Nissan to create electric vehicle ecosystem
Nissan announced a plan, called Nissan Energy, that will allow owners of Nissan's electric vehicles to connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses, or feed energy back to power grids. The company says it will also develop new ways to reuse electric car batteries.
The company has already begun programs in the U.S., Japan, and Europe aimed at creating an ecosystem around its range of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF. Nissan Energy is designed to bring these initiatives together as part of the company's Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy.
Nissan Energy will reportedly establish new standards for connecting vehicles to energy systems through three key initiatives: Nissan Energy Supply, Nissan Energy Share, and Nissan Energy Storage. The initiatives extend to various locations, including Nissan's North American headquarters in Franklin, TN, where Nissan North America, working with V2G systems company Fermata Energy, will pilot the use of LEAF vehicles to assist in powering its headquarters facilities during peak electrical demand times. In another project, in Hagen, Germany, LEAF vehicles will be used as a reserve for the German electricity grid. The pilot project involves Nissan, technology company The Mobility House, energy supplier ENERVIE, and transmission system operator Amprion. In still another project, in Japan, Nissan is working with partners such as electric and telecom companies, conducting field tests of vehicle-to-grid and virtual power plant systems to confirm and promote opportunities for electric vehicles to assist with managing energy.
Through Nissan Energy Supply, connected charging solutions are provided for customers at home, on the road, and at their destination. Nissan's efforts to assist customers includes verifying whether charging equipment, such as electrical sockets or wall boxes, can be connected to Nissan electric vehicles safely (market-dependent). Away from home, customers can use the CHAdeMO charging network, which currently has more than 22,000 quick-charging points globally. Finding charging locations and hooking into the network is made possible through the revised LEAF navigation system and NissanConnect app.
Nissan Energy Share, working with partners, is designed to provide the ability to harness energy integration potential. Nissan Energy Share capabilities connect the vehicles with society's infrastructure to allow them to share their high-capacity battery power with a connected home or building. They also allow the cars to link to the local energy grid to act as virtual power plants.
Nissan has conducted Energy Share pilot programs in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and other markets, collaborating with several companies and organizations. Once the pilot tests are completed, Nissan says it will be ready to rapidly commercialize the systems. These include vehicle-to-home (V2H), vehicle-to-building (V2B), and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trials.
With V2H, owners of Nissan electric vehicles can reportedly use their cars as a power source for the household to save money on electricity bills, or as backup power during blackouts or emergencies. This allows the usage of renewable energy when available, or when electricity is cheaper. Nissan recently unveiled the Nissan Energy Home, located in the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama. The demonstration house features solar panels and a Nissan LEAF electric car that provides power from its battery pack. The V2H system charges the connected electric vehicle, which then shares power with the home. During the day, when the sun is out, the solar panels generate electric power and forward it to the Nissan LEAF battery pack for charging. The LEAF assumes the role of an energy storage unit while the solar energy is harnessed. When the sun goes down, the home’s electrical demands are managed by the Nissan LEAF to power lighting, air conditioning, televisions, and even cooking appliances. The needs of a typical house can reportedly be provided using a small percentage of the battery capacity.
V2B is similar to V2H and makes use of electric vehicle batteries to store energy for buildings and businesses. However, a V2B system can involve hundreds of vehicles with the goal of realizing major cost savings for a company. Nissan says its Nissan Energy Share pilot program is ideal for companies with fleet vehicles because it will continuously monitor a building's electrical loads, looking for opportunities to periodically draw on the LEAF's "lower-cost energy" to provide power to the building during more expensive high-demand periods. This constant monitoring, called demand-charge management, could result in significant electricity savings and could offer the secondary benefit of reducing the burden of peak loads on local utilities.
With the V2G program, Nissan has formed partnerships with utility companies and governments to harness V2G capabilities. Nissan says it is piloting ways to let customers earn additional income by sharing energy from their vehicles when they are not being otherwise used, without affecting the customer's mobility needs or the health of the vehicles.
Nissan Energy Storage is meant to provide a "second life" to an electric vehicle's battery. After it is finished powering the car, a Nissan electric vehicle's battery can be recycled and refurbished for uses ranging from powering electric forklifts and generators to supplying energy to a sports arena. As increasing numbers of customers switch to electric cars, the availability of used lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase significantly as owners replace their vehicles.