Nissan is bringing shared power


Nissan, in partnership with the uYilo e-Mobility programme, is to demonstrate its new technology. It allows power stored in electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF, to be used in a range of home and commercial applications.

The world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF – the only commercial electric vehicle used for bi-directional energy transfer capability – is being used in a uYilo field test programme. It demonstrates and develops Nissan’s award-winning charger technology in South Africa. Upon implemetation LEAF owners can use the vehicle’s battery capacity in a variety of ways, in addition to driving.

Generating electricity for more than just driving

The technology comprises of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) and Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) systems. It allows use of the Nissan LEAF’s battery not only for mobility, but for multiple energy storage uses and applications.

“The technology is part of Nissan’s global Intelligent Mobility vision. It demonstrates how we can integrate zero emissions driving with efficient renewable energy systems for domestic and commercial use,” says Nissan South Africa’s managing director, Mike Whitfield.

The ground-breaking technology first rolled out in Japan in 2012 when Nissan launched the ‘LEAF to home’ power supply system. The system transfers the energy stored in the Nissan LEAF’s battery to a dedicated V2H station, providing power for household needs.

The technology is further developing to deliver V2G, allowing battery energy to be used for municipal and energy utilities. It also provides the opportunity to stabilise the grid during peak electricity usage.

Heading the technology localisation programme is Hiten Parmar, director of the uYilo e-Mobility Programme. The host will be Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University engineering innovation hub, eNtsa.

“While the electric vehicle supply equipment for this technology is introducing gradually globally, we have the opportunity to leverage insight in South Africa already. We aim to enable and facilitate development of these value-add products at a lower cost locally,” says Parmar.

“Localising the bi-directional battery technology will have enormous benefits for South African Nissan LEAF owners, our auto and energy industries, and the economy as a whole,” says Whitfield.

Connecting industries

uYilo brings together governmental entities and industries, alongside car manufacturing stakeholders. Their task is to fast-track development and commercialisation of key technologies that will support the electric vehicle (EV) industry. The Technology Innovation Agency madeuYilo the national e-Mobility programme in 2013. Since then the Nissan LEAF has been the subject of various field tests.

A study, for example, finds running an all-electric LEAF for a year costs R18, 000 less than a petrol car. This is based on the average South African annual mileage of 30,000 kilometers.

“The agreement with Nissan SA and uYilo extends beyond the LEAF’s utilisation for field testing and creating awareness,” explains Parmar. “It also provides the opportunity for local value-add product and services trials, while also facilitating their development.”

While uYilo needs to confirm timing for full implementation for local product development, they aim to unveil initial demonstration and testing within six months. uYilo is also engaging with Nissan and other global developers and product distributors of a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) systems. South Africa may soon see its integration into the greater ecosystem.

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