August 8, 2011
Makers of the all-electric Nissan LEAF are finding it’s useful on more than just the highway. Nissan is testing the car as a source of emergency power for homes during a power outage. Nissan unveiled what is called a ‘LEAF to Home’ system which enables the LEAF’s batteries to supply electricity to households in the event of an outage or back to the local electrical grid. It’s currently installed at a model home in front of the Nissan world headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.
The system uses the LEAF charging station to draw from the car batteries and feed into the home’s electricity distribution panel. The energy storage in a LEAF is enough to power an average Japanese home for about two days. Japanese homes use about half the amount of energy as the average home in the U.S.
The automaker plans to commercialize the two-way charging system in Japan within a year. It could be available in other countries after it’s been adapted to local electricity systems. Nissan says the system will allow households to be supplied with a stable amount of electricity throughout the day and reduce the burden on the current power supply by charging or storing electricity in the LEAF with energy generated at night.