Nissan LEAF Powers Up Automaker’s U.S. Headquarters

NOV 29 2018 BY MARK KANE 19

Nissan presents bi-directional energy transfer, but will it pay off?

Nissan launches in the U.S. a new Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) pilot program under the Nissan Energy banner, which concerns three areas: Nissan Energy Supply, Nissan Energy Share and Nissan Energy Storage.

Together with Fermata Energy (a vehicle-to-grid systems company), Nissan will install bi-directional CHAdeMO chargers for Nissan LEAFs at its headquarters in Franklin, TN, and its design center in San Diego, CA.

The main idea is to help power buildings during peak-load times, reducing costly demand charges.

“As the name implies, bi-directional charging technology means not only charging the Nissan LEAF, but also pulling energy stored in the LEAF’s battery pack to partially power external electrical loads, such as buildings and homes.”

“Ideal for companies with fleet vehicles, the Nissan 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.The Nissan Energy Share pilot program using Nissan LEAFs will serve as a test of both technology and business viability as Nissan and Fermata Energy investigate the outcome for possible commercialization.”

Brian Maragno, Director, EV Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America said:

“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. As a pioneer in the EV space, we’re thrilled to continue to show new, meaningful technologies that leverage the LEAF’s growing capabilities.”

If the V2G is not enough, Nissan has also a second-life battery project on its mind with old Nissan LEAF packs.

“Nissan also has a number of other “second-life battery” initiatives for Nissan LEAF batteries, including installing second-life LEAF batteries at its North American facilities along with investigating new recycling methods for lithium ion batteries. Leading the industry, Nissan has also received certification for second-life LEAF batteries to be used in stationary energy storage.Under the global plan, called Nissan Energy, owners of Nissan’s electric vehicles will be able to easily connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses or feed energy back to power grids. The company will also develop new ways to reuse electric car batteries.”

The Japanese manufacturer intends to expand the usability of cars to much more than just driving and already developed an “ecosystem” around EVs. Ability to store energy in electric cars and bi-directional energy transfer offers:

  • Vehicle to Home / Vehicle to Building / Vehicle to Grid systems
  • improve solar electricity generation
  • peak demand shaving
  • emergency backup
  • grid balance

Nissan to create electric vehicle ‘ecosystem’

Most recently, Nissan unveiled in Japan a Nissan Energy Home concept that demonstrates how Nissan LEAF with bi-directional charging can become “personal power grid”.

“Located in the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, the demonstration house features solar panels and a Nissan LEAF electric car that provides power from its battery pack. The Nissan Energy Home allows guests to learn about Nissan Energy, the company’s vision for connecting homes, cars and power grids, which was announced today.

Nissan Energy envisions a connected world where new developments in battery usage and power generation enable homes and vehicles to better harness energy and to power each other. This is a key aspect of Nissan Intelligent Integration – a pillar of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.

Nissan Energy Share – combining power generation

At the heart of the Nissan Energy Home is a vehicle-to-home system. The system charges the connected electric vehicle, which then shares power with the home. This demonstrates Nissan Energy Share by using Nissan’s electric vehicle technology to store, share and repurpose energy.

During the day, when the sun is out, the solar panels generate electric power and forward it to the Nissan LEAF battery pack for charging. The LEAF assumes the role of an energy storage unit while the solar energy is harnessed.

When the sun goes down, the home’s electrical demands are managed by the Nissan LEAF to power lighting, air conditioning, televisions and even cooking appliances. The needs of a typical house can be provided using a small percentage of the battery capacity, leaving plenty of range for driving. The next day, the cycle is repeated.

Connecting with Nissan Energy Supply

Nissan Energy Supply provides connected charging solutions that customers may need at home, on the road and at their destination. Electric vehicle owners typically do the majority of vehicle charging at home, and the Nissan Energy Supply service verifies whether charging equipment, such as electrical sockets, wall boxes or power control systems, can be connected to Nissan electric vehicles safely.

A clean, powerful design

The Nissan Energy Home was designed by the company’s global “space design team,” headed by Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design. Wrapped in wood and clear walls, it expresses both Japanese tradition and modernity, with a sense of nature and sophistication.

Along the flooring and walls, blue illuminated power strips show the flow of energy from the solar panels or the Nissan LEAF battery. The open-air layout, with walking paths to each room, allow guests to move as freely as the energy moving around them.

The future of efficiency, today

The Nissan Energy Home isn’t a distant dream or future; it represents the possibilities of today, using existing technologies. Nissan Energy’s capabilities, whether it’s Nissan Energy Share or Energy Supply, can also be used as part of emergency relief efforts where the established power grid isn’t available.

“The Nissan Energy Home demonstrates the power of Nissan Intelligent Mobility and Nissan Energy, and how they can be integrated into your life – today and tomorrow,” said Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles. “This is merely the first of many demonstrations that our customers and fans will see regarding Nissan Energy, and we welcome them at our gallery in Yokohama.””

