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"No Charge to Charge" will launch alongside the EZ-Charge card on July 1, 2014

Nissan is looking to lure in new LEAF customers by expanding its "No Charge to Charge" promotion and offering new EZ-Charge cards. 
 
According to Nissan News, the new EZ-Charge cards will allow Nissan LEAF owners to access EV charging networks like ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.
 
The card will provide LEAF drivers with two years of public charging with the purchase or lease of a new LEAF. 
 
"No Charge to Charge" will launch alongside the EZ-Charge card on July 1, 2014 in 10 key LEAF markets, including San Francisco; Sacramento; San Diego; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Nashville; Phoenix; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Houston, and Washington, DC. 
 

 
Buyers in these markets can take advantage of the "No Charge to Charge" and EZ-Charge cards if they purchase their LEAF on or after April 1, 2014.

"'No Charge to Charge' and EZ-Charge are a winning combination, making public charging free and easy for new LEAF buyers," said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Aftersales.

Once it rolls out in the first 10 markets, Nissan will expand the promotion to 15 additional markets in the following year. 

This sounds a lot like Tesla Motors' Supercharger network, which offers charging for its Model S EV at no cost to the driver. The Supercharger network just recently expanded from coast to coast, relieving EV drivers of range anxiety. 

Source: NissanNews.com



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Proprietary charging stations?
By amanojaku on 4/17/2014 2:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that car manufacturers are building units in competition with each other, and that components are likely unique to each manufacturer due to the newness of EV mass-production. However, I'm hoping manufacturers will eventually combine their efforts into developing these charging stations. I don't think it's financially sustainable for them to run stations for free, even for two years, and placement will be limited. On the other hand, if stations had universal connectors with variable delivery rates they could be run in a similar manner as gas stations - lots of locations servicing many different cars.




RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By SublimeSimplicity on 4/17/2014 3:17:07 PM , Rating: 2
I can't blame Tesla for making their own standard. CHAdeMO didn't support the rates they needed for their supercharger network.
However, GM/Ford/BMW, muddied the waters for no technical reason. They proposed the SAE DC standard, which has the same specs as CHAdeMO (which was already deployed) and they haven't really delivered cars or chargers.
The reality is, the two manufactures actually making a lot of DC fast charging cars, Nissan and Tesla can both use CHAdeMO (Tesla with an adapter), so it's not as bad as it seems. The SAE standard should die the death it deserves.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Solandri on 4/17/2014 5:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. We're early in the development of EVs. I would rather there be no standard so manufacturers can experiment with different systems and designs. In 5-10 years when we have a better idea what works and what doesn't, then we can make a standard. Retrofitting existing outlets with adapters or different shape plugs or reprogramming their computers with different charging patterns is not a big deal.

The last thing I want is for something like GSM to happen again. GSM mandated TDMA for voice communication, which meant that your phone took up part of the tower's bandwidth even if it wasn't using it. CDMA allows all phones to share all of a tower's available bandwidth with little to no waste. If the U.S. had meekly followed the EU and required compliance with the GSM standard, we'd probably all be stuck at about 0.5 Mbps cellular data speeds right now. (The 3G data on most GSM phones is done with a CDMA radio. LTE uses OFDMA which is conceptually very similar to CDMA. 802.11ac also uses OFDMA.)


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By SublimeSimplicity on 4/18/2014 9:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
But charging isn't nearly as complicated as cellular communication. Every Lithium Ion battery chemistry charges the same way, with different parameters. You specify a max current, a voltage to stop constant current charging, and a constant voltage for charging after that.
The standards are squabbles over pin layout and protocols for carrying those 3 values between the charger and the car. CHAdeMO uses separate pins for communication. Tesla uses 2 big pins that carry communication at first and then switch to carrying current. SAE reuses the AC charging pins for communication and adds two more pins on top.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Solandri on 4/18/2014 3:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
You can charge at different voltages and currents (and vary it over time), and new up-and-coming battery technologies will have different charging characteristics. The last thing I want is for a superior charging system or new battery technology to be crippled in its infancy because it's forced to adhere to a standard designed around inferior technology.

e.g. Say someone figures out a way to quickly and easily charge batteries at 10kV, but the standard calls for 220V plugs. So to make this new technology work, they're forced to take the 10kV from power lines, run it through the utility company's transformer to drop it to 220V, convert it to DC, feed it into the car, then have a 220V to 10kV step-up transformer inside the car before it can charge the battery. That's a whole lot of inefficiency added simply to adhere to the standard, when they could theoretically just take the 10kV from the power lines, convert it to DC, and feed it straight into the car.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By danjw1 on 4/17/2014 4:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
There are industry standards for EV Chargers. That is how you have existing networks of Chargers out there. The problem with them is that they use lower power than is best for charging larger EVs with larger batteries, like the Tesla models. They should work fine for Leafs and Volts, though.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Shig on 4/17/2014 4:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
I always thought a good idea would be to build a charging network on top of your dealership network. Then you can offer Nissan owners free charging at the dealership.

