Working with Fermata Energy, a vehicle-to-grid systems company, Nissan North America is launching a new pilot programme under the Nissan Energy Share initiative, which leverages bi-directional EV charging technology to partially power its North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and its design centre in San Diego, California.

As the name implies, bi-directional charging technology means not only charging the automaker’s Leaf EV, but also using energy stored in the car’s battery pack to partially power external electrical loads, such as buildings and homes.

“As the only vehicle on the market utilising bi-directional charging, the Leaf proves exceptionally useful while on the road and also while parked,” said Brian Maragno, Director, EV sales and marketing, Nissan North America. “As a pioneer in the EV space, we’re thrilled to continue to show new, meaningful technologies that leverage the Leaf’s growing capabilities.”

Ideal for companies with fleet vehicles, the energy share pilot will continuously monitor a building’s electrical loads, looking for opportunities to periodically draw on the EVs’ ‘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 pilot programmewill serve as a test of both technology and business viability as the two companies investigate the outcome for possible commercialisation.  

Nissan also has a number of other “second-life battery” initiatives for EV batteries, including installing them at its North American facilities along with investigating new recycling methods for lithium ion batteries.

Claiming to leading the industry, the automaker has also received certification for second-life batteries to be used in stationary energy storage.

Under the global plan, called Nissan Energy, owners of EVs 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 programmes in the US, Japan and Europe aimed at creating an ecosystem around its range of electric vehicles.