Nissan delays 60 kiloWatt-hour Leaf, but moves forward with EV energy ecosystem plans

Today Nissan unveiled a trio of electric vehicle ecosystem announcements, but separately said it was delaying launch of the 60 kiloWatt-hour Nissan Leaf.  This follows the turmoil over revelation that Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi Alliance leader Carlos Ghosn was being fired from Nissan following revelations of fraudulent financial filings.  The announcements today have to do with vehicle-to-grid technology allowing Nissan Leaf owners to use energy stored in their car to power their home.  Additionally we see that Nissan has gained approval for vehicle-to-grid use in Germany.

Since it is the 800-pound gorilla in the room we have to first address the firing of Carlos Ghosn.  A few days ago Nissan announced they had determined Ghosn had understated his earnings in filings with Japanese regulators, that he had colluded with another Board director, that Ghosn had been arrested for this problem.  Since then Nissan went ahead and fired Ghosn, as has Mitsubishi.  For Renault, they are apparently seeking proof from Nissan, and Nissan has demanded that Renault reduce its ownership stake in Nissan.  Renault currently owns 43% of Nissan while Nissan currently owns 15% of Renault, and Nissan separately owns a stake in Mitsubishi.  See a Reuters report for more details.

In my report on this a few days ago, I voiced a worry what this might mean for electric vehicle development at Nissan and Renault.  Ghosn led both Renault and Nissan into developing electric vehicles, and both have vehicles (Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf) that have sold lots of units over the years.  But without Ghosn as the guiding hand, will either lose interest?

According to the Reuters report it is said:

While the automakers have stressed that operations and business are proceeding as normal, Nissan has postponed the launch of its high-performance Leaf electric car “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits”, a Nissan spokesman said.

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of perception, that the current environment is muddied by the accusations surrounding Carlos Ghosn and the 60 kWh Leaf would be lost in the soup?  Consider that this article is 5 paragraphs in before we got to anything but the Ghosn controversy.

With that said – let’s move on to the announcements.

The three announcements are:

  • Electric Vehicle Ecosystem: Nissan Energy is a plan/vision to make the Nissan Leaf more useful by using vehicle-to-grid technology to provide more options for charging Leaf’s and sharing energy.
  • Nissan Energy Home research facility in Yokohama: A demonstration home at Nissan Global HQ features solar panels and a Nissan Leaf that can power the home.
  • Nissan Energy bi-directional charging technology at Nissan plant in Franklin TN: Working with Fermata Energy, they’ve implemented a V2G system at the Franklin factory.

Nissan Energy Infographic, Source: Nissan

Many of us have had dreams of this sort for many years.  Nissan has been working towards this for years, with a couple previous generations of products.

Peak Shaving: This means when the electricity grid is at peak levels of demand, that energy storage and other energy resources can kick in to supply more energy.  Further, certain devices can decrease their energy consumption to decrease peak demand.

In late October, Nissan received approval from German electricity grid regulators for vehicle-to-grid usage.

Nissan is still sticking with CHAdeMO versus the rest of the car industry that is moving or has moved to the Combo Charging System.

For some related ideas see: Reporting in from California’s Distributed Energy Future

Nissan to create electric vehicle ‘ecosystem’

Nissan Energy vision connects electric cars with homes, businesses and power grids; develops new ways to reuse batteries

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan has created a vision to make electric vehicles even more useful to customers by introducing new convenient ways to utilize their batteries’ ability to store and share energy.

Under the plan, called Nissan Energy, owners of Nissan’s electric vehicles will be able to easily connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses or feed energy back to power grids. The company will also develop new ways to reuse electric car batteries.

Nissan has already begun programs in the U.S., Japan and Europe aimed at creating an “ecosystem” around its range of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric car. Nissan Energy brings these initiatives together as part of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy.

“Nissan Energy will enable our customers to use their electric cars for much more than just driving – now they can be used in nearly every aspect of the customer’s lives,” said executive vice president Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles. “Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision calls for changing how cars are integrated with society, and Nissan Energy turns that vision into reality.”

