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Nissan partners to trial way for Leaf owners to sell excess energy to the grid, and unveils a home energy storage unit for backup

Nissan has announced a trial of a vehicle to grid trial and unveiled a home energy storage solution to complement its Nissan Leaf vehicles, plus other developments designed at an announcement event in London yesterday, ‘to push the future of mobility debate beyond the automotive industry’.

Highlighting its ‘Intelligent Mobility’ vision - as announced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year that pursues a goal of zero emission vehicles and zero fatalities on the road - the company underlined how its interpretation of the concept will be used to guide its product and technology pipeline.

Intelligent Mobility will, it said, anchor “critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society”.

A series of unveilings concerning electric vehicles and battery technologies included a major vehicle-to-grid trial, a new residential energy storage system called xStorage, plus an announcement that the company will integrate a V2G technology and energy storage solutions into all of its major European offices by the end of 2017.

Nissan also announced, three years after it introduced electric vehicle and battery manufacturing to Europe, that the 50,000th European-built Nissan LEAF has rolled off the production line at its Sunderland Plant.



Trial of 100 vehicle-to-grid units will commence in the UK later this year

Nissan and multinational power company Enel, confirmed plans to launch a major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial – claimed as the first ever carried out in the UK.

The trial will work by installing and connecting one hundred V2G units at locations agreed by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. Nissan electric vehicle owners will then be able to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, and sell excess stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid.

Nissan said this ‘heralds an exciting era for energy management in the UK’, as not only will electric vehicle owners be able to play an active role in grid stability, providing an alternate source of income, but also help revolutionise how energy is supplied to the grid.

Nissan added that once scaled up, the V2G technology could become a game-changer for owners of a Nissan EV in the UK as they become fully fledged and active participants in the UK energy market.  

Paul Willcox, Chairman of Nissan Europe said, ”Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources. We see Nissan electric vehicles as being the mobile energy hubs of the future, pioneering a self-sustaining energy infrastructure that will help solve the capacity issues of the future.”

“This is the first time this has ever been done in the UK and by enabling customers to sell energy back to the grid, we’re providing a financial incentive to choose the sustainable option.”

Nissan said the trial his endeavour is part of Enel and Nissan’s commitment to support the entire EV ecosystem, going beyond the car itself and delivering new services to the energy industry.  Moreover, there will be an increasing number of EVs on the roads across Europe in the future and it is vital that V2G technology is rolled out to ensure the grid can satisfy the demands made upon it for increased energy.

Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability, said “The installation of our innovative two-way charging technology will encourage the integration of non-programmable renewable energy flow into the grid and will help the spread of electric mobility in the country, benefitting the energy sector and the environment, while also having a positive impact on electric owners’ wallets.” 

Industry projections show that by 2050 there might be twice as many cars on the road as today - a staggering 2.4 billion. Delivering and managing that growth in a way that is sustainable for the world, requires smart thinking.

Steven Holliday, Non-Executive Director, National Grid, said: “The rapid uptake of Electric Vehicles is certainly positive yet could also be challenging if we don’t plan ahead to understand precisely what effect this new technology will have on the electricity system. Our Future Energy team predict that there could be up to 700,000 Electric Vehicles in 2020 requiring an extra 500MW of energy. That’s why we support innovative technologies and pioneering projects such as this one that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we manage energy supply and demand.”

Nissan stated that if all 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent output of a 180 MW power plant. If that was scaled up in a future where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, vehicle-to-grid technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370 GW. This energy capacity would be enough to power the UK, Germany and France.

The system works by allowing Nissan EV owners to connect to the grid to charge at low-demand, cheap tariff periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at home and at work when costs are higher, or even feed back to the grid which could generate additional revenue for the EV owner.

Yesterday’s announcement follows the signing of a partnership agreement between Nissan and Enel in Paris in December 2015 during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) to trial V2G technology in Europe. A trial comprising 40 V2G units began in Denmark in January 2016.


Nissan and Eaton make home energy storage reliable and affordable to everyone with ‘xStorage

Nissan has partnered with power management company Eaton, to offer a residential energy storage unit. Available to pre-order from September 2016, the ‘xStorage’ solution will give consumers the power to control how and when they use energy in their own homes.

Designed to be the most reliable and affordable energy storage system in the market, the unity will help consumers avoid expensive energy tariff periods.

Connected to residential power supply or renewable energy sources such as solar panels, the unit can save customers money on their utility bills by charging up when renewable energy is available or energy is cheaper (e.g. during the night) and releasing that stored energy when demand and costs are high. If a home is equipped with solar technology, this means that consumers can power their homes using clean energy stored in their xStorage system, and be rewarded financially for doing so by avoiding expensive daytime energy tariffs.

The home energy storage system also provides a back-up solution to consumers, ensuring that the lights never go out – ideal at a time when energy grids are coming under enormous strain. Moreover, customers can also generate additional revenues by selling stored energy back to the grid when demand and costs are high.

It will also have smartphone connectivity to allow consumers to flick between energy sources at the touch of a button.

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe said: “The new xStorage solution combines Nissan’s expertise in vehicle design and reliable battery technology with Eaton’s leadership in power quality and electronics, resulting in a formidable second life battery solution. We want to make energy storage exciting and affordable to everyone, not least because it delivers real consumer benefits whilst ensuring smarter and more sustainable energy management for the grid.”

Providing a sustainable ‘second life’ for Nissan’s electric vehicle (EV) batteries after their first life in cars is over, the new unit is powered by twelve Nissan EV battery modules and, According to Nissan has the potential to revolutionise the way people manage energy usage in their own home, providing added flexibility and multiple cost savings. 

The ready-to-use units were developed in collaboration with Eaton and designed in the UK at Nissan Design Europe in London. Starting at €4,000 (£3200) for 4.2KWh nominal unity, sales are forecasts to exceed 100,000 xStorage units within the next five years.


Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and Tesla also offering home energy storage

Separately, Daimler entered into the business with stationary battery storage with Deutsche Accumotive last year. In March 2016 it announced an investment of around 500 million Euros in the construction of a new battery factory. This will lead to a significant expansion of the production capacities for lithium-ion batteries of Deutsche Accumotive located in the Saxon city of Kamenz.

Mercedes-Benz energy storage units for private households can already be ordered and will soon be installed at customers in collaboration with selected sales partners. In the area of industrial applications, around 29 megawatt will be connected to the network jointly with different partners.

Tesla’s Powerwall, announced last April, has a 6.4 kWh energy storage capacity, claimed as sufficient to power most homes during the evening using electricity generated by solar panels during the day.

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