Nissan points towards electric future

Car company announces innovations in future ‘energy management’

Nissan has announced details of two new energy management innovations related to electric cars: a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial scheme and a residential energy storage solution.

Vehicle-to-grid-technology

Nissan has teamed up with multinational power company Enel to trial V2G technology in the UK for the first time. It’s set to be rolled out to 100 owners of Nissan electric vehicles cross the country.

The setup allows EV owners to sell electricity that’s lying dormant in their car’s batteries back into the national grid at a profit. This means you can make money from electricity you’ve bought, but are not using. When you need to charge your vehicle, Enel’s V2G two-way charging box will allow you to draw electricity from the national grid, which is then stored in your car’s battery.

The rate at which electric vehicles are being adopted is beginning to put strain on the current energy supply, with up to 700,000 of the projected to be on British roads by 2020. This would require 500MW of energy to be added to the national grid. Part of this shortfall could be met by electric vehicles pumping unused electricity stored in their batteries back into the grid.

Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s head of innovation and sustainability, said: “The installation of our innovative two-way charging technology will encourage the integration of non-programmable renewable energy flow into the grid and will help the spread of electric mobility in the country, benefitting the energy sector and the environment, while also having a positive impact on electric owners’ wallets.”

Apart from selling electricity back into the grid, the Enel box can also charge the car overnight – when electricity is cheaper. You can then use this cheaper energy during the day to power your home, avoiding premium electricity rates.

xStorage home battery

Nissan’s European chairman Paul Wilcox has also announced a partnership with power management company Eaton to produce residential energy storage units – essentially a battery for your home.

Available to order from September this year, the xStorage unit will cost from £3,200, including installation. It allows you to take cheap electricity – generated at night, or by solar panels or a windmill on your roof – store it in the battery and then use it at a time that suits you, thereby avoiding premium-rate electricity charges during the day.

This system is designed to give a ‘second life’ to batteries that have been fitted to Nissan electric vehicles, but have reached the end of their usable life in a car. Due to the much lower energy demands of a normal household, however, they can still be used in this capacity.

Both Nissan and Eaton expect to sell more than 100,000 xStorage units over the next five years. The product will face competition from Tesla’s Powerwall home energy storage unit, full details of which will be revealed in the near future.

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