Starting in Dallas-Fort Worth and HoustonIt looks like Tesla's leadership in offering free fast-charging at public charging stations to Model S owners might be starting to turn the practice into an expected perk for EV owners. Nissan is dipping its toe into the water: "Beginning in October, customers who lease or purchase a new Nissan LEAF in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets will receive one year of complimentary access to eVgo's comprehensive Freedom Station ® charging network, including 23 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and 17 in the greater Houston area. Also, included as part of the eVgo network, is charging at Park N' Fly locations at DFW and IAH airports."
It's a great start, and I hope that they'll extend both the geographical coverage of the offer and remove the time limit (Tesla's Superchargers will be free to Tesla owners "forever", says Elon Musk).
Why Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston? Because they're a hotspot for LEAF electric cars!
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing markets in the country for Nissan LEAF sales, with deliveries up 500 percent so far in 2013 as compared to 2012. The presence of strong public infrastructure with eVgo, as well as major technology companies and strong word-of-mouth referrals from existing owners has fuelled the rapid rise in LEAF sales.
eVgo's Freedom Station offer both DC fast charging and Level 2 charging. DC fast chargers can deliver up to an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes in a LEAF, so they're pretty fast, though not quite blazing fast yet (napkin math shows that 30 minutes for 80% of a 24 kWh battery is about 38.4 kilowatts. The latest version of the Tesla Supercharger is rated at 120 kW, or about 3x faster). The LEAF might need an upgraded battery pack to be able to accept more power; we'll see if the next generation can be charged faster or if the limiting factor is the speed of the eVgo stations.