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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, TN, and its design center in San Diego, CA.


Nissan Using Vehicle To Grid Technology To Power US Operations

Nissan is testing its V2G technology at its factory in Tennessee and its design studio in San Diego. Is V2G the key to the survival of CHAdeMO?

CleanTechnica contributor Maximilian Holland wrote recently about how the CCS charging standard seems to be supplanting CHAdeMO as the EV charging technology of choice for most car companies. While his argument for CCS is cogent, it overlooks one aspect of CHAdeMO that CCS doesn’t offer, at least not yet — using the battery in an electric vehicle as a storage battery for homes and businesses through vehicle to grid technology.

Image courtesy Nissan

Nissan is one of the biggest advocates for the CHAdeMO standard and a major supporter of V2G technology. It recently won approval from German regulators to trial its V2G system in that country. Now it says it will use V2G to partially power its factory in Franklin, Tennessee and its design center in San Diego.

“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,” says Brian Maragno, director for EV sales and marketing at 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.” The latest version of the Nissan LEAF is one of the few electric cars on the market that supports vehicle to grid technology.

V2G turns the battery in an electric vehicle into an energy storage device. Each individual battery may have little effect on the electrical grid, but hundreds or even thousands of them networked together could allow utility companies to draw on them during periods of peak demand. That could save the utilities a lot of money if they don’t have to activate a so-called peaker plant to meet demand.

Our own Kyle Field says V2G could be perfect for electric school buses, which spend most of the day parked and waiting for school children to transport. Think of the energy that could be stored in all those yellow vehicles and how it might be cheaper to tap into it rather than building dedicated fixed battery storage facilities.

Nissan says V2G is ideal for fleet operators. Its “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.”

It can also put money in the pocket of car owners. In a recent experiment in Europe, participants got paid about $1,500 for the excess energy they put back into the grid over the course of a year. Nissan is also piloting battery recycling programs and repurposing old EV batteries for use in fixed energy storage systems.

“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,” says Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing and sales. “Our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision calls for changing how cars are integrated with society, and Nissan Energy turns that vision into reality.”

There is great debate among battery manufacturers and car companies about whether V2G degrades the batteries in electric vehicles. Tesla says it wants nothing to do with the idea; Nissan says its test programs show no decrease in battery life. I for one would love it if my 2015 Nissan LEAF could serve as a backup power source for my home so I could do away with my old gasoline powered generator. What we don’t know at this time is how much a V2G charging system costs compared to a conventional uni-directional charger.

If CHAdeMO survives the challenge from CCS and Tesla, its V2G capability may be the reason why.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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