Vehicle-to-grid tech in the new Nissan Leaf

As more drivers switch to electric there’s a worry for national power grids that they won’t be able to keep up with demand at peak times.  Nissan believes that EVs could provide a solution and have developed technology that allows grids to take power from plugged-in cars when demand for electricity spikes and use it to power homes.  Don’t worry about the car being empty when you need to use it, you can program the new Leaf to protect your driving range so it has the range when you need it.  The new Leaf will take 5.5 hours to fully charge (on a 7kW fast charger) and deliver a real world range of about 200 miles.  So at 50% charge it will still take you further than most Leafs can today.

Nissan started trialling their vehicle-2-grid (V2G) technology in 2016 in Denmark with business users who have sold spare capacity back to the grid whilst the cars have been sat charging all day in their office car-parks.  Nissan estimate that 20,000 of their EV batteries could store the equivalent of a 200MW power plant and power a town of 200,000 houses.

In the UK Nissan has linked up with OVO Energy and will launch a V2G scheme with the new Leaf in January 2018.  OVO will offer special tariffs to participants to incentivise take-up, although there are no details available yet.

Sounds utopic but there are still some challenges for the V2G technology – the cost of the converters for example and testing is being carried out to measure the impact of drawing electricity from the battery on its lifespan.  The national grid companies will need to invest in their infrastructure to manage the electricity coming in from EVs and changes will be necessary to energy regulations too, although the UK government has been ahead of the game on developing new energy solutions.

Nissan are keen to revolutionise the way we view our family car – it’s no longer just about mobility.  It’s now about it becoming part of our home’s smart ecosystem, working in harmony with our lives and the environments we live in.