Free Nissan LEAF Leases Aim To Win Over Skeptics


How do you convince somebody that an electric car can meet their daily driving needs? Why not give them a free Nissan LEAF for a couple of months to try on for size? In Japan, Nissan is “giving” up to 2,000 potential owners the chance to try out a LEAF for a couple of months to see if it fits with their lifestyle.

According to InsideEVs, the offer explicitly applies to apartment or condo dwellers in the Tokyo area, where Nissan hopes to make inroads with its EV offerings. For a lucky 2,000 or so applicants, they will be offered a totally free two-month lease on a LEAF, no strings attached. If it doesn’t fit their lifestyle, they can return it with zero hassle. And if they like it, they can sign an extended lease, simple as that.

Automakers and dealerships have offered “extended” test drives of up to a week or so before, but two months? That’s enough time to really get to know a car, it’s flaws and its advantages, as well as start to develop something of a relationship with the vehicle. I have a hard time giving a test car back after a week on occasion; after two months, it would feel like saying goodbye to a new friend.

There are a lot of people interested in EVs, but many who don’t think their lifestyle will fit with the limited ranged offered by the likes of the Nissan LEAF. While several studies have conclusively said otherwise, there’s nothing like personal experience to change one’s mind. I would jump on this program in a heartbeat if Nissan brought it to the U.S., and I bet I could convince a few friends to give it a try as well. Of course LEAF sales have been steadily gaining steam on their own, so maybe such a program isn’t needed yet.

I hope somebody at Nissan is reading this, because I can’t think of a better way to convince somebody how much better an electric car really is except letting them try it out for themselves. The only drawback? A lack of home charging options, which is why Nissan is focusing on apartment dwellers with access to charging stations nearby. With rumors that the next LEAF could go up to 150 miles between charges though, range anxiety may soon be much less of an issue.

Would a long term test drive make you more likely to give an EV a try?

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.