EV income? Nissan on how electric car owners could sell extra power

EV income? Nissan on how electric car owners could sell extra power

Nissan Motor Co. electric vehicles Leaf
Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan Motor Co. has a new potential value proposition for electric cars.

Nissan electric car owners soon could be selling unused power in their vehicles' batteries to the grid, after the auto giant agreed to a groundbreaking deal with utility Endesa this week.

The partnership paves the way for a mass-market vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, with the two companies committed to delivering a low-cost, market-ready system and a business model to leverage the technology.

Nissan and Endesa, a subsidiary of European energy giant Enel, also will explore using "second-life" EV batteries in homes and buildings, as well as to support the grid.

The V2G system consists of an Endesa two-way charger and an energy management system that also can integrate renewable power generation from solar panels and wind turbines.

The equipment enables electric vehicle drivers to connect to charge their battery during low-demand, cheap periods, with an option to then use the electricity stored in the vehicle's battery at home when power costs are higher or sell it back to the grid to produce a net financial benefit.

Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said the two-way charging system represents a "significant development" towards expanding the electric vehicle (EV) market.

"Every Nissan electric vehicle battery contains a power storage capability that will prove useful in contributing towards smarter and responsible management of the power demand and supply of local power grids, thus reducing our EV total cost of ownership," he said. "Not only does this represent an opportunity for Nissan's EV private and fleet owners, it could also support grid stability and fully demonstrate that each Nissan EV represents a tangible social asset."

Nissan can claim to be the world leader in EV sales with more than 160,000 Nissan LEAFs sold across the world. Its EV fleet also includes the e-NV200 electric van, with a seven-seater version launched at this week's Geneva motorshow, joining the two-seater and five-seater Combi models.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Nissan Europe's director of electric vehicles, said the van, which sports a folding second and third row of seats, already has attracted interest from taxi fleets, VIP shuttle services and hotels, as well as private motorists.

"We have always planned to offer a higher seating capacity version of the Nissan e-NV200," he said. "Marketplace demand has meant we have moved this introduction forward by several months to satisfy this need."

Demand for electric vehicles is soaring in both the U.S. and more distant markets, such as the U.K., albeit from a low base — registrations under the U.K. government's plug-in grant scheme, for instance, quadrupled since 2014. The latest figures from the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders show a 340 percent increase in year-to-date sales of eligible cars compared with the same time last year, led by a 1,067 percent rise in sales of plug-in hybrids and a 79 percent increase in pure electric models.

Further growth is expected, with about 40 new ultra-low-emission vehicle models coming onto the market in the next three years.

Manufacturers are also improving existing models: Renault announced this week that its ZOE city car has a "best-in-class" range of 149 miles on a single charge — a 14 percent increase on its earlier model — due to a new lighter and more compact electric motor and an optimised electronic management system.

And new business models are being created. This week marked the launch of the U.K.'s first electric-only car hire company, Electric Car Hire, which has a fleet of electric BMW i3s available to drivers in London and the South East for daily or weekly hire.

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.

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