Nissan LEAF Powers Nissan’s Advanced Technology Center in Japan

DEC 1 2013 BY MARK KANE 12

A 2013 Nissan LEAF Demonstrates A Little V2G This Summer

A 2013 Nissan LEAF With LEAF-To-Home

Nissan is not slowing down in terms of developing additional functions for electric cars.

After introducing a 6 kW bi-directional LEAF-To-Home system in Japan last year, the Japanese company is now working on something that will enable powering larger buildings.

Meet “Vehicle-To-Building”, which has been tested in stealth mode since July at the Nissan Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City, Japan.

Nissan’s latest solutions allows the powering of a building from up to six LEAFs at the same time to lower electricity bills:

“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. “Vehicle-To-Building” allows up to six Nissan LEAFs to be connected to a building’s power distribution board. Charging is phased during the day so at peak hours, when electricity is most expensive, the building draws power from the cars. When electricity is cheaper it flows the other way. The system ensures the Nissan LEAFs are fully charged by the end of the working day for their owners to drive home.

According to Nissan, the Nissan Advanced Technology Center facility benefited from a reduction of 25.6KW during peak summer periods.

How does this translate into savings? Nissan said that based on current Tokyo Electric Power Company’s rates, Vehicle-To-Building led to about 2.5-percent reduction of electrical power use during peak hours, which translates to nearly 500,000 Yen (~$5,000) per year in electrical power cost.

$5,000 annually isn’t much , because first the facility owner must build the Vehicle-To-Building infrastructure, which easily could cost several times more. And then there must be enough number of LEAF drivers, which can not come to work too discharged. Finally, car owners would like to have some share in savings because they allow the use their batteries. And what if car or battery is leased?

We think there are still far too many questions about the viability of this setup, especially if Nissan plans to further test and refine its “Vehicle-To-Building” system.

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12 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Powers Nissan’s Advanced Technology Center in Japan"

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Hmmm.. I wouldn’t want my battery being cycled for any other reason besides driving the car. After all, the battery has a limited lifespan.

Besides, I’ve never understood the the whole “power your home with your Leaf” concept because what good does that do? Once your car runs out of power then you still have no power for your home and now you have no transportation either. The idea that makes the most sense would be using a Chevy Volt to power your home from the gasoline generator.

On average, regional blackouts last only a few minutes and in very rare conditions, a few hours, that’s where battery backups can help you and cars may even reduce costs, for example if you can downsize your server UPS with the assistance of the Leaf at home systems and workers don’t need to interrupt their work during short blackouts.

“regional blackouts last only a few minutes and in very rare conditions, a few hours”

Most households can handle that. It is those that are out for days that people worry about.

When it is weather related blackouts, they can last for days…

To me, this makes sense in the long run. You sell power, when demand is high and buy it back, when cheap. You save money and the utility has a more stable grid with a lesser need of backup generation. Once this has become the new normal and everybody is in, everybody wins.

That is what water pump storages are doing since 100 years, but they are so big and the systems have a lifetime of several decades, they can operate with small differences between buying price and selling price.
Chemical batteries will never be able to compete with them, just because of their limited lifetime.

Battery system are just good enough to bridge shorter blackouts.

Exactly, it’s another mechanism to smooth out demand peaks.

Rather than vehicle-to-home, the focus should be on vehicle-to-grid. Utilities should pay for it, just like they pay rooftop solar owners.

The ideal application would allow the utility to both charge and discharge power between charge limits set by the owner (say, 30% and 90%). This should minimize damage to battery life.

The societal benefit – not having to build more power plants just to satisfy peak demand – far outweighs the moderate erosion of battery life.

Forgot to add: vehicle-to-grid has 2 huge advantages over water-reservoir storage:

1. while the overall capacity of water-reservoir storage is limited to a couple percents of total power, if the vehicle fleet becomes EV-dominated, the combined capacity of all batteries will be much larger.

2. With water storage, you cannot “flow” electrical power back to the system, you only shift demand. With EVs, you both shift demand *and* function as a distributed power supply.

You are underestimate water-reservoir storages. Japan has a lot of high mountains and lot of rain, so very good conditions to build storages. Japan has 25,000 MW generation capacity, that will require a lot of Leafs…

Yeah Dan, This looks like Serious Wishful Thinking. 6 Nissan Leafs have a theoretical 144 kwh of energy inside them… The thing that totally kills this is ‘high demand’ over time. Lets say the Absolute Maximum amount of juice that can be drawn from the Leafs is 40 kwh. This means like 8 kw demand shaving over 5 hours (the cars are only gonna be there 8 or 9). I’m also assuming 100% efficiency which is nonsense, you’d probably have to figure under 90% to be realistic. Ok now we’ve discharged all these cars.. We have 3 hours to put the juice back in. Unfortunately, since the employees work the day shift the cars still have to be recharged with the DAY RATE electricity rates. And with the same high load returning, we’ve INCREASED the company’s demand charges, not decreased them. Plus generating alot of waste heat (mostly at the batteries themselves) due to all this needless discharging and charging. Plus degrading the life of the batteries by using another full discharge- charge cycle. (My Tesla Roadster has only 1 or 2 discharge-charge cycles per week – so if it was implemented on my car the battery life was shortened… Read more »
I don’t have the efficiency numbers for Nissan, but if Tesla’s Roadsters were substituted, the efficiency would be horrible. At the most efficient charging rate, my Roadster needs 65 kwh to recharge about 44 kwh of use (It was 50 kwh, but then the battery heating and inverter inefficiencies left only 44 kwh really available). And this is recharging during the cold winter time when the air conditioning compressor and condenser fans are not needed to charge the battery. This increases the amount of juice required to 70 kwh at the optimal charge rate of 30-40 amps. Of course, if the default 70 amp charge rate is chosen, then 75-80 kwh will be needed in the summertime, since the airconditioner in the car must run FULL TIME to recharge the batteries. So 80 kwh recharge to use 44 kwh of energy? You’ve got to want that 44 kwh pretty badly. The ‘cyclic’ battery efficiency using my Roadster as an example is 55% in the summertime at the standard charge rate of 70 amps. I assume the Nissan Leaf is more efficient than this, but hopefully readers see the problem involved. On these articles you’ll notice there are just Grand, Sweeping… Read more »

If there is an advantage to this, keep in mind that Japan is really a Special Case.

Japanese electric rates were around 25 cents/kwh prior to the Fukushima (ongoing) Disaster. Supposedly rates have increased another 30% since now they are short 52 full nuclear plants, and have to supplant with Coal, Oil and Liquified Natural Gas (costing 4-5 times what it does in the states since refrigerating natural gas down to a liquid is pricey).\

The country is desparately short of electricity. No times were given in the article, but if demand rates are sky high at certain parts of the day, and the Leaf’s are ‘dedicated’ (i.e. never removed since they are “research vehciles”), I’ll grant that recharging them at 3 a.m. may save a bit of money, especially if the research department gets all its replacement batteries for the cars for FREE from another Nissan dept.).

And they will need new batteries. From PlugInAmerica’s Tesla Roadster Survey, there was one German who drove his roadster 100,000 miles. Except now he only has 60 miles of range (from the initial 244) since his 2 year old battery is now SHOT.

This thing would work if the car is leased or if the battery is leased.

I wonder how the capacity warranty of Nissan would impact how this is implemented…

Also, maybe the $100/month battery lease isn’t bad if I can generate enough money from the peak power differential.