DC. Nissan hasn't announced where the next 15 markets will be, but we know that they will likely be wherever the Leaf is selling well and there are a fair number of DC fast chargers.

As we reported in April, each charging session in the No Charge To Charge program is limited to 30 minutes if you're plugged into a CHAdeMO fast charge station and to an hour at a Level 2 station. Charge To Charge works with four of the biggest networks in the US: Blink, AeroVironment, Chargepoint and NRG eVgo. Chargepoint dropped out in May but is now back, Jones said, but is now back on board. The issue was one of data and customer management, Jones said, without getting into specifics. Then there's also the issue that Chargepoint doesn't have many DC fast chargers (just over 70 in the US, according to the Chargepoint website) and No Charge To Charge is mostly a fast charge program because Nissan expects customers will be primarily interested in the fast chargers, Jones said. EZ-Charge, a similar one-card-to-rule-them-all program run by NRG eVgo, has previously announced it will expand the interoperability function of No Charge To Charge to drivers of any EV.

UPDATE: Turns out, ChargePouint is not involved in No Charge To Charge. Chargepoint's communications director, Erin Mellon, wrote AutoblogGreen to say:

EZ-Charge is a first of its kind program developed by Nissan. It provides new Leaf owners the ability to access multiple charging networks, ChargePoint included, with one single card. No Charge to Charge is a separate program by Nissan that provides new Leaf owners with free charging for two years on select stations. Currently, ChargePoint's network is not part of No Charge to Charge, but about 60 percent of stations on the ChargePoint network are already free to use. ChargePoint does have a few ways to offering free charging across our entire network so you can expect announcements in the near future.

Show full PR text
NISSAN LAUNCHES "NO CHARGE TO CHARGE" PROGRAM; PLANS HUNDREDS MORE U.S. EV QUICK CHARGERS FOR LEAF DRIVERS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 9, 2014) – The economics are simple: buy an all-electric Nissan LEAF, and you save money by avoiding the gas pump. With Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" promotion, new LEAF buyers in certain markets get an even better deal with two years of free public charging.

New Nissan LEAF drivers are now enjoying free charging at eligible public stations, thanks to the new "No Charge to Charge" program, which is now live in 10 markets across the United States. With free access to charging at more than 2,600 public stations available in the initial program markets, including more than 200 quick chargers, LEAF drivers are also experiencing the "range confidence" that public charging can provide.

The value of "No Charge to Charge" will continue to grow, with Nissan's plans to support the installation of an additional 500 quick chargers at Nissan dealerships and at business and municipal partners in key LEAF markets across the U.S. These quick charging stations can charge a Nissan LEAF battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes.

"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."

"No Charge to Charge" takes advantage of the new EZ-ChargeSM card, a first-of-its-kind card that offers Nissan LEAF owners access to five leading EV charging networks with a single card. New owners will receive an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink, CarCharging, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.

"No Charge to Charge" has now launched in 10 of the top markets for Nissan LEAF sales, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Oregon., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, D.C. In the next year, Nissan plans to offer the "No Charge to Charge" program and EZ-Charge card at LEAF dealers in at least 15 additional U.S. markets.

Participants can locate eligible chargers in the "No Charge to Charge" program online at EZ-Charge.com or PlugShare.com, or by downloading the PlugShare app for iOS or Android. (Note: Not all chargers accessible with the EZ-Charge card are included in the "No Charge to Charge" program.)

About Nissan LEAF

With more than 120,000 global sales since launch, Nissan LEAF is the world's top-selling electric vehicle. LEAF seats up to five passengers and boasts an estimated driving range on a fully-charged battery of 84 miles and MPGe ratings of 126 city, 101 highway and 114 combined. With a starting price of less than $30,000, LEAF is competitively priced with similar gas-powered cars after applicable tax credits, while providing the benefits of lower running costs and less scheduled maintenance.

LEAF is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery and an 80kW motor that provides a highly responsive, fun-to-drive experience.

The all-electric Nissan LEAF is offered in three trim levels, and shoppers can choose from a variety of available premium features such as leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, 7-speaker BOSE® energy efficient audio system and a 6.6 kW onboard charger that significantly reduces 220V charging times.

