Nissan to pilot microgrid trials in 2018

Nissan will trial and assess microgrid systems across Europe in 2018, to examine how local communities can gain access to sustained energy sources, by combining renewable energy and battery storage technologies.

As part of the Nissan Futures event in Oslo, the carmaker unveiled three pilot projects that utilize electric vehicle (EV) batteries to assist communities without access to a reliable energy network, and those affected by natural disasters.

Nissan will build microgrid systems to provide new power sources for communities in developing countries that don’t yet have access to reliable energy grids. Nissan hopes the system will provide better access to basic needs such as education and healthcare.

The carmaker will also work with local municipalities across Europe to equip residential buildings with solar systems, the Nissan xStorage battery system, vehicle-to-grid technology charging and new Nissan LEAFs – to be used for car-sharing.

Finally, Nissan will partner with organisations in areas most likely to be affected by natural disasters. These partnerships will explore how Nissan technology can help in certain situations. For example, the newly-launched e-NV200 electric van could act as a mobile, back-up energy source during periods of grid disruption or power cuts.

Nissan Europe’s electric vehicle director Gareth Dunsmore said: “With a rapidly rising, urbanising global population, problems like access to energy, climate change, and poor air quality all risk getting worse rather than better – unless the world does something to address them.”

Free energy

The projects form part of Nissan’s “revolutionary” mobility plan, which aims to integrate EVs into electricity grids to offer incentives for consumers. Nissan unveiled the longer-range Nissan LEAF in Oslo, alongside its new scheme to offer LEAF owners “free energy” after installing solar panels and battery systems.

Nissan has already trialed the use of its xStorage batteries in Europe to create microgrids. The 57,000-seater stadium Amsterdam ArenA recently used 280 Nissan LEAF batteries for an integrated energy storage system that connects with the stadium’s 4,200 solar panels.

The pilot project unveiling will also be boosted by Nissan’s new Electric Vehicle Ambassador, actor Margot Robbie. The Wolf of Wall Street star will provide a broader platform for Nissan to share its learnings and developments.

“The world is going electric, but the sad fact is that so many people around the world still don’t have access to a reliable source of electricity at all,” Robbie said. “Projects like the ones Nissan has announced today have the potential to make a genuine difference to people’s lives and help build a cleaner, safer, fairer future for everyone.”

Matt Mace

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