Nissan LEAF at Nissan Energy Home
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Nissan LEAF at Nissan Energy Home Nissan LEAF at Nissan Energy Home Nissan LEAF at Nissan Energy Home Nissan LEAF at Nissan Energy Home

Press blast about the ecosystem:

Nissan to create electric vehicle ‘ecosystem’

Nissan Energy vision connects electric cars with homes, businesses and power grids; develops new ways to reuse batteries

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan has created a vision to make electric vehicles even more useful to customers by introducing new convenient ways to utilize their batteries’ ability to store and share energy.

Under the plan, called Nissan Energy, owners of Nissan’s electric vehicles will be able to easily connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses or feed energy back to power grids. The company will also develop new ways to reuse electric car batteries.

Nissan has already begun programs in the U.S., Japan and Europe aimed at creating an “ecosystem” around its range of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric car. Nissan Energy brings these initiatives together as part of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy.

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

Nissan Energy will establish new standards for connecting vehicles to energy systems through three key initiatives:

Nissan Energy Supply, Nissan Energy Share and Nissan Energy Storage.
High-profile Nissan Energy initiatives extend to a variety of locations, including Nissan’s North American headquarters:

  • Franklin, Tennessee: Nissan North America will be piloting the use of LEAF vehicles to assist in powering its headquarters facilities during peak electrical demand times,  anticipating significant cost savings
  • Hagen, Germany: LEAF vehicles will be used as a reserve for the German electricity grid, in an innovative pilot project involving Nissan, technology company The Mobility House, energy supplier ENERVIE and transmission system operator Amprion
  • Japan: Nissan is working with partners such as electric and telecom companies, conducting field tests of vehicle-to-grid and virtual power plant systems to confirm and promote opportunities for electric vehicles to assist with managing energy

Nissan Energy Supply: Providing the connected charging solutions customers need at home, on the road and at their destination
Customers want to charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient, and the majority of charging takes place at home. Nissan’s efforts to assist customers includes verifying whether charging equipment, such as electrical sockets or wall boxes, can be connected to Nissan electric vehicles safely (market-dependent).

Away from home, customers can make use of the fast-growing CHAdeMO charging network – one of the world’s largest, with more than 22,000 quick-charging points globally.

Finding charging locations and hooking into the network – allowing Nissan Energy Supply to come alive – is made possible through the revised LEAF navigation system and easily available NissanConnect app.

Nissan Energy Share: Working with partners to harness energy integration potential
The batteries in an electric car can do more than just power the vehicle; they can also serve as mobile energy storage devices. Nissan vehicles already on the road contain more than 10 GWh of combined storage potential. Nissan Energy Share capabilities connect the vehicles with society’s infrastructure to allow them to share their high-capacity battery power with a connected home or building. They also allow the cars to link to the local energy grid to act as virtual power plants – supplying the vehicle’s power to the grid and contributing to efficient energy management. Thanks to these capabilities, customers will be able to share spare battery capacity without compromising their mobility.

Nissan has already carried out Energy Share pilot programs in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other markets, collaborating with several companies and organizations. Once the pilot tests are completed, Nissan will be ready to rapidly commercialize the systems.

  • Vehicle-to-home (V2H): Nissan is working with partners to bring inexpensive equipment to the market to popularize V2H. Using V2H, owners of Nissan electric vehicles can use their cars as a power source for the household to save money on electricity bills, or as backup power during blackouts or emergencies. This allows the usage of renewable energy when available, or when electricity is cheaper.
  • Vehicle-to-building (V2B): Similar to V2H, V2B makes use of electric vehicle batteries to store energy for buildings and businesses. However, a V2B system can involve hundreds of vehicles to realize major cost savings for a company. Full-scale trials of V2B systems have already started in many countries, and Nissan has been working with partners with the aim of bringing the systems to market in 2019.
  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G): Nissan has formed partnerships with utility companies and governments to harness V2G capabilities. In trials in Europe, Nissan cars are providing multiple services to the electricity grid – helping balance energy networks and incorporate renewable energy. Working with partners, Nissan is piloting ways to let customers earn additional income by sharing energy from their vehicles when they are not being otherwise used, without affecting the customer’s mobility needs or the health of the vehicles.

Nissan Energy Storage: Providing a “second life” to an electric vehicle’s battery
The life of a Nissan electric vehicle’s battery isn’t over after it has finished powering the car. The battery can be recycled and refurbished for a number of different uses – from powering electric forklifts and generators to supplying energy to a sports arena. As more and more customers switch to electric cars, the availability of used lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase significantly as owners replace their vehicles.

These are some of the Nissan Energy Storage programs to date:

  • Japan: In 2010, Nissan joined forces with Sumitomo Corp. to establish 4R Energy Corp., which repurposes lithium-ion batteries from electric cars for new uses. The first 4R Energy plant opened its doors in March 2018. By using the battery-refabricating capabilities of 4R Energy Corp., Nissan is able to reuse batteries for EV applications, store energy or power heavy equipment, among other uses.
  • Europe: Nissan has been reusing electric vehicle batteries as part of an advanced home power solution. In the U.K, the company has combined that energy storage with advanced solar panels. In June, Nissan inaugurated Europe’s biggest energy storage system at Holland’s Johan Cruyff Arena. Powered by 148 Nissan LEAF batteries, the system operates independently from the main power grid.
  • South America: Nissan Brazil and the Federal University of Santa Catarina have signed a memorandum of intent to test solutions and future applications for used EV batteries.