About the EZ-Charge partners:

Blink

Blink Network is a CarCharging Company and one of the leading EV charging networks. We offer Level 2 and DCFC charging solutions for single-family homes, multifamily, and commercial properties. Our publicly accessible Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers are strategically located where drivers need them the most-multifamily residential, workplaces, retail outlets, restaurants, and parking facilities. To locate stations or learn more about the Blink Network, please visit http://www.BlinkNetwork.com.

CarCharging

Car Charging Group, Inc. (OTCQB: CCGI) is a pioneer in nationwide public electric vehicle (EV) charging services, enabling EV drivers to easily recharge at locations throughout the United States. Headquartered in Miami Beach, FL with offices in San Jose, CA; New York, NY; and Phoenix, AZ; CarCharging's business model is designed to accelerate the adoption of public EV charging. 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.

ChargePoint

ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 18,000 charging locations. 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. ChargePoint's real-time network information including the availability of charging locations throughout the nation is available through the ChargePoint mobile app, online and via the navigation systems in top-selling EVs including the new BMW i3 and the Nissan LEAF. Every 9 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station and by initiating over 5 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved over 4.3 million gallons of gasoline and driven over 100 million gas free miles. For more information about ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com

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.

AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider with decades of experience delivering complete EV charging solutions, such as the recently launched dual-voltage TurboCord portable charger, 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 nearly 18,000 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.

PlugShare

PlugShare is the world's most popular electric vehicle charging station locator app, made by Recargo Inc. Recargo is a leading electric vehicle service provider that offers consumer and industry intelligence to support the adoption and growth of plug-in mobility. PlugInsights is the company's driver research division, powered by the largest panel of EV drivers ever assembled. For more information visit www.recargo.com.

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/.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Spec
      • 5 Months Ago
      This probably helps buyers feel better about EVs and probably helps the charging networks. But in reality, the buyers are going to find out that they rarely use these public chargers.
      sebringc5
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is Nissan's answer to the TESLA supercharger? Sounds good but Nissan needs to charge alot quicker, not just offer for free! All the best, Aaron Lephart www.smartcar451.com
      electric-car-insider
      • 5 Months Ago
      Agreed, Workingman. Although I'm less concerned with extra driving than the tendency of folks to camp out on a "free" public charger during the day rather than simply charge at home overnight. I see this all the time already on the few unmetered chargers around town (amazing the personal inconvenience people will put up with to save $2). I believe cheap is better than free. Otherwise the incentive is setting up a "tradgedy of the commons" and counterproductive to the real objective of public charging; extending range when away from base.
        Mike
        • 5 Months Ago
        @electric-car-insider
        This is actually a good solution for someone in an apartment that does not have access to charging at home. If they live near a participating quick charger, they can do so affordably. Paying prevailing rates for quick charge as your primary source of energy is not affordable. We all know this is not as convenient as slow charging at home, but it at least expands the practicality of buying an EV to a larger population.
          electric-car-insider
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Mike
          I agree that if you can't charge at home, quick charge can work. But the cost should be comparable to what you'd pay at home or public chargers (especially L2) will be unnecessarily congested with folks who could be charging at home but prefer "free". This isn't just conjecture, I talk to these folks at free public chargers. Camping out in the middle of the afternoon to save $2.
        Spec
        • 5 Months Ago
        @electric-car-insider
        Meh . . . I largely agree. But I don't think it will be too much of a problem. Most people are not going to walk a long distance just to use a free charger.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Spec
          They won't walk, but they will bike (I've seen a few instances of this).
      Workingman
      • 5 Months Ago
      I love the idea of selling more EV'S, but with anything free, waste is an issue. Free electricity means additional driving.
      elctrNmbliT
      • 5 Months Ago
      Weird that Georgia isn't on that list since it's always in the top 3 in sales of the Leaf.
      paulwesterberg
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nissan should setup a network of chargers that are free for the lifetime of the vehicle where you just plug it in and charge - no hassling with credit cards or membership rfid cards or having to call some service line to authorize the charger. That would be super.
      Joeviocoe
      • 5 Months Ago
      Talk about the Model Year 2015 Leaf release
      Grendal
      • 5 Months Ago
      Do you think that Nissan would have started this without Tesla doing it first with the Superchargers? I'd say likely. So Elon's plan of advancing EV forward into future seems to be working. It's a minor accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless. This is another strength of EVs over gas cars. If you make a concerted effort to offset your cars energy use you can afford "free" charging.