Published on August 3rd, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro
The Nissan Leaf; Electric Car, Backup Home Power Generator
The advantages of electric cars are piling up as consumers and automakers alike come to realize just how versatile a giant battery on wheels can be. Nissan has unveiled an entire scale model of a Japanese home that the Leaf electric car can power for about two days.
Toyota beat Nissan to the bunch with the announcement that it’s Prius gas-electric hybrid will soon be coming with AC outlets that could also power a home for about two days. But Nissan has gone a few steps further than Toyota, as we will see in a second.
After the March 11th earthquake and tsunami shook northeasternJapan, many people were left without power or gasoline for days on end. Then stories emerged about people who used their hybrid and electric cars to power the base necessities that helped them survive. Automakers were quick to jump on board, and the idea obviously has some merit. Whether it is just a brief power outage or a massive natural disaster, the ability to plug your home into your car adds a whole new level of versatility to electric cars.
Nissan has developed an electrical distribution unit that will send power from the Leaf to the home, and a fully charged Leaf has 24kWh of energy on tap, enough to power the average Japanese home for about two days. If one were to keep just the bare essentials (refrigerator, radio, a light or two) the battery pack could probably last for a week or more. Current Leaf owners can plug into this system, provided they make the necessary adjustments to their home’s wiring.
In a long term power outage scenario, the Leaf could theoretically be trickle charged via a solar array, and then provide power to a home. Unless you’ve got a gas station in your driveway, chances are you’ll run out of gas before you run out of sunlight. The Prius meanwhile has to be fed a steady diet of fuel to keep the battery running, and in addition to power outages there was also a severe fuel shortage. These being first-generation EV’s, the technology is only bound to evolve…and could turn out to be a real money saver in the long run.
Source: The Truth About Cars
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.