Electric cars are developing at a rapid speed nowadays, alongside improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure. But it looks as though there may be even more to come in the future, if this new technology from Nissan takes hold.
The Nissan Leaf To Home system, converts any of the company’s all electric vehicles into a charging station which can keep your home running for anything up to to 2 days depending on your consumption levels. The technology was first demonstrated back in late 2012, but it’s now filtering out into the market in quantity, with ‘several thousand’ already having been sold in Japan, according to a Nissan spokesman we talked to. See the video below for our quick look at the technology in action in Barcelona, Spain a few weeks back.
The basic premise of the system is the fact that the Nissan Leaf battery stores around 20kWh of power, which is easily enough to keep the average home powered up for several hours of light use. In Japan, where they typically use less electricity in their homes, this can mean up to 2 days of emergency power, which is perfect in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.
At the heart of the system is an EV Power Station, which connects between the car and the home’s appliances, just like a giant battery block or converter. Once the car is connected, the unit then distributes the power as needed until the car’s power is depleted. Very clever. In the demo we saw, a full sized ice cream freezer cart was kept powered up in 29 degrees of sunshine on the Barcelona Marina, and from our taste tests, the ice cream was kept deliciously cold the whole time, just from the electricity from the car’s batteries.
What’s even more clever is the fact that you can hook the car up to the power grid with the system as well, which means that you could sell power to the national grid at peak prices (during times of peak demand) and then charge your car up again at cheap rates (say at night when there’s not much need for power) and come out with a profit. Sounds worryingly too good to be true.
The system is selling in Japan for around $4000 we understand, although the company is looking for manufacturing partners around the world to get this price down to a more appealing level. One other bonus of the unit is the fact that it doubles up as a fast 6kW charger for your electric car, which cuts the recharge time in half, from 8 hours conventional to around 4 hours.
The whole concept becomes even more appealing if you consider using solar, wind or other renewable power as part of your energy consumption habits. At which point your car as an off-grid, money earning, transportation combination device really starts to make sense. Definitely a very interesting technology from the Japanese company, and one worth watching in the future.