“Nissan now offers customers a true EV ecosystem with Nissan Energy,” said Schillaci. “This is what we feel is the “new standard for electrification’ – it’s not just about owning a vehicle but taking advantage of all the associated benefits, for the customer and society overall.”

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19 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Powers Up Automaker’s U.S. Headquarters"

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This may be good to some but come on Nissan show us the LR 60 kW Leaf.

Yes, V2G makes more sense with bigger battery.

Bigger AND longer lasting.

Not so fast. Every charge/discharge cycle ages your battery pack. So the cost savings for building owners and utilities may end up being a cost burden to the vehicle owners whose packs may have to be replaced sooner rather than they otherwise would have.

This really depends on the depth of discharge and the rate of charge/discharge. All EVs have regen braking, which is basically hundreds of small charge cycles every time you drive.

It’s disingenuous to treat regenerative braking as charge cycles. For all intents and purposes, we very narrowly define what a charge cycle actually means. Not sure why Paul K was downvoted so much. While most EV batteries will last in excess of half a million miles, it’s a factual reality that Level 3 charging (and hence sustained levels of similar discharge, i.e., 50-150kW) degrades battery capacity faster than L2 charging or daily driving. An informed EV driver should have every right to be leery of allowing their vehicle to be charged/discharged at those rates — especially for public/commercial infrastructure use.

So the vehicle owner must be able to set a limit on the discharge rate. I doubt that Nissan’s V2G takes place through an expensive DC fast charger, so the discharge is probably limited to AC charging rate which seems to be only 6 kW for the Leaf. If a car battery is degraded by a few hours of 10 horsepower discharge, normal driving would ruin it!

If your car is mostly at home, it’s a waste of money to buy a puny Powerwall as well as its mighty battery pack. And V2G at large business parking lots is a no-brainer: in exchange for free charging, employees’ cars participate in peak shaving. If it avoids a fossil fuel plant burning carbon I think most EV owners would participate since that’s why they bought a plug-in.

I really hope CCS will allow V2G, again probably through the cheaper lower-power AC connection.

A house typically pulls 10kW at most at the peak hours. During the rest of the day, it evens out at around 200W-500W only, so the battery would have much less strain than while the car is driven. If a house consumes 500kWh a month, this averages 16kWh a day, much less than a deep discharge for most cars around and the car doesn’t even need to support most of the power of the house, only during the peak hours. Even if the battery suffers some extra aging, most people replace their cars before they could see any degradation or sometimes total their cars in accidents or other degradations or abuses.

Sure for a house that you own V2G makes sense. It would be stupid to power a building you don’t own, however.

A home version for backup power would be excellent, like they have in Japan. Really need the larger battery capacity version as well to make this viable.

Anyone know if CCS can do this? Or Tesla? Using an EV as a home backup UPS would be a nice side benefit.

Tesla is anti-V2G and -V2H. They prefer you pay $15k+ to install a couple of Powerwalls.

As battery cycle life improves and EVs become more prevalent, it’s a no brainier to use them to stabilize a greener grid. You don’t even need V2G. Variable charging gets you 90% of the way there.

Pretty sure CCS does not have bi-directional capabilities right now.

Because electrons can only run one way through a CCS plug?

From what I understand CCS is a standard. That standard doesn’t include the capability for vehicle-to-grid. The standard basically describes the handshakes necessary between a charger and a car, and the flow of power from the charger to the car – not the other way around. That’s not to say that the standard couldn’t be revised, but then you’d end up with hardware that is already in the field that only supports the older standard.

It doesn’t matter because we have this situation with CHAdeMO anyway. While the Nissan Leaf supports it, there are no power walls supporting it available in the US market. It is enough to write the standard and a manufacturer offer the car with V2G as an option bundled with a power wall.

As interesting as this seems, CHAdeMO is looking more and more like a dead end. Is anyone besides Nissan using it anymore? Kia just switched to CCS charging standard with the Soul and Niro EV’s. I believe that CHAdeMO is going to be the Betamax (or HD-DVD) of charging standards.

Mitsubishi also uses it. There are conversion kits for the Tesla Roadster and the Toyota RAV4 EV available in the US and the official Tesla adapter for the Model S, X and 3. CHAdeMO is a much simpler standard than CCS, so it is easy to make aftermarket accessories using it and I heard that the CCS committee even forbids kits or adapters. Besides, some automakers selling in Japan also switch to CHAdeMO, so the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen e-Golf sold there also have CHAdeMO charging ports.

Still nothing more than a toy. Until I can match the range of other competitors like the Kona and the bolt not to mention the Tesla. It’s nothing more than a overpriced commuter car

Why would I let you trash my battery to power your headquarters?