Update: 2015-05-23. DC Fast Charger no longer padlocked.
I visited Newton Nissan for a quick charge and was glad the parking space was open on a busy Saturday afternoon. I was greeted however with a padlock on the quick charge unit.
I enquired inside the service department and they unlocked the quick charge unit for me to use. The padlock is a new addition due to the fact a Tesla driver recently charged his vehicle without asking. They asked him to leave which he did, but found him using the quick charge unit again 2 hours later. Cheeky cheeky cheeky!! The EV charging wars have begun!
It’s a shame a driver had to overstep the mark. Now all drivers maybe inconvenienced, especially out of hours.
I checked on Plugshare and the Tesla Driver is someone called Chris. Ironically he thanked Newton for the rapid charge and being open out of hours. There maybe two sides to this story….
I suggested to several of the dealership staff they should not look upon this as a problem, but an opportunity. I suggested if a Tesla driver wants to charge his vehicle, let him do so, so long as he/she agrees to the test drive of a vehicle while they wait for their car to charge. Maybe his wife or kids might like to buy a Nissan LEAF or another Nissan vehicle. If they decline the test drive, decline the rapid charge. Shutting out owners of competitive EV’s may not be the best approach. Tesla owners have money, they may be willing to buy from Nissan as well, running them off will guarantee no sale now or in the future. By padlocking the unit Newton Nissan have won the battle against the cheeky Tesla driver, but they may lose the war on sales if they don’t choose to negotiate rather than stonewall.
If you expect to need to charge your LEAF out of hours, call by the dealership in advance and get the combination from them.
Within a few days of the padlock being installed, a Nissan LEAF owner called Lindsay has already been inconvenienced by the presence of the padlock out of regular hours (see Plugshare comments in image below). I have exchanged messages with Lindsay in the past on Plugshare and she is a long time LEAF owner and utilizes the public charging stations frequently. It’s too bad that the padlock intended to prevent ‘unauthorized’ access actually inconveniences genuine Nissan customers. I believe they should rethink this policy.
If you read the blog comments at the end of this article you will also discover that Chris the Tesla driver says he did ask ahead of time if it would be OK to use the DC Fast Charging station. More and more it looks like Newton Nissan have handled this issue poorly and in a heavy handed manner.