To say that Nissan is watching Tesla's every move would be an understatement.
The Japanese automaker started this month with a splash, announcing it is expanding its No Charge to Charge promotion to include 11 new markets, such as Las Vegas, Cleveland and the car capital of Detroit to name a few. The program offers new Leaf drivers two years of free public charging with the purchase or lease of the all-electric vehicle.
Nissan's announcement comes a month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk broke the disappointing news to prospective Model 3 owners during pre-registration hoopla that the impending electric sedan will not offer free supercharging with its $35,000 base sticker price. That's opposed to Tesla's pricier Model S and Model X vehicles, which do include complimentary use of the automaker's sprawling supercharging network. So, the Leaf's expanded promotion is directly mashing the dash against Tesla one could say.
The Leaf's starting price of $26,700 — after the federal tax credit of $7,500 — and now an additional 11 markets following the No Charge to Charge program's initial 10 cities in July 2014, make Nissan's electric program all the more intriguing. The Leaf has already enjoyed quite a bit of success, after all, with Nissan citing its global sales of upwards of 224,000, including 94,000 in the U.S., claiming it's the "world's best-selling electric car." Now that Nissan's charging network is offering two free years, the Leaf's sales could see additional growth.
"We know that public charging is a key element in providing additional range confidence for electric vehicle drivers, and free public charging is a great way to make Nissan Leaf an unrivaled value for the average American driver," said Brian Maragno, director of Nissan's electric vehicle sales and marketing in a press release statement.
That being said, Nissan and Tesla will have to combat the overall decline of EV sales due to a slide in gas prices. According to a number of reports, two years of declining gas prices has led to Americans reverting to buying bigger cars, straying away from EVs and hybrids. In fact, Kelly Blue Book reported this past March that sales of hybrids and alternative-energy vehicles in the U.S. slid 13.2 percent last year in comparison to figures from 2014. Even the Toyota Prius — a poster car for bang-for-your-buck efficiency — has suffered, with sales dipping nearly 11 percent last year.
Within that, popular EV options such as the Leaf and Chevrolet Volt dropped 42.8 percent and 18.1 percent in 2015, respectively. Tesla, too, has felt the effects due to cheaper pump prices as its shipments from the first quarter to second quarter, which ended last month, dropped by 450 vehicles.
Let's see if this Leaf promotion could spark a boost in sales and furthermore make Tesla re-think its Model 3 supercharging strategy.
Two years after initial launch, Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" program now reaches a total of 38 markets
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan has announced an extension of its "No Charge to Charge" promotion to 11 new markets including: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cincinnati; Cleveland/Akron; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Knoxville, Tennessee; Las Vegas; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; and Reno, Nevada.
Nissan first launched its "No Charge to Charge" promotion in 10 markets in July 2014, and it is now available in a total of 38 markets in the U.S., offering new LEAF buyers two years of complimentary public charging with the purchase or lease of the all-electric car from participating LEAF-certified dealers.
"The economics are easy — when you buy a Nissan LEAF you save money on fuel and spend less on regular maintenance costs, and that's in addition to federal and state tax incentives and other benefits that are available in select markets," said Brian Maragno, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing. "We know that public charging is a key element in providing additional range confidence for electric vehicle drivers, and free public charging is a great way to make Nissan LEAF an unrivaled value for the average American driver."
With more than 224,000 global sales and more than 94,000 in the U.S., Nissan LEAF is the world's best-selling electric car. The 2016 Nissan LEAF has a starting price of $26,700** after the federal tax credit of $7,500 for the SV model and $29,290** for LEAF SL after the federal tax credit. Both the SV and SL models boast an EPA-rated range of 107 miles on a single charge. Nissan LEAF S models continue to be equipped with a 24 kWh battery with an EPA-estimated range of 84*** miles. Starting price for 2016 Nissan LEAF S grade remains $21,510** after the federal tax incentive.
All LEAF models feature an 80kW AC synchronous motor that generates 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque, providing a highly responsive, fun-to-drive experience that consumers often expect from traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles. Unlike internal combustion engine-equipped vehicles, LEAF has no tailpipe, which means there is no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases. The public quick chargers can charge a LEAF from zero to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes.
Consumers can find chargers eligible for "No Charge to Charge" via the LEAF EZ-Charge app for iOS or Android or at EZ-Charge.com/Stations.
List of No Charge to Charge Cities
Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" program is now available in 38 of the top markets for Nissan LEAF sales, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland/Akron, Columbia, Columbus, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fresno, Houston, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Monterey, New York, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., Providence, Raleigh-Durham, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Washington D.C.
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 annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com
About Nissan Motor Co.
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 247,500 employees globally, Nissan sold 5.32 million vehicles and generated revenue of 11.38 trillion yen (USD 103.6 billion) in fiscal year 2014. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan leads the world in zero-emission mobility, dominated by sales of the LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. It is the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
*Shoppers can learn more about incentives available in their markets at NissanUSA.com.
**2016 Nissan LEAF as low as $21,510 net value after maximum federal tax credit of $7,500 for S grade. MSRP $29,010 for S grade. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and spec are subject to change without notice. Excludes tax, title, license and destination charges. The incentive referenced is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute tax or legal advice. All persons considering use of available incentives should consult with their own tax or legal professional to determine eligibility, specific amount of incentives available, if any, and further details. Destination and handling $850.
***2016 EPA Fuel Economy Estimate Nissan LEAF 2016 S Trim 126 city, 101 highway. Based on EPA formula of 33.7 kW/hour equal to one gallon of gasoline energy, EPA rated the LEAF® equivalent to 126 MPGe measured as gasoline fuel efficiency in city driving, and 101 MPGe in highway driving. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions — use for comparison only. 2016 EPA range of 84 miles. 2016 EPA Fuel Economy Estimate Nissan LEAF 2016 SV & SL Trim: 2016 EPA Fuel Economy Estimate 124 city, 101 highway. Based on EPA formula of 33.7 kW/hour equal to one gallon of gasoline energy, EPA rated the LEAF® equivalent to 124 MPGe measured as gasoline fuel efficiency in city driving, and 101 MPGe in highway driving. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions — use for comparison only. 2016 EPA range of 107 miles.
This article by Mark Lelinwalla originally ran on TechCrunch, a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.