Being able to charge your Nissan LEAF can make the difference between getting there or getting a tow, and owners report that Nissan dealers are blocking access to chargers, and otherwise not supporting LEAF owners.
Nissan dealers host level 2 and level 3 charging stations all over the country, and some owners, like this one on Twitter, are concerned about making it to their destinations. Dealers often don't keep parking space open to access stations. In large metro areas, an electric vehicle owner can probably find another station, but in many areas, the Nissan dealer's station might be the only one in whatever range the driver has left.
@NissanUSA It is important for EVs to have access to chargers at dealerships.They saw me taking pix, so they came out and moved car.. Not enough..had they been closed , it would have been a problem.Charging stations should be free and clear for charging 24X7 pic.twitter.com/DqiQwvv6JD— Tamer Shehidy (@TamerBasha1) October 31, 2017
Sadly, this is far from an isolated case. A search of the Nissan LEAF Owners Group on Facebook reveals many complaints from its 7,000+ members. They often mention getting "ICEd", or being blocked by a gas vehicle parked in the way of charging. A non-scientific poll of enthusiasts in this group shows that the vast majority have faced this issue at dealers. Some even went out of their way to indicate that the dealers themselves are blocking the stations with gas vehicles for sale, or simply not allowing anybody to use the chargers at all.
No matter how well Nissan Corporate builds the LEAF, few drivers would recommend a vehicle they got stranded in (or almost got stranded in) to friends and family.
Other searches of the LEAF Owners Group revealed other complaints about dealers. Many members say they don't trust their local dealer, can't purchase a LEAF locally, have trouble getting it serviced, or indicate a general feeling that their local Nissan dealer would rather not have to deal with the LEAF at all. Even worse, salesmen have been accused of pushing potential LEAF buyers to purchase a gas-powered vehicle rather than a LEAF they came to test drive. Members speculate that sales of EVs, which are more durable and require less maintenance, could cost dealers future sales and service dollars, so dealers are trying to harm LEAF sales.
While these other complaints are less widespread and aren't very easy to prove, Nissan Corporate would be wise to study these complaints further. Look at any media outlet that deals with the automotive world, and you'll see mentions of the "electric future". With all the glowing reviews of the latest models, with greater and greater range, one could easily forget that plugin vehicles are still only a small fraction of overall car sales.
Long-term success for plugins is still far from a sure bet. Without supportive dealers and a growing network of charging stations, prospects do not look as good as they should for Nissan Corporate's new 2018 LEAF. Please, share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below for discussion. We would love to hear from you as well.