Nissan’s self-driving EVs to power homes
Intelligent electric vehicles to keep the home of the future running after the sun sets.
The basic principle of connecting an electric vehicle to the family home to reduce dependence on a national power grid is not a new idea.
Clearly Nissan feels there hasn’t been enough progress made in this direction either. Now the company has announced a new strategy for the way this could potentially play out – and maybe just a few years from now.
The ‘Nissan Intelligent Mobility’ vision surfaced in Geneva for the motor show, offering consumers the prospect of urban living (including the daily driving) that’s carefully calculated to overcome the conflicts of lifestyle and environmental sustainability.
“Our Intelligent Mobility vision is a framework to move customers around the world towards a safer and more sustainable future,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO.
“To realize this vision, Nissan has launched a long-term strategy, supported by significant R&D investments. This enabled Nissan to introduce the breakthrough LEAF, the world’s first mass-production EV, in 2010 – years before any of our competitors.
“It has also driven our development of cutting-edge autonomous drive technologies, which will be available in a range of mass production models by 2020. These steps are allowing Nissan to deliver the benefits of EV and autonomous drive innovations to as many customers as possible and, ultimately, to lead the way toward a new era of mobility.”
In a video produced by Nissan to outline the strategy