Auto brand Nissan has created an energy storage system for the home using a recycled car battery, and announced plans for a trial in the UK that will allow electric vehicle owners to sell power back to the grid.
Nissan announced its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial – the first of its kind in the UK – at an event in London yesterday before revealing a slim wall-mounted battery pack for the home called xStorage.
One hundred V2G units will be installed across the country for the trial, where owners of the Nissan LEAF car and e-NV200 electric van will be able to plug their vehicles in and sell stored energy back to the National Grid.
This model could, if scaled up, provide a stable energy infrastructure in the future, according to Nissan and power company Enel.
A video explaining Nissan's vehicle-to-grid concept
"Smart energy management is one of the biggest challenges any nation faces for the future, which is why this trial is so critical in assessing the feasibility of using variable, more flexible energy sources," said Nissan chief Paul Willcox."We currently have 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles running on the roads in the UK and if all of those were connected to the energy network, they would generate the equivalent to two power plants."
"If that was scaled up where all the vehicles on UK roads are electric, vehicle-to-grid technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370 GW. That's enough to power the UK, Germany and France."
The xStorage battery device for the home, unveiled yesterday for the first time, is formed from a recycled battery used in the company's fully electric vehicles. It can be connected to the residential energy supply or renewable sources such as solar panels.
The Japanese manufacturer claims homeowners will be able to save money on utility bills by charging the recycled battery at off-peak times when energy prices are low, and using the stored power during peak periods when costs are higher.
Stored energy could be sold back to the grid as a way to make money when demand for electricity is high.
The battery system could also act to reduce power outages in the future, according to Nissan, as greater strain is placed on ill-equipped infrastructure.
"We all know that we face the prospect of increasing peak power losses and we believe that we can help dissipate some of that impact," Willcox told Dezeen. "If there are any outages in terms of house supply in the future we know this battery can power a home for two to three days."
Due to the system's compatibility with home-fitted solar panels and wind turbines, xStorage could be charged entirely off grid. Users can flick between energy sources "at the touch of a button" via their smartphones.
Nissan predicts users of xStorage could generate £6000 of income for the owner over the next decade by selling power back to the grid. The system costs £3000 and will be available to pre-order in September.
Nissan is the latest company to envisage a city of the future transformed by electric power storage.
Last year the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, revealed the wall-mounted Tesla Powerwall battery – described by Musk at the time as "the missing piece that's needed" in the transition to towards "a sustainable-energy world".
Up to nine Tesla Powerwalls can be stacked together to power a home, with each unit costing $3,500 (£2,300).
In an Opinion column written for Dezeen, Dan Hill described it as "the product launch of the 21st century" and imagined cities without grid-based infrastructure.
Nissan's future-looking vision for cities conceived in collaboration with architecture firm Foster + Partners, also on show at the Nissan Futures event, also imagined such a scenario.
First unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the proposal combined technologies including wireless charging, autonomous driving and battery storage. Working in synchronicity the technologies could result car parks and petrol stations being dismantled and replaced with green spaces.