Nissan is planning to expand trials of a bi-directional charging scheme that could make running electric vehicles (EVs) such as the second-generation Leaf entirely free – including a new project in the UK.
The Japanese manufacturer has run a scheme in Denmark in the past year that has allowed EV fleet customers to buy a vehicle-to-grid charger to both draw energy from the grid to power their car and ‘sell’ it back when their machine is not in use. Aside from the cost of installing a vehicle-to-grid charger, Nissan says the system has enabled firms to run EVs at no cost.
Nissan will work with Ovo Energy to give discounts to UK customers who buy an xStorage home energy unit. The devices, which have been available in Britain since 2016, can store generated energy and feed it into both a Leaf and the grid. Nissan says the system could generate around £350 per year for users.
The bi-directional charging concept effectively works by using a car’s battery as extra energy storage when plugged in, giving the grid extra capacity – the new Leaf’s 40kWh battery can store enough energy to power the average family home for around three days. The system generally works by transferring small amounts of energy when needed, ensuring vehicles are ready to use when drivers require.