The Tesla Supercharger model isn't going away. It's going to be harder and harder to sell a car in the future that doesn't have this kind of free recharge network.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Solandri on 4/17/2014 6:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Tesla Supercharger model isn't going away. It's going to be harder and harder to sell a car in the future that doesn't have this kind of free recharge network.

The free recharge network isn't going to last. The flat monthly fee, unlimited use model works with phone or Internet service because the company has to pay the same costs for their lines no matter how much or how little their customers use them.

But when charging a car, the cost is directly linked to how much you use it. The Tesla's EPA estimated annual operating cost is $540/yr (at 15k miles and $0.12/kWh). So if you figure the average Tesla owner keeps the car for 10 years, that's $5400 in electricity costs. You don't get that for free - Tesla simply adds it to the price of the car (so it's not really "free recharges" - you're still paying for it, just to Tesla instead of the electric company).

But unlike the ISP model where their costs remain flat regardless of how much bandwidth their customers use, Tesla's recharge costs scale directly with how much their customers drive their cars. If people get giddy about the free recharges and drive 20k miles/yr, suddenly Tesla's costs for this program have increased 33%. They've been assuming people would use $5400 of electricity over the life of the car, but suddenly they're using $7200. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand cars and you're talking half a billion dollars. Enough to wreck your finances. If Tesla cracks a few million in sales, the difference is enough to pay for their own nuclear reactor to generate all that electricity.

Same thing also happens if electricity prices increase dramatically for whatever reason. The only economic model that makes sense for charging cars is pay as you go. Just like with gasoline cars.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By flyingpants1 on 4/17/2014 6:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But when charging a car, the cost is directly linked to how much you use it. The Tesla's EPA estimated annual operating cost is $540/yr (at 15k miles and $0.12/kWh). So if you figure the average Tesla owner keeps the car for 10 years, that's $5400 in electricity costs. You don't get that for free - Tesla simply adds it to the price of the car (so it's not really "free recharges" - you're still paying for it, just to Tesla instead of the electric company).


Whoa, this is totally inaccurate. Tesla owners average like 2-3 supercharger trips per year. You pay $2000 up front, some of it goes towards the charging stations and solar infrastructure. The electricity used for charging is generated for free.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By atechfan on 4/18/2014 8:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The electricity used for charging is generated for free.


You just lost credibility there.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Reflex on 4/18/2014 9:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
While free is the wrong word to use, his point is that it was a fixed expense from the construction of the Supercharging station since they are generating power via solar.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Fritzr on 4/20/2014 12:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
Or in more detail the costs are
Depreciation (This is simply taking the upfront cost and spreading it across the years for tax purposes)
Maintenance (Essentially a fixed ongoing cost with little relation to use)
Replacement (This is a savings account where the money to replace the solar panels in 20 years is stored ... this is a net income, not an expense, though for accounting purposes the money paid into this account is a current expense)

Actual usage of the "free" charging has little effect on these costs. The "fuel" is either used or discarded depending on whether a car is plugged in or not and usage has minimal effect on the cost of the charger.

The chargers are paid for upfront by the car owners and the money is either put into income generating investments until needed or is used to pay present expenses with future income allocated to pay future expenses. Corporate accountants earn big money to minimize the cost of operations by deciding how the money will flow.


RE: Proprietary charging stations?
By Mint on 4/18/2014 11:39:51 AM , Rating: 2
Tesla's model works because the purpose of their Superchargers is for long distance travel, so the vast majority of them are between major cities.

Currently, something like 5% of mileage is charged through Superchargers, and I doubt it'll ever go higher than 10%. So 10% of 200k miles on electricity will have well under $1k in charging costs.

Nissan is a slightly different story, due to lower MSRP and higher reliance on charging stations for medium distance trips. But they can cut off the free charging offer whenever they want to.


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