Nissan is taking the first steps to implement its vision for “Intelligent Mobility”, launching a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial and unveiling a new energy storage unit in the UK this week.
One hundred V2G units will be installed for the trial at locations agreed to by private and fleet owners of the Nissan Leaf EV and e-NV200 electric van. Owners of Nissan EVs will be able to sell stored energy in their vehicles back to the grid for a profit.
Nissan’s V2G project is in partnership with multinational power company Enel, and is the first-ever V2G trial to be carried out in the UK.
This endeavour is part of Nissan and Enel’s commitment to support the EV ecosystem, going beyond the vehicle itself and delivering new services to the energy industry. Furthermore, having an increased number of EVs on European roads makes it vital that V2G technology is implemented to ensure the grid can satisfy the increased demand.
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources”.
“This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option.”
According to the accompanying press release, if all 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate a power output equivalent to a 180 megawatt (MW) power plant. If every vehicle on UK roads were electric, however, V2G technology could generate the energy capacity needed - 370 gigawatts - to power the UK, Germany and France together.
Nissan’s V2G trial follows its “Nissan Intelligent Mobility” video, where several future technologies were presented, including a connected network of smart cars, streets, offices and homes which, in fact, utilised an vehicle-to-grid system.
The video envisions the “fuel station of the future” as not being anything like the current, conventional fuel station at all. Instead, electric vehicles and the connected infrastructure network would all power each other while producing zero emissions.
xStorage home battery system revealed
In addition to the launch of the V2G trial, Nissan also unveiled a new home energy storage system that allows customers to control how and when they use energy in their homes.
Developed in partnership with power management company Eaton, the new ‘xStorage’ system can be connected to the residential power supply and renewable energy sources such as solar panels.
Providing a ‘second life’ for Nissan EV batteries after their first life in a car is over, the xStorage unit uses 12 Nissan EV battery modules.
The new unit can save customer energy costs by charging up when renewable energy is available, or during off-peak periods when energy is cheaper, and then releasing that stored energy in peak periods when demand and costs are higher.
Using solar technology as an example, a customer can power their home during a peak period with the clean, renewable energy from their xStorage system. It also acts as a backup generator, at a time where energy grids are experiencing significant strain due to increasing demand.
Cyrille Brisson, vice president of marketing for Eaton Electrical said: “The collaborative development between Eaton and Nissan enabled us to optimise development and production costs and deliver a well-integrated offer to consumers”.
“Our system will be provided to end-users completely ready to use, with all required elements including cabling and installation by a certified professional.”
“Our policy is to avoid hidden extra costs and achieve a lower total cost of ownership than other major offers already announced,” he added.
While the EV uptake is still yet to take off in Australia, the V2G trial and xStorage system from the UK hint at what’s to come from manufacturers like Nissan and energy companies in the not-too-distant future, to reduce emissions and connect existing infrastructure to maximise efficiency and provide our growing population with renewable energy.