LEAF “No Charge To Charge” Program Now Live – Our Q&A With Nissan


Nissan And 4 Charging Partners Announce Launch Of The "No Charge To Charge" Program

Nissan And 4 Charging Partners Announce Launch Of The “No Charge To Charge” Program

This past April Nissan announced an innovative No Charge To Charge” program that would be available with every new LEAF purchase in the United States, in conjunction with a new EZ Charge one-card-for-all network.

Nissan's Charging Initiative

Nissan’s Charging Initiative

We can now announce that effective yesterday, that program is now live.  And while it is not yet available everywhere, it is online today in 10 major city areas.

  • San Francisco
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Nashville
  • Phoenix
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth
  • Houston
  • Washington

Past these initial 10 cities, at least 15 more will be included over the next year.

How the program works is fairly simple.  For the first 2 years after a new LEAF purchase, you can get either a free 30-minute DC CHAdeMO fast charge, or a one hour L2 charge at participating networks and stations throughout the US.

The program works inside the “EZ-Charge” program that is administered by NRG eVgo.  You can learn more about the program, or check out which stations closest to you are enrolled in the free charging scheme by checking out EZ-Charge.com.

The initial 4 charging groups (or five if you like to separate Blink from the rest of the CarCharging family) that are part of the EZ-Charge program are:

  • ChargePoint
  • Blink Network/Car Charging Group
  • NRG eVgo
  • AeroVironment

It is worth noting that ChargePoint is NOT part of the separate “No Charge To Charge” program, but the company tells InsideEVs that about 60% of their stations are already free.

Currently, EZ-Charge cards are only available through participating Nissan dealers in the specific announced markets.

Nissan Expands Available Free Charging Footprint To New LEAF Owners

Nissan Expands Available Free Charging Footprint To New LEAF Owners

We had a chance to talk with Brendan Jones, director of EV Sales and Infrastructure at Nissan about the program earlier this week to follow up on some of the finer details.

ChargePoint Returns To Program

ChargePoint Returns To Program

We asked Mr. Jones about Chargepoint returning to the EZ-Charge program after backing out in mid-May because of proprietary customer information being shared with all the players, and being lead by eVGO.

At the time ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano said upon exiting the program that “…they (NRG eVgo) want to monopolize the relationship with the driver, I think this is their attempt to gain some relevance in the market.”

Mr. Jones said that the program had not been without its challenges getting to the point it is today, but that everyone came together in the spirit of having one unifying access card.

We have to note that the new language on the program does state that “…EZ-Charge will transfer your basic personal information to your selected charging networks.”

The EZ-Charge card program will still be active after the 2-year free “No Charge to Charge” period has expired, and it is believed more OEMs will also be offering programs similar to Nissan at some point in the future under the one-card solution – a cooperation that Mr. Jones emphasized was needed in the industry, and encouraged by Nissan.

Hey, where is Atlanta on the list?

Initial "Free Charging" Rollout Markets - Expanding To "At Least" 25 Cities by July of 2015

Initial “Free Charging” Rollout Markets – Expanding To “At Least” 25 Cities by July of 2015

We couldn’t help but ask the Director of EV Sales and Infrastructure how Atlanta could NOT be one of the cities in the “No Charge to Charge” program right out of the gate; and while Mr. Jones said he didn’t want to “spoil” the announcement of what the other 15 cities would be for the charging networks, he did say that Atlanta would be up shortly…and why it was not included on the debut list.

“The program has some customer satisfaction stipulations in terms of the number of DC fast charging stations that have to be in the market at launch…we are not going to launch it in the market until the offer (number of stations) is solid.  So we won’t have a customer driving off the lot saying ‘they gave me this great promotion, but there is no chargers’.

We’ve got a solid date that is not too far off for launching Atlanta…multiple chargers are going to be going in this month, next month, etc., and we wil be ready to pull the trigger on that, in that market, relatively soon”

On charging and fees past the “Free” time period:

Given this is not an unlimited free charging program, what happens after the free charging time period is up?  Is there the built-in functionality to stop the charge before fees are incurred?  Will customers have to ‘nanny‘ their plugged-in vehicles to avoid paying charges if they go over the time allocation?

In the case of the DC fast charging with the LEAF, the Nissan director said that it would not be an issue as most fast charges take no more than 16 or 17 minutes, but that it could be an issue in some cases with L2 stays (6.6 kW max).

