Anyone who owns an electric vehicle knows how important it is to ensure that it is suitably charged for any journey – but now Nissan wants users to charge their car for an entirely different reason.
Following on from Tesla’s Powerwall announcement earlier in the year, Nissan now wants users to power their homes using their electric vehicle. Of course, Nissan only makes one EV thus far – meaning it actually wants people to charge their homes using the Nissan Leaf.
Nissan has teamed up with Italian energy supplier ENEL to debut a ‘Vehicle 2 Grid’ (V2G) system that enables Leaf owners to use their cars as mobile power plants.
Given the mobility of the Nissan Leaf, EVEL and Nissan both envision a future where users could power both their homes and offices from the multi-kWh battery underneath the car’s chassis. The two also hope that any energy that is not being used can quite easily be transferred back into the grid – saving people money on their energy bills.
Anyone with a brain will immediately realise the problem with this proposition – what if the homeowner suddenly needs to pop to the shop and grab some groceries? Well, if the car is already hooked up and powering the home entertainment system alongside the lights and every other electronic object inside the house – chances are there isn’t going to be much power left to get to get to the nearest supermarket..
That’s an immediate obvious advantage to Tesla’s Powerwall solution over Nissan’s usage of the Leaf EV, but if the homeowner doesn’t plan on using the car during peak times – then there are some advantages to Nissan’s solution.
During peak hours the demand for electricity is higher and therefore the price is also higher. During these times homeowners could quite easily power their homes using the Leaf’s 30kWh battery pack and simply charge the car back up outside those hours.
This approach means that there’s no extra expense for people who already own a Nissan Leaf; with the Tesla Powerwall, the California-based company wants people to buy an expensive power pack solely dedicated to powering the house. Nissan’s Leaf is both portable and can still be used as a vehicle.
Tesla’s Powerwall is expected to cost $3,000 (£2,000) for a 7kWh battery in the US, while the V2G charger from EVEL is expected to cost around $900 (£600).
While ENEL is the Italian-government owned energy supplier, the company does not plan to trial the V2G technology in its backyard. In fact the pilot scheme is set to launch in Denmark first, before rolling out to other Northern European nations in the future.