With Nissan testing out its “Vehicle-To-Building” power system, at least we will all rest well knowing the answer to the age-old riddle “How many Nissan Leaf vehicles does it take to power an office building?” The answer, according to the Japanese car manufacturer, is a tidy half-dozen. Nissan has carried out a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work.
In this proposal, the building pulls electricity from the cars during the peak-use hours when power is most expensive, and then shoots back some power when the grid prices drop. Nissan says the system is set up to ensure the cars are fully charged by the end of the workday (leaving work early may be a problem here. Sneaky, Nissan). The company started testing out the system at its Nissan Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City, Japan, in July, and found that 6 units of its best-selling Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicles will allow the building to cut peak-hour electricity use by 2.5 percent. Annualized, that means savings of about a half-million yen (about $4,800 US) in electricity costs.
Nissan is also working on a “Leaf-to-Home” power-backup system, in which the car can be used as a residential-power backup source in order to reduce peak hour use and provide power in a blackout. That system was first unveiled in the summer of 2011 at a house built in front of Nissan’s global headquarters. The system encourages Nissan LEAF owners to charge their cars with electricity generated during the night, when demand is low, or sourced from solar panels. This balances out energy needs by supplying electricity to your home during daytime, when demand is highest. According to Nissan, cumulative sales of the Nissan LEAF have now passed 87,000 units, making it currently the best-selling electric vehicle in history.