Nissan Imagines Electric Car as Home Generator and More
You may remember some earlier coverage of the Tokyo Motor Show in which we discussed Toyota’s Fun-Vii. Another interesting car that received a fair amount of attention at the show is Nissan’s Leaf. If you haven’t yet heard of it, the Leaf is a fully electric car (it doesn’t even have a tailpipe) that was launched in 2010. It has an estimated 100-mile range per charge and a top speed of 90 mph.
At the show, Nissan discussed its future plans for the Leaf, which include some advanced engineering to tightly integrate the electric vehicle into a smart home design.
Since its initial launch in Arizona, Southern California, Oregon, Seattle, and Tennessee, the Leaf has recently branched out to new markets. December 11, 2010 marked releases in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Nissan hopes to offer the release in every state by March 2012.
Nissan isn’t finished with the Leaf after launch. The company plans on continuing to support and upgrade the vehicle with a product line devoted to the Leaf. The first offering is a wireless electromagnetic induction recharging pad. Beginning with vehicles made in 2013, the Leaf can be recharged by simply parking over the pad.
Even more interesting are Nissan’s plans to use the Leaf as an emergency generator. The Leaf can provide up to 6kW of power, which was enough to power lights, fan, TV, clock, mini fridge and an air conditioner as a demonstration. The company also introduced a Smart House that works in an almost symbiotic relationship with the Leaf.
Solar mounted panels on the roof of the Smart House can gather energy which can be used to recharge the Leaf. Nissan has hinted they may even allow for excess energy to bleed off into the local grid, making the Smart House and Leaf combo even more green than either technology on its own.
Check out the following video of consumer reactions to driving the Leaf.