As the news just seems to get better and better for the electric vehicle market, it has been announced that Japanese automaker Nissan has agreed a deal with utility company NRG which will see free charging for those purchasing a Nissan Leaf between 1 October 2013 and 31 March 2014. The network of 23 charging stations known as "Freedom Stations" in the Dallas Fort Worth area look like they will certainly be busy over the next 12 months!
This is a perfect illustration of what many hope to be a long-term trend in the EV market, electric vehicle manufacturers and utility companies working hand-in-hand.
Will this help Nissan Leaf sales?
Even at this moment in time the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular electric vehicles of all time and the fact that those who purchase a vehicle in Texas between 1 October 2013 and 31 March 2014 will receive 12 months free charging can only help. This is certainly one of those deals which catches the eye of consumers wondering whether or not to buy an electric vehicle and is almost certainly something which will be replicated by other electric vehicle manufacturers across the US.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There is speculation that Tesla will have an affordable EV on the market by 2017 with a price tag in the region of $40,000. What is the maximum you would pay for an EV today?"
When you also take into account that Nissan sales in, Dallas for example, have increased five-fold within the last 12 months, Nissan certainly seems to be on something of a role in the U.S.
Could we see similar deals in Europe?
While many people had hoped to see this type of deal announced well before today, the fact that we now have the first major partnership between an EV manufacture and a utility company has certainly gone down well. There will now be enormous pressure on other EV manufacturers and utility companies ,across not only the US but Europe as well. It makes sense as the electric vehicle industry is going from strength to strength, that utility companies will play a major role going forward, so why not jump into bed together and get the best deal for everybody?
Governments will also be keen for charging networks to be as attractive as possible and as cheap as possible in the short to medium term. This type of deal will certainly increase EV sales across the world and while at some stage we will see free charging facilities fall by the wayside, this future development could be some way off yet.
Would this change your mind?
It is possibly the fact that recharging an electric vehicle is so much cheaper than refuelling with traditional gasoline/petrol that makes such a deal between EV manufacturers and utility companies so attractive. If this is what it takes to tip a potential EV enthusiast over the edge and purchase an electric vehicle then surely it is a relatively small price to pay in the short term?
Whether or not this would actually change your mind if you had recently decided not to buy an electric vehicle is a matter of personal opinion but the fact remains it is certainly more positive than negative for the sector.