The new EZ-Charge website states that fees range from station to station, and customers will be charged according after the free time allotment expires.

“DC fast charging fees can range from 10 cents per minute to $5 to $10 per session. Level 2 charging fees may range between $0.49 per kilowatt-hour to $1 to $2 per hour. Charging fees are noted at each station.”

Mr. Jones noted that some machines and networks have more built in functionality than others and could accommodate customization to avoid fees…but not all; while saying that all the networks and Nissan ultimately want the customer to be satisfied with the program, and that kinks will get smoothed out as they become more accustomed to how the stations are used.

If you do find that you need more charge than the free allotted 1 hour L2 can provide, there is a 60 minute disconnection interval required on both the CarCharging and NRG eVgo charging stations before it can be restarted for free.

In total 2,600 public stations are available today, with more than 200 being of the quick charging variety.

Category: Charging, Nissan

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37 responses to "LEAF “No Charge To Charge” Program Now Live – Our Q&A With Nissan"
  1. David Murray says:

    That is surprising that they’d only give you 60 minutes on the L2 stations. For a Leaf with the 6.6 kW charger, that means you can only pick up 20 miles of range without paying. For a Volt or even a Leaf without the charge package (or an older Leaf) that means only 10 miles of range.

    What really needs to happen here is that Chevrolet and Ford need to get in on this system too with their PHEVs. But I think the L2 stations should be good for at least 2 hours of use.

    1. pjwood says:

      Most the L2s are Chargepoint. Nissan eats the cost of electricity, at its CHAdeMOs, where Chargepoint could have had another paying customer. That’s my guess why, on the hour.

      Reading about the possibility of CHAdeMO retrofits on cars like RAV4, and the upcoming B-class, the Nissan news has a nice twist. Tony Williams quickchargepower.com may be on to something.

      I think it is possible that 120-150 mile BEVs, and CHAdeMO watt volumes, could eventually trump Tesla’s model of far fewer charging sites and bigger range. It comes down to driving triangles, and the number of trips >175 miles or so.

    2. Think of the EZ-Charge program as training wheels for new EV owners. The point of the program is to build “range confidence” as owners get comfortable driving a new EV.

      A LEAF has 80 mile range, that may be less under some driving conditions. Adding 20 miles to reach a destination will reduce concerns during first few weeks of driving. Owners with older (2011/2012) LEAFs and Volts had similar acess to free charging in early-adopter days. By now early-adopters are very familiar with the operational range of their EVs and have high degree of “range confidence”.

      Owners should not expect the EZ-Charge program to be a replacement to home charging. Expect key aspects of the program is open access to reliable charging when needed unexpectedly. If charging location are full of vehcles for long periods, the it would defeat the purpose of the program.

      1. Tom C says:

        I think the free charging is “training wheels”, but the one-card-fits all is the way of the future. You don’t need a different credit card for each chain of stores, why should we need a different charging pass for each network?

  2. GeorgeS says:

    I can just see it.
    You roll in for your free chadmeo charge and drive away with a 10 dollar charge…..not good.

    However, it may be that on some of these chargers you can set the time at the begining of the session…..I’m a Volt owner so I’ve never used one but may get a Leaf when my lease is up.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Your ok with the LEAF on a fast charge as it is rare to go over 30 mins on a fill (think most, if not all have a grace period too). Now, if you happen to also own a Model S and are using your Nissan free charge card (like your not supposed to)…then you might get a surprise.

      I did speak specifically to Nissan about this issue, and they are aware it the potential issue…and don’t really want it to happen to customers unexpectedly.

      In some cases there is a cut-off, some others a grace period…but no always. They admitted it probably wouldn’t be flawless right out the gate, but were going to work with the networks so that their customers are happy…this really is a perk like you see on ‘regular’ cars like with a gas card, and they want it to work as such – they don’t have a vested interested in seeing a new LEAF owner get a $2 bill for some extra charge time.

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        I don’t know Jay. This still seems cobbled together. Tesla makes it really simple. This program just feels like they are trying hard to avoid costs.

        What they don’t understand is that there really won’t be abuse as home charging simply is the easiest way to go. Sure, people will be attracted to free and there is always some clown that works really hard to save a few cents. However, I really doubt that legions of LEAF drivers will be squeezing much free juice out of this program.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          You are right, there is significant differences between the two.

