As energy prices continue to rise worldwide, many countries are implementing peak-time tariffs that charge more for energy when the grid is most taxed. The need for energy storage and alternative methods of non-grid energy production is growing and one car company is trying to position themselves in the middle of it all.
In August, Nissan released plans to attack the home energy problem by repurposing their Nissan Leaf as an emergency energy source for homes. The 24-kWh battery pack could sustain typical home power usage for up to 2 days without charging. At the Tokyo Auto Show, they took it a step further in light of peak-time rumors to submit the vehicle as a way to save money, charging it overnight and then using it as the power source itself during peak-hours.
By using a “Smart Home Charging” system, this would all be possible. It’s designed to take power directly from the Leaf and convert it into a usable source of energy for standard home consumption.
“Basically, you would charge your vehicle up. You would decide at 7.30am that the tariff at that point of time is a bit steep because everyone is trying to make their toast at the same time, so you decide to run your toaster off your car,” said Alastair Ramsay, sustainable development manager at Legrand. “The car can read tariffs so it can make a judgment on whether it’s going to have enough electricity.”
In their “ideal world” people will be using the grid less and smart homes would draw power from a variety of sources including solar and fuel cells. Until that day comes, Nissan is betting on the need over the next few years to store energy and save money from tariffs.
“The technology they are using is amazing but few people are really taking a look at it,” said Fife Nissan Dealer‘s Rick Stamos. “If this is introduced in America in 2012, it could bring more attention to the car and the other applications it has other than getting from point A to point B.”
The electric car industry has taken some criticism in recent weeks due to soft sales and an infrastructure that doesn’t seem ready to meet even the mild demand. The Leaf’s smart home charging technology, their Power Control System Box, enables homes to take advantage of the Leaf battery and is expected to go on sale first in Japan by the end of March.