Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


In Gear

Blackout? No problem for Nissan Leaf-powered buildings.

Japanese automakers are exploring electric vehicle-to-building systems that could provide backup power in the case of outages. Electric car power could also help large companies reduce energy costs. 

By Antony IngramGuest blogger / December 11, 2013

Angie Vorhies plugs in the charging cord to her Nissan Leaf electric vehicle at a mall in San Diego last month. Many automakers are exploring electric cars as backup power sources for buildings.

Lenny Ignelzi/AP/File

Enlarge

Japan's geological instability poses a real energy problem for the country--as witnessed during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Skip to next paragraph

The website focuses on the auto industry’s future, the evolution of cars beyond fossil fuels, and the green movement's relevance to car shoppers today. For more stories on green cars, click here.

Recent posts

Related stories

Generating power and transmitting it to homes and businesses can be difficult following an earthquake or Tsunami, which is why several Japanese automakers have explored electric vehicle-to-building systems.

Nissan is the latest to demonstrate its own system, in impressive style.

RECOMMENDED: Car logos quiz

As Slashgear reports (via Japan Daily Press), just six Nissan Leafs are capable of powering the company's Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City, Japan.

It isn't all about providing power in blackouts, though--even though that's a useful side-benefit of the "Vehicle-To-Building" power system.

Instead, its main purpose is to reduce energy use at peak times. When power is cheaper during off-peak times, the cars are charged, and the building receives power as normal. But as prices shoot up, the building starts to draw power from the electric cars.

The benefits may only be slight--Nissan says it cuts peak-hour electricity use by about 2.5 percent--but the savings could really add up. Over the course of the year, the six-Leaf system could save half a million Yen, or about $4,800.

It's easy to imagine it being particularly useful for a small business, or even home owners. Using Leaf battery power when rates are high, and charging the car when electricity costs are low, could really save money over the course of a year.

Then there's that blackout protection: The company's Leaf-To-Home system provides power to your house should the lights go out. It may drain your range, but arguably it's more important keeping your family warm and fed...

Back at Nissan's Advanced Technology Center, the company says the system still ensures that employees' cars are fully charged by the end of the working day--so you won't get back to your vehicle to find your computer or the coffee machine has stolen all its power.

The Vehicle-To-Building power system is still at the early field test stage, but it isn't hard to see the system growing as Japan's power grid copes with reductions in nuclear-generated energy, following Fukushima--as well as future environmental disasters.

RECOMMENDED: Car logos quiz

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

Related stories

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!