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Turning the Electric Car into an Energy Battery for the Home

The idea that electric vehicles could be used as power storage for the home is not new, but in current blackout-prone Japan, the country needs to find ways to secure some level of energy security.

Enter the Nissan LEAF. Recently, in Japan, Nissan unveiled a system for using its LEAF electric vehicle model to feed power back to a house at moments of power outage or shortage.

The two-way system made of lithium-ion batteries can help ease load on the grid during peak hours and allows EV owners to buy their power during the cheaper night hours. The system operated from a 200V single-phase three wire AC input. A switch on the display panel gives users the option to either charge the battery or supply power to the home. A display shows battery power level and information about current.

The Nissan Leaf batteries can store up to 24kWh of electricity, which is enough for an average Japanese home for two days. But, as BNet notes, this level of capacity wouldn’t work in the U.S.

In Japan, however, it does and it’s necessary. The country has been plagued with blackouts since the earthquake and tsunami in March. With the government’s decision to phase out nuclear, it needs to make the most of its power capacity while authorities think up and implements viable alternative energy systems.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.