Auto Tech

Nissan's free-EV-charging program makes its way to the Twin Cities

Leaf owners in Minneapolis-St. Paul won't have to worry about paying for public juice for two years.

Need a quick battery boost while you're out shopping? "No Charge to Charge" has you covered.

Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" program is once again expanding. The promise of two free years of public charging is now arriving in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Anyone who buys a new Nissan Leaf will be eligible for this benefit, which is already in 21 other markets across the country.

"No Charge to Charge" is a straightforward program. After picking up your Leaf, you'll get a card that gives you access to multiple charging networks. When you're out and about, you can use that free card to get a 30-minute DC fast charge or a one-hour Level 2 charge. That should be enough time to boost your battery from zero to 80 percent.

The program takes advantage of the EZ-Charge card, a system created by EV-charger company NRG eVgo that allows you to use the same card at four different brands of charging station -- ChargePoint, Blink Network/Car Charging Group, NRG eVgo and AeroVironment. "No Charge to Charge" can juice you up at any of those stations, with the exception of ChargePoint.

Sadly, Nissan's program doesn't have anything to do with home charging. If your office doesn't have a supported hookup, or if you only ever charge at home, "No Charge to Charge" won't be beneficial. After those two years are up, you can still use your EZ-Charge card, but you'll have to pay for all those precious electrons. EZ-Charge's website has a list of all supported locations, in case you're eligible for the program but have concerns about ample access to chargers.

The automaker will expand "No Charge to Charge" to three more, yet-to-be-revealed markets. Climates of all types are covered under this program, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.