New Nissan System Charges Electric Cars with Solar Power

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The Japanese automaker, Nissan, has developed a charging system that generates electricity from solar power and stores it in the lithium-ion batteries used in its Leaf electric car.

On the roof of its global headquarters in Yokohama, the company has installed 488 solar panels, which generate electricity that is then stored in four Leaf batteries installed in the basement; power from the four batteries is sufficient to power 1,800 Leafs annually.

As part of a joint venture with Sumitomo Corp., Nissan aims to refabricate and re-sell the Leaf batteries for power storage as the electric vehicles are traded in or junked in years to come.

“These batteries can be useful as back-up power for homes when there’s an outage,” said Takashi Sakagami, head of the joint venture, known as 4R Energy Corp.

Other Japanese automakers, including Toyota and Honda, are also developing systems to link solar panels with car charging stations as the nation increasingly eyes new solutions to energy generation and storage in the aftermath of the blackouts triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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