Japanese automotive giant Nissan (NASDAQ: NSANY) has partnered with Europe's second largest power company Enel for the innovative Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology, which aims to help save energy and money through Grid Integrated Electric Vehicles.
Recently, the two industry giants have signed an agreement during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The partnership aims to bring businesses and consumers a viable option to help save money whenever they charge their EVs.
The V2G system allows drivers of the future EVs to operate so-called "energy hubs" that will be able to use, store and send off electricity generated from charging to the grid. Energy users will also be able to operate the hubs.
Testing of the Grid Integrated Vehicles is already being conducted. The world's best-selling Nissan LEAFs are undergoing trials in Denmark for the V2G system. It is being done by charging the vehicles at low-demand times.
Extra Energy for the Home and the Electricity Grid
Excess energy generated from the charging process can be used by the driver to power their homes. Although there are no solid figures yet from the trials, the system does have quite the potential for revolutionizing energy use and EVs.
Paul Willcox, Nissan Europe Chairman, said in a press release: "Nissan is the world leader in electric vehicles. We’ve being doing it longer than anyone else, we’ve sold more than anyone else and we’ve got plans for the future that are more credible than anyone else. Our pioneering partnership with ENEL is a perfect example of those plans, taking the car beyond a pure road vehicle, and using it to charge your home or office. It ultimately means that electric vehicles can now become a fully integrated part of our national electricity systems right across Europe."
Willcox added that "sustainable transportation" in the future would need better connections among buildings, utilities, vehicles and renewable energy sources. He claims that the partnership and technology they are using is aimed for an integrated automotive energy eco-system.
The Rise of Electric Vehicles
With the recent Volkswagen CO2 emissions scandal, people could be starting to have doubts on using diesel-powered cars. The high gasoline prices are also discouraging for most car users.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has launched several models for their famed electric vehicle line. However, they are very much expensive, which can repel consumers. Still, the electric vehicles are gaining popularity over time especially in a time where climate change is becoming a pressing issue.
"As the energy and automotive sectors converge, and as we look toward to an ever electric future, the opportunities for enhanced energy management have never been stronger. Vehicle-to-Grid technology represents a step closer to this vision and underscores Nissan’s commitment to the entire EV ecosystem – it goes way beyond driving," said Wilcox.
Once the trials in Denmark are successful, Nissan and Enel would be testing the V2G system in the Netherlands and Germany as well. They are also planning to expand the trials to the rest of Northern Europe.
Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovation Officer at Enel said that they consider the integration of the power industry and electric vehicles to be a "cornerstone" for the bright future of both industries. He said that the there is an overreliance on fossil fuels, which is becoming more scarce as the years go by.
Tackling the Problem of CO2 Emissions
Nissan and Enel's approach tackles not only the problem of wasted energy, but also the emissions as well. Since EVs have little to no CO2 emissions compared to diesel and gasoline-powered cars, the air pollutants are minimized.
However, there are still emissions when such cars are produced in factories. In addition, the emissions from power plants are not really reduced. The V2G system can help by significantly cutting down on emissions over time as the vehicles are used.
"This alliance make it possible to connect the dots: together, Enel and Nissan have all that is needed to bring new services to customers as well as provide them with new ways to use their cars and get returns out of that.V2G is one of the innovations that can improve our life and make the world a better place for all people now and for the generations to come This is well in line with Enel’s Innovation ‘mantra’ looking at creating better climate conditions in the world we live in," said Ciorra.
Support for Electrical Vehicles and Renewable Energy
As the support for renewable energy grows, the V2G technology will help electricity grids to improve their capability in handling renewable power. Nissan and Enel also claim that it will help make green energy more affordable in the long run.
Businesses that use EVs can make use of the hubs to generate more electricity that can be returned to the grid. As more users and businesses use the V2G system, the support for renewable power and EVs may grow exponentially across the globe. However, there has been no announcements on whether Nissan and Enel will test out the system across the globe.
Fuel Station of the Future
Besides the V2G system, the agreement between the two parties also included a joint project for better batteries and a charging station for electric taxi cooperatives.
Nissan is also teaming up with architects Foster + Partners to bring the "Fuel Station of the Future," according to EDIE. In a 3D-animated teaser, a Nissan LEAF was shown to be driving near a sidewalk. A small rectangular part of the sidewalk lights up, which seems to charge the vehicle.
The partnership between Nissan and Foster + Partners was announced in August. There is no ETA on when the future fuel stations will be rolled out or when the concept will come into fruition.
Foster + Partners Head of Design David Nelson said that it is their job to support the change that will come in the future when autonomous cars, artificial intelligence and connectivity will become more integrated.
Nissan seems to be aggressively rolling out their plans for a future where EVs may become mainstream. Google (NASDAQ:FB) and some automakers are already developing their own self-driving electric cars, which could also benefit from the Japanese automaker's V2G system and future fuel stations.