Nissan and Nichicon Team Up to Use Leaf Battery to Power Home

Recently Nissan announced its “Leaf to Home” technology, which is a device that attaches to a Nissan Leaf electric automobile allowing power to move both to the car’s battery and from it. Now Nichicon Corporation is announcing that it has built a device in partnership with Nissan, called the "EV Power Station" that takes power from the “Leaf to Home” device and makes it available to the home’s power system. In addition, it also serves as a charger for the Leaf, reducing the time it takes to charge the car’s battery from eight hours to just four.

The idea the two companies said in a joint news release is to give customers more power options. Because prices for electricity vary depending on demand, it makes sense for homeowners to charge their vehicles battery when prices are lowest, typically at night. And because quite often cars are left sitting idly in the driveway or garage once its owner has arrived home for work, it would seem wasteful to not use the battery in it to supply power to the house during the time when electricity rates are typically at their highest. That’s what the two systems allow.

Initially the dual system technology will only be sold to customers in Japan, where electricity prices have begun to climb in the wake of a nationwide shutdown of nuclear power plants following the Fukushima plant disaster last year. Particularly noticeable is the huge difference in electricity costs during different time periods, leading many Japanese electronics companies to develop and sell devices that are capable of taking advantage of lower price times. The company also points out that due to the same electrical supply issues, residential customers have had to endure more blackouts and brownouts than they have in the past. The new system they say, could be a tremendous help in such situations as they say the Leaf when fully charged, is capable of supplying up to two full days of power to a house using a typical amount of electricity.
The cost for the new system, which is expected to be made available in dealer showrooms next month, will be 330,000 yen (about $4,100) after subsidies, though not mentioned in the news release is how much it might cost the typical buyer to hook the system into their existing home electrical system.