Nissan Begins Testing V2H Technology with Leaf-to-Home Charging Units

Nissan is just one of the automakers that is starting to take note of other possible uses for the electric car, such as harnessing the power from the battery, and pumping the electric back in to the electricity grid.

The inspiration for this technology, dubbed “Vehicle to Grid” or V2G, comes from the natural disasters faced by Japan in 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami left the country in a dire state. It comes as part of Japan’s “demand response” energy policy that up until now has usually been led by the country’s efforts to cut electricity usage by asking citizens to comply with simple protocol, such as turning off air conditioning at night, or turning off lights in order to take some of the strain off the electrical grid.

A series of tests in Japan running through til January next year will determine whether Nissan’s new “Leaf-to-Home” charging stations are able convert the power stored in the Nissan Leaf’s battery pack into the  standard 100-volt alternating current used by homes in Japan, to provide a sustainable and worthwhile alternative for times when electricity is in short supply. This variation on V2G is called V2H or “Vehicle to Home.”

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The testing will involve having Nissan’s Leaf’s situated at dealerships, using the power from the car’s lithium-ion battery to run the dealership for up to 3 hours.

[sam_ad id=”3″ codes=”true”]If this becomes a feasible, plausible way of protecting domestic life in the face of natural, or man-made disasters, then the next step in development surely comes in the form of battery capacity.

The average US household uses 3x as much power compared to Japan, and would therefore render the current battery life of an electric car as good as useless as a back-up power source.

Despite this, though, the idea is very likely to grow in popularity. Not only does a better standard battery life for the electric car mean that we can begin to protect our livelihoods in times of detriment, but it would almost certainly mean that our electric cars would again evolve and receive the currently missing components in order to provide a much bigger capacity, thus giving our cars more range on their electric motors and batteries.

The idea has by no means gone ‘under the radar’ with several US utility companies taking an interest in a chance to take pressure off the grid during necessary times. NRG, who is in charge of the eVgo charging station network, are interested in using electric cars to store excess electricity when available and then releasing when needed in order to balance the grid.

Though the required technology may not be fully completed in order to take the idea to the next level in terms of commercial, nationwide usage, many expect the idea to snowball. It’s a green, efficient and financially viable route that surely will take off in the near future with the right interest and funding.

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  1. Actually, Vehicle-to-Grid tech was under discussion long before Fukushima, but Nissan is (I believe) the first automaker to try commercializing the technology. And although most U.S. homes use more power than Japanese homes, some big loads can be shed during a power outage: you don’t need to run your air conditioner (run a fan instead). The hard part is running a forced-air heating system during the winter; best to have a wood stove as backup.

    In terms of using an EV for grid support, the key is to get incentives right. Car owners must be handsomely rewarded for allowing their vehicle batteries to be used as storage, because the extra wear and tear due to cycling of the battery by the utility can shorten the battery’s life. And of course, any auto manufacturer’s warranties would need to account for this. (If V2G voids your car warranty, nobody will do it!)

  2. Neat stuff, but as a starting point, I would simply like my Nissan Leaf to be able to power the blower fan on my natural gas central heat during a winter power outage.


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