Nissan Borrows Tesla Strategy, Offers Free Charging for the Leaf in Texas image

Nissan announced its plan to offer its EV customers free rapid charges for the Leaf hatchback in Texas, a strategy which was pioneered by Tesla.

Beginning October 1st, customer who buy a new Leaf hatchback in Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth will get free unlimited access for 12 months to public chargers that are operated by NRG Energy’s eVgo unit. Depending on the success of this strategy, the automaker might expand the offer to other markets.

“It’s a pilot program, so we’ll want to see how it goes,” Brockman said by phone yesterday. “NRG has eVgo networks in other markets, and we have high hopes for this program.”

Nissan has become the largest seller of electric vehicles and this year so far sales of the Leaf in the US have more than tripled helped by low-cost lease deals and price reduction. Leaf’s sales in the US through August have reached 14,123 units.

Tesla, the pioneer of this strategy, is currently expanding its supercharger stations network to boost sales of its Model S luxury sedan. Customers who purchase the 85 kilowatt-hour-battery versions of the vehicle or an optional upgrade of the base model will get free charges for life.

“For the right person, near these charge stations, it could be a good thing and have some appeal,” said Jack Nerad, industry analyst and executive editor for Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California. “But it’s still striking me that in most instances, an electric car will mainly be a second or third vehicle for most people, because of the range limitations and how long it takes to charge them.”

Source: Bloomberg