Nissan Energy will establish new standards for connecting vehicles to energy systems through three key initiatives:

Nissan Energy SupplyNissan Energy Share and Nissan Energy Storage.
High-profile Nissan Energy initiatives extend to a variety of locations, including Nissan’s North American headquarters:

  • Franklin, Tennessee: Nissan North America will be piloting the use of LEAF vehicles to assist in powering its headquarters facilities during peak electrical demand times,  anticipating significant cost savings
  • Hagen, Germany: LEAF vehicles will be used as a reserve for the German electricity grid, in an innovative pilot project involving Nissan, technology company The Mobility House, energy supplier ENERVIE and transmission system operator Amprion
  • Japan: Nissan is working with partners such as electric and telecom companies, conducting field tests of vehicle-to-grid and virtual power plant systems to confirm and promote opportunities for electric vehicles to assist with managing energy

Nissan Energy Supply: Providing the connected charging solutions customers need at home, on the road and at their destination
Customers want to charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient, and the majority of charging takes place at home. Nissan’s efforts to assist customers includes verifying whether charging equipment, such as electrical sockets or wall boxes, can be connected to Nissan electric vehicles safely (market-dependent).

Away from home, customers can make use of the fast-growing CHAdeMO charging network – one of the world’s largest, with more than 22,000 quick-charging points globally.

Finding charging locations and hooking into the network – allowing Nissan Energy Supply to come alive – is made possible through the revised LEAF navigation system and easily available NissanConnect app.

Nissan Energy Share: Working with partners to harness energy integration potential 
The batteries in an electric car can do more than just power the vehicle; they can also serve as mobile energy storage devices. Nissan vehicles already on the road contain more than 10 GWh of combined storage potential. Nissan Energy Share capabilities connect the vehicles with society’s infrastructure to allow them to share their high-capacity battery power with a connected home or building. They also allow the cars to link to the local energy grid to act as virtual power plants – supplying the vehicle’s power to the grid and contributing to efficient energy management. Thanks to these capabilities, customers will be able to share spare battery capacity without compromising their mobility.

Nissan has already carried out Energy Share pilot programs in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other markets, collaborating with several companies and organizations. Once the pilot tests are completed, Nissan will be ready to rapidly commercialize the systems.

  • Vehicle-to-home (V2H): Nissan is working with partners to bring inexpensive equipment to the market to popularize V2H. Using V2H, owners of Nissan electric vehicles can use their cars as a power source for the household to save money on electricity bills, or as backup power during blackouts or emergencies. This allows the usage of renewable energy when available, or when electricity is cheaper.
  • Vehicle-to-building (V2B): Similar to V2H, V2B makes use of electric vehicle batteries to store energy for buildings and businesses. However, a V2B system can involve hundreds of vehicles to realize major cost savings for a company. Full-scale trials of V2B systems have already started in many countries, and Nissan has been working with partners with the aim of bringing the systems to market in 2019.
  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G): Nissan has formed partnerships with utility companies and governments to harness V2G capabilities. In trials in Europe, Nissan cars are providing multiple services to the electricity grid – helping balance energy networks and incorporate renewable energy. Working with partners, Nissan is piloting ways to let customers earn additional income by sharing energy from their vehicles when they are not being otherwise used, without affecting the customer’s mobility needs or the health of the vehicles.

Nissan Energy Storage: Providing a “second life” to an electric vehicle’s battery
The life of a Nissan electric vehicle’s battery isn’t over after it has finished powering the car. The battery can be recycled and refurbished for a number of different uses – from powering electric forklifts and generators to supplying energy to a sports arena. As more and more customers switch to electric cars, the availability of used lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase significantly as owners replace their vehicles.

These are some of the Nissan Energy Storage programs to date:

“Nissan now offers customers a true EV ecosystem with Nissan Energy,” said Schillaci. “This is what we feel is the “new standard for electrification’ – it’s not just about owning a vehicle but taking advantage of all the associated benefits, for the customer and society overall.”

 

Nissan Futures LA

At Nissan Futures LA in Los Angeles, California on Jan. 27, media joined Nissan to explore advancements in adaptive technologies, mobility, consumer psychology and tech innovation. Topics included:

  • Panel: Urban Innovation and the Future of Smart Cities
  • Panel: Making Sense of AI, Automation and Our Lives with Machines
  • Keynote: Embracing Inevitability: Thriving in a World of Radically Accelerating Technology
  • Fireside Chat: Inevitability of an Electric Future

Nissan unveils Nissan Energy Home

Advanced demonstration house shows how connected cars can become personal power grids

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan today unveiled the Nissan Energy Home, a demonstration house that shows how electric vehicles can help provide power for a home’s energy needs.

