Nissan has partnered with power company Enel to launch a pilot program in the UK allowing electric vehicle owners to sell energy from their car batteries back into the grid. As well as allowing EV drivers to make a bit of extra cash from their cars, Nissan sees the program as the first step towards using cars as mobile energy hubs. The announcement came alongside the launch of the xStorage home battery, which uses recycled Leaf batteries for home energy storage.
The vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial scheme will see 100 V2G units installed at locations agreed upon by individual and fleet owners of Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 vehicles. Having charged their cars during low-cost, off-peak times, owners can hook their vehicle up to the V2G unit and use it to supply power to their home or office during peak periods. Alternatively, the power can be fed back into the UK National Grid for a bit of extra cash.
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The trial will be a first for the UK, but follows in the footsteps of a similar trial in Denmark involving 40 V2G units that began in January. Nissan claims that if the 18,000 Nissan EVs currently on British roads were plugged into the energy network at once, they could provide the same amount of power as a 180 MW power plant.
By storing off-peak energy, or charging cars from inconsistent renewable sources and using that power later on, Nissan says the pilot is designed to look at how we can make the energy grid smarter in the future.
As well as launching its Vehicle-to-Grid pilot, Nissan has paired up with power management company Eaton to release xStorage, an alternative to the Tesla Powerwall.
One of the big issues with battery powered cars is what happens to the batteries at the end of their working lives. Although EVs don't emit any gases locally, disposing of lithium-ion batteries poses a different set of environmental challenges.
In its attempts to maximize the life of its batteries before they need to be recycled, Nissan will be giving Leaf batteries a second life with the xStorage system. Owners can charge the storage units, which are made up of 12 Nissan LEAF battery cells, using their own solar panels or by using cheaper off-peak power.
Just like in the Vehicle-to-Grid project, this stored energy can then be used to power the home during higher electricity rate periods, or be fed back into the grid for a bit of quick profit. When and how the power is stored in the batteries is controlled through a smartphone app.
Pricing starts at €4,000 (£3,200) for a fully installed 4.3 kWh xStorage system.