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Nissan Leaf battery  (Source: gas2.org)
The home charges the Leaf battery, and eventually, the stored electricity in the battery can be used to charge the home in the event of a blackout

Just last month, Nissan was looking for ways to utilize the battery packs inside of its Leaf EV once the vehicle has reached the end of its lifespan. The automaker found that these batteries will still have 80 percent of their original charge capacity once the Leaf is ready to be laid to rest, and with its plans to release seven EV models (in addition to the Leaf) by 2016, that will be a lot of leftover batteries.

Nissan found that using these batteries as energy storage devices made the most sense. In fact, the company kept four old Leaf batteries in a cellar in a Nissan building, and the batteries were hooked up to 488 solar panels on the roof. This allows the batteries to store the energy that these solar panels create, and the power produced is enough to charge 1,800 Leaf vehicles annually.

Now, Nissan is introducing another similar initiative called "Leaf-to-Home," which will use electricity stored in Leaf batteries to be distributed to residential homes and appliances. The new plan serves as a two-way charging system, meaning that the Leaf can be charged as usual, but the Leaf can eventually return the favor by supplying electricity from its battery when there's a local power outage.

The system is currently being tested in Japan, since March's 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused an energy shortage. The Leaf's 24 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery is capable of powering a Japanese home for two days.

An American home, on the other hand, may not benefit quite as much from such a system due to the fact that the average U.S. home uses 908 kWh electricity per month, which equates to 30 kWh per day. According to recent reports, the Leaf battery would barely charge an American household for a day at full charge. However, it could be useful for a local brown-out. 

Nissan hopes to be able to sell a commercial version of the "Leaf-to-Home" next year in Japan.



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RE: Yea that's going to be helpful
By Jedi2155 on 8/3/2011 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
Our ICE cars are typically limited by around a ~ 1.2 kW alternator which care hardly power a single circuit let alone a whole home. The inverter system in an EV works close to 100 kW which is enough to power a whole neighborhood although the charger itself is only going to be a few kW (3-6 typically), but still 3-6 times more than your typical ICE vehicle.


RE: Yea that's going to be helpful
By Spuke on 8/3/2011 3:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Alternators produce DC. How many homes use DC again? Like you would in a hybrid/EV, you would connect an inverter to the cars battery and power from there. RV people have been doing this for years when they need to do some battery charging in a pinch (car battery to inverter to portable battery charger). In this case, you would just connect the inverter straight to your house.


By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2011 4:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I just really didn't feel like explaining power inverters and AC/DC.


RE: Yea that's going to be helpful
By awolfe63 on 8/3/2011 6:20:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually - Alternators produce Alternating Current (AC) - thus the name. Old cars had generators which were DC. Cars do AC/DC conversion to charge the battery.


RE: Yea that's going to be helpful
By Spuke on 8/3/2011 8:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually - Alternators produce Alternating Current (AC) - thus the name.
NO! Alternators in vehicles produce DC current. They are only used to charge batteries which are 12V DC (in vehicles). Boats, RV's (I own one), cars, and trucks. There are NO AC systems in vehicles although some have small inverters to power a receptacle. Look it up, old news, common knowledge ad nauseam.


By kitonne on 8/7/2011 5:51:43 PM , Rating: 2
Pick up a book.... Alternators are AC generators. In vehicles, you have a bunch of diodes converting the AC into DC, built right into the alternator. This allows longer life brushes to be used compared to the old DC generators. Most alternators inside are three phase AC generators, followed by a 6 diode full bridge AC/DC three-phase rectifier. The output voltage is controlled by the RPM and excitation current; most of today's generators are "smart" and control the excitation current using power electronics built into the alternator itself, with the voltage control loop done over a data link and controlled by the PCM or some other electronic module.


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