If someone filled up your tank for free, then suggested that you should consider an electric car instead, would you?
That's what Nissan hopes will happen with its "Kick Gas" marketing campaign, which hopes to increase EV awareness and adoption by... handing out free gas. This summer, Nissan will hand out free gas three times each in five different states -- Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
At first, I thought the idea was slightly insane. After all, handing out free gasoline to promote cars that don't run on gasoline sounds like handing an addict a mountain of free cigarettes in the hopes that they'll get tired of them eventually -- it sort of runs counter to logic. (If you do have a mountain of free cigarettes handy, please email me for my home address.)
But then again, Nissan might be on to something. The whole point of the campaign is to show people what it's like to own an EV, and one of those ownership experiences involves never paying for gas again. Sure, you'll pay for electricity, but you already pay that bill each month, and you don't have to schlep down the street to charge if you have the requisite plugs on your property. The idea of never going to another gas station is tempting.
Not to mention, this is a low-cost way to reach buyers outside of showrooms, so if it's effective, it didn't require much overhead. Plus, it's not like Nissan is going to hand out free Leafs to owners for multinight test drives, considering the logistical and infrastructural issues involved with something that major. Building goodwill is never a bad thing, even if buyers are still years away from going electric, and while Nissan's campaign might seem silly, it might also be pretty effective.
Right now, Nissan's sole battery-electric offering in the US is the. Its 107-mile range was bumped up for the 2016 model year, but it still lags behind newer competitors like the and the forthcoming . However, there's a , slated to debut later this year, and that should address its range deficit.