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Electric Cars are Key to Nissan's Prototype Home of the Future

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author photo by Nick Chambers October 2011

If there's one thing Japan is all too familiar with these days it's natural disasters. Given the repercussions of the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year, the country and its people have begun to take a long, hard look at new ways of limiting the effects of such events on the energy supply, and, according to Nissan, the electric car is a natural part of that solution.

While we all know that electric cars use big batteries to move them down the road, Nissan sees all that stored power as something with a much bigger potential-local power supply using what's called vehicle-to-grid technology.

Imagine a home in which the electric car is integral, taking power from things like solar panels and wind turbines and supplementing it with energy directly from the grid. That power is stored in the electric car's batteries and used to run home appliances. When the power from the grid goes out the car can feed energy back into the house to keep it running for days on end when combined with the energy fed in from the solar panels and other local energy sources.

This is the concept Nissan is touting in its "smart home of the future," a house that was on exhibit in Tokyo, at the cutting edge electronics conference, CEATEC 2011. Dubbed the rather scary, big-brother sounding "NSH-2012," this smart home has double power generation capability, with both solar panels and fuel cells producing much of the energy needed to run all the electronics in the house and charge the Nissan Leaf.

When needed, the energy can flow from the Leaf's batteries back into the house. To ensure that there's enough energy for the duration of the power outage, all the electronics in the house can communicate with a central control module to use as little energy as possible.

Given its modern design meant to keep the house off the ground and away from flooding water, withstand high winds, and hold up to the immense shaking of an earthquake, the advanced capabilities of NSH-2012 don't stop at energy supply.

For now NSH-2012 is purely a concept and Nissan doesn't imagine getting into the housing market. However, according to Osamu Igarashi, the company's Senior Manager for Global EV Marketing, that doesn't mean it will never happen. "In terms of launch markets, we are interested in seeing initial responses," he said. "As of today we see the most potential in the Japanese market."

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Electric Cars are Key to Nissan's Prototype Home of the Future - Autotrader