Located in the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, the demonstration house features solar panels and a Nissan LEAF electric car that provides power from its battery pack. The Nissan Energy Home allows guests to learn about Nissan Energy, the company’s vision for connecting homes, cars and power grids, which was announced today.

Nissan Energy envisions a connected world where new developments in battery usage and power generation enable homes and vehicles to better harness energy and to power each other. This is a key aspect of Nissan Intelligent Integration – a pillar of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.

Nissan Energy Share – combining power generation
At the heart of the Nissan Energy Home is a vehicle-to-home system. The system charges the connected electric vehicle, which then shares power with the home. This demonstrates Nissan Energy Share by using Nissan’s electric vehicle technology to store, share and repurpose energy.

During the day, when the sun is out, the solar panels generate electric power and forward it to the Nissan LEAF battery pack for charging. The LEAF assumes the role of an energy storage unit while the solar energy is harnessed.

When the sun goes down, the home’s electrical demands are managed by the Nissan LEAF to power lighting, air conditioning, televisions and even cooking appliances. The needs of a typical house can be provided using a small percentage of the battery capacity, leaving plenty of range for driving. The next day, the cycle is repeated.

Connecting with Nissan Energy Supply
Nissan Energy Supply provides connected charging solutions that customers may need at home, on the road and at their destination. Electric vehicle owners typically do the majority of vehicle charging at home, and the Nissan Energy Supply service verifies whether charging equipment, such as electrical sockets, wall boxes or power control systems, can be connected to Nissan electric vehicles safely.

A clean, powerful design
The Nissan Energy Home was designed by the company’s global “space design team,” headed by Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design. Wrapped in wood and clear walls, it expresses both Japanese tradition and modernity, with a sense of nature and sophistication.

Along the flooring and walls, blue illuminated power strips show the flow of energy from the solar panels or the Nissan LEAF battery. The open-air layout, with walking paths to each room, allow guests to move as freely as the energy moving around them.

The future of efficiency, today
The Nissan Energy Home isn’t a distant dream or future; it represents the possibilities of today, using existing technologies. Nissan Energy’s capabilities, whether it’s Nissan Energy Share or Energy Supply, can also be used as part of emergency relief efforts where the established power grid isn’t available.

“The Nissan Energy Home demonstrates the power of Nissan Intelligent Mobility and Nissan Energy, and how they can be integrated into your life – today and tomorrow,” said Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles. “This is merely the first of many demonstrations that our customers and fans will see regarding Nissan Energy, and we welcome them at our gallery in Yokohama.”

Nissan LEAF helps to power facilities with new charging technology

U.S. pilot program leverages energy stored in the Nissan LEAF to help power buildings during peak-load times

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Imagine a technology that could help companies save on their electric utility costs by simply using energy already stored in electric vehicles (EVs). Working with Fermata Energy, a vehicle-to-grid systems company, Nissan North America is launching a new pilot program under the Nissan Energy Share initiative, which leverages bi‑directional EV charging technology to partially power its North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and its design center in San Diego, California.

As the name implies, bi-directional charging technology means not only charging the Nissan LEAF, but also pulling energy stored in the LEAF’s battery pack to partially power external electrical loads, such as buildings and homes.

“As the only vehicle on the market utilizing bi-directional charging, the Nissan LEAF proves exceptionally useful while on the road and also while parked,” said Brian Maragno, director, EV Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America. “As a pioneer in the EV space, we’re thrilled to continue to show new, meaningful technologies that leverage the LEAF’s growing capabilities.”

Ideal for companies with fleet vehicles, the Nissan Energy Share pilot program will continuously monitor a building’s electrical loads, looking for opportunities to periodically draw on the LEAF’s “lower-cost energy” to provide power to the building during more expensive high-demand periods. This constant monitoring, called demand-charge management, could result in significant electricity savings and could offer the secondary benefit of reducing the burden of peak loads on local utilities.

 

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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