          The Tesla Supercharging network is really a paid premium/closed service for Model S owners.

          The “No Charge To Charge” is Nissan picking up a few bucks in costs (ala a gas card) to encourage a sale, while the participating networks also eat some costs in order to (in theory) retain a customer after the 2 year period…and also get people who perhaps would not publically charge accustomed to their system.

        2. Assaf says:

          Well, it’s better than the nothing we have now, no? Esp. with all charging networks starting to charge $$ via their own little confusing and often not-at-all-user-friendly schemes.

          Thumbs up to Nissan on this from my end. For sure once this inter-operability is available, anyone might be able to buy into it, don’t see why not.

          As to usability: it takes a while to realize how useful ChaDeMo can be for Leaf drivers, esp. weekend day trips. It took us a year before starting to use it. Now we’ve done it 3 times (for a total of 5 QC charging and one L2 session) since start of our spring/summer hiking season, despite having to pay each and every time. And on an additional trip the knowledge of a QC existing was a “safety” fall-back in case our range falls short, which it didn’t.

          For sure we’ll do it even more once it’s free – and even *way* more once there are more L3 stations in strategic locations.

        3. The time limit for free is definitely needed. (especially L2) I talk to folks at free public chargers all the time who are camping out in the middle of the afternoon to save $2.

          Although not as much of a problem for Tesla because most of the Superchargers are outside of major metro areas, you can see the problem there too at Hawthorne, Freemont, Gilmore and Vacaville. The heaviest use by far. And a lot of use by locals who will candidly admit that they’ve gone out of their way to get a “free” charge. This is not conjecture, dozens of people have told me this personally.

          If this stuff is going to work long term, remove perverse incentives.

      2. DNAinaGoodWay says:

        It can take more than 30 min to QC when it’s really cold out. The manual says it can take up to 90 min, but I’ve never stayed past one hour, even when it’s below zero.

        1. Average daily driving is 30-40 miles. This requires 8-12 kWh depending on driving style and conditions. This will typically take 10-15 min. using DCFC. There are very few reasons to charge to 100% SoC (state of charge) at a public charger. The typical situation is getting enough ‘extended range’ to reach a known destination where the vehicle will be able to charge for a longer period(s).

          If making multiple trips beyond 100 miles per day, then it would be reasonable to expect multiple charging stops. (eg: 80 miles from 100% home charge + 20 miles from pubic charging … + … miles, is a lot of driving per day)

        2. Tom C says:

          EVGO stations will cut you off after 30 minutes. By that time (if not at 100%), the charge rate has tapered off so that L2 charging is just as fast. This keeps their L3 stations from being hogged, and is why they always have an L2 nearby.

  3. taser54 says:

    Ahh, the fine print. Isn’t it glorious?

  4. kdawg says:

    They should offer an “unlimited use” card for a fee. Maybe $1500, good for the life of the vehicle, or limited to 15 years, or whatever makes sense.

  5. Assaf says:


    Thanks for bringing out the story! Two questions:

    1. Does this still cover leases as well as outright purchases?

    2. Does this still cover lease/purchases made earlier this spring/summer?



    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hi Assaf,

      Yes it covers both leases and purchases. As far as a I know it is retroactive on purchases back to April 1st of this year.

      1. ggpa says:

        Can other Leaf owners buy into the program?

  6. Jouni Valkonen says:

    As Tesla is offering free supercharging, other car sellers must follow suit, because if they do not follow, they cannot expect to sell that many electric cars.

    Of course today Tesla is only manufacturer that provides fast charging support (>100 kW), but later on when Tesla gets its supercharging network dense enough, it will become very apparent that it is just compulsory for non-Tesla car sellers to offer free fast charging.

    Later on even Walmart and other shops cannot expect to retain their customers if they do not offer free fast charging. Customers just chooses that shop where they can charge their EV for free while on shoping or dining!

    1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

      I don’t know about elsewhere in the world but for the most part in the US, people charge at home. The experience to date has been that charging stations do not attract customers. Some people claim this is because the chargers aren’t high speed ones (mostly 30A or less) but the ease of home charging really does trump public charger use.

