Sustainability Your EV Battery’s Future Capabilities
More than just a transportation device, the electric car has exciting potential to be a powerful mobile-energy asset.
As well as capturing and storing energy, the second-generation Nissan LEAF is also capable of feeding that power back into the home or grid in the future. This will be possible once Australia’s compatible technology (in our homes and grids) catches up with the technology that’s already built into the second-generation LEAF. Both EVs and residential systems utilise the same lithium-ion battery technology for storing power, which means an EV battery may be used as an extra power source for your home one day.
While the technology to feed power back into the home or grid from an EV battery is not widely available in Australia just yet, Nissan is working closely with partners across the academic, business, government and utility sectors to implement local trial programs as the first step to in realising the exciting potential this has for Australia1. Most importantly, ensuring the bi-directional units meet both Nissan standards and Australian regulations.
Vehicle-to-home future potential
The first electric car to feature vehicle-to-home technology in Australia is the second-generation Nissan LEAF. Capable of powering a typical home for two to three days*2, its 39kWh battery is almost three times the size of the 14kWh Tesla Powerwall 23, currently one of the most popular home storage batteries on market.
This will give electric car owners a large and reliable back-up power source in the case of natural disaster or unexpected blackouts. On a day-to-day basis, vehicle-to-home charging has the potential to reduce a household’s consumption of energy from the grid. For example, if an EV battery charges from solar power during the day, it can then be used to provide power to the home at night. For homes without solar power, an EV battery could be charged overnight during off-peak periods, and then be used to power the home during peak times, presenting EV owners with real potential to lower their home power bills.
Vehicle-to-grid future potential
In time, as electric vehicles are more broadly adopted, this technology has the potential to have even further impact on the main power grid. As with solar powered home batteries, EV batteries can also return energy back to the power grid. If tens of thousands of charged EVs were connected to the grid while parked, this would provide a vast network of interconnected power sources that could add stability and security to an entire region’s power supply.
Facilitating a shift toward renewable energy sources
While in its infancy, vehicle-to-grid technology has the potential to assist with the broader roll out of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The large, centralised battery facilities often used to store excess energy generated during periods of low demand are expensive. If thousands of EVs were connected to the grid, it would provide a decentralised network of storage batteries whose power could be used during times of unusually high demand. As is the case with home solar systems, energy provided from the home to the grid could potentially earn the user credits that could lower their power bill.
With the cost of EVs predicted to reach parity with petrol-driven cars within the next five to eight years, electric vehicles are set to drastically reduce the automobile industry reliance on fossil fuels, and potentially help reduce the power industry’s too.
*A typical Australian home uses 15–20kWh per day. But households can vary considerably in their usage; a single-person home will typically use about 8–9kWh per day on average, while a household of five people with a pool could use 33kWh per day.