New Electric Vehicle Battery Can Help Power Buildings, Too


Nissan is taking its electric vehicle to the next level, pioneering a new system that will enable companies to regulate their electricity bills by tapping into the electric vehicles their employees are driving to work.

The “Vehicle-To-Building” technology allows up to six Nissan Leafs to be connected to an office building’s power distribution board, the Daily Fusion reported. At peak hours, when energy demand is at its highest and electricity is most expensive, the building draws power from the cars. When demand slows and electricity is cheaper, it flows the other way. No matter how much electricity they provide, the system ensures the Nissan Leafs are fully charged by the end of the day for their owners to drive home.

The U.S. military has a pilot program in place that tries out this kind of system, known as vehicle-to-grid, on several domestic bases using its growing fleet of electric vehicles. It earned more than enough revenue to cover the cost of leases for electric vehicles, while providing reliability and secure power backup.

Nissan has conducted a successful field test of the Vehicle-To-Building system and has been using it at the company’s Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City, Japan since July. According to the Daily Fusion, “the facility benefited from a reduction of 25.6 kW during peak summer periods by controlling the charging time of the electric cars, with no impact on the workers’ daily commute.”

And the results have been significant. The facility achieved a “2.5 percent reduction of electrical power use during peak hours, a saving of nearly 500,000 Yen (approx. $4,900) per year in electrical power cost (based on current Tokyo Electric Power Company’s rates).”

Nissan’s latest endeavor is an offshoot of its “Leaf-To-Home” system, which helps stabilize the electrical grid by charging the vehicle at night, when energy demand is low, or with electricity provided by solar panels. Additionally, it “can be used as back-up power source in emergency situations if there are power outages and/or shortages by providing the stored electricity held in the Nissan Leaf’s onboard batteries,” according to Green Car Congress.

Improving energy storage is critical to fostering the growth of renewable energy. As more renewable energy systems are added to the electrical grid, they need to be supported by better energy storage systems — and that’s where technologies like the Nissan battery can play a key role. And after a price cut of $6,400 earlier this year, the company is striving to make the emissions-free vehicle (and its cutting-edge technology) more accessible to consumers.

(HT: The Daily Fusion)