      I do agree that the Tesla “free” charging is a real differentiator. However, Nissan’s “free to charge” program looks lame – too many conditions. Tesla – unlimited usage, Nissan – lots of conditions to remember. They don’t get what Tesla figured out. The energy costs are miniscule compared against the goodwill and brand differentiation.

      1. kdawg says:

        That is because Telsa’s SCs are for long distance travel, where a Leaf only has 1/4 the range of a Model S. Most people plug-in at home, and do their daily driving. SCs open up the ability to make long trips in your Tesla. The free charging for Leafs will not do the same thing, even if there were 10,000 chargers in the US. No one is going to drive 60 miles, charge, drive 60 miles, charge, etc.

        They are 2 different products/customers/charging profiles.

        1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

          Well, except for the fact that a number of SCs, particularly in CA, are in the “local” travel area of a lot of tesla owners. Home charging is simply easier than going to an SC. I know that some locals use SCs but it’s a very small minority.

          There is an SC slated for Seattle but I have no desire to use it since it takes less than 30 second to plug and unplug at my house. My time is worth more than a couple of bucks worth of juice for free.

          1. kdawg says:

            Correct, the ones that are going to use ‘in town’ SCs are those that are using them as their destination charger, at the end of a longer trip (or if it is a pass-thru town). For example, someone that is making a trip to Seattle, not someone living there. The person living there is going to charge at home since 300 miles of range is more than enough to tool around town. And there is no parking space advantage of a Tesla SC in most instances.

            1. kdawg says:

              This is different from the Leaf driver. They are more likely to need local charging, and are more likely to opportunity charge when possible, especially if it’s free.

        2. GSP says:

          Leaf drivers do drive 60 miles, quick charge, then drive another 60 to get to their destination. One or two 1/2 hour stops can be worth it to not have to drive the gas car.

          The fast chargers allow extra miles for the days when they are needed.


  7. Big Solar says:

    I used NRG level 2 the other day. It was 2 bucks for 3 hours with my credit card and was easy to do. It was my first time ever using a public charger after owning an i miev for 2 years. Up until then I only charger 110v at home, so 3.5 hours went by very fast….

    1. kdawg says:

      There are 30 level 2 chargers around me. I have used many of them, and they are all free. The businesses get my business by putting them in.

      If they charged $, I probably wouldn’t use them since I have a Volt and can rely on my gas engine backup.

  8. Anderlan says:

    More QCs coming to Atlanta? I’m dancing! Hoping that the Nissan dealer’s single QC spot won’t be blocked or in use with a queue already by it or behind a locked gate after hours when you really need it is no way to travel.

  9. David Murray says:

    The EV charging paradigm has yet to be fully understood. Imagine if all gasoline drivers had gas stations in their own garages, but their gas tanks only held 3 or 4 gallons of gas. Sure, everyone would need to use a gas station every now and then on those really busy days or days when they needed to travel unusually far. But for the most part, it would put 95% of current gas stations out of business.

    So.. In order to make public charging work, there has to be a way to pay for the infrastructure.

    1. Imagine if it took 10 min. to pump a gallon of gas at a public gas station, while a public station down the street pumps 2 gallons per minute?

      Either way there is a “cost per mile” … $, or time. A similar example for vehicles is toll roads. A driver can drive in a congested slow lane for free, or take a toll lane for an added fee.

  10. DNAinaGoodWay says:

    PlugShare now has a filter to find participating NCTC stations.

  11. Nu says:

    What about Los Angeles? You know, that place with many LEAFs driving around?

  12. ModernMarvelFan says:

    But LEAF owners can charge their “other” plugin car for FREE too since there is no way to know what kind of car is plugged in.

    This just encourage “public hogging”.

  13. Murrysville EV says:

    The Leaf’s range is too short to make much use of this gimmick. I charge mine at home for $20/month for 800 miles of driving.

    That’ll be the day I pay $10 for a quick fillup at some distant charger, unless I’m really desperate and planned poorly.

    1. Tom C says:

      I recently started using L3 chargers after a year of mostly L1 charging, and it really made me think differently about the car. On errand-heavy weekends, it means I don’t have to borrow a gas car to make the second or third trip of the day. But that happens less than once a month (even less now that I have L2 at home), so the $12 fee isn’t bad. Nearly all the time I can do it with L2 by planning properly, as you say, but unexpected events come up and I really like the option.

  14. why cant i charge at home,in have the time

  15. i can charge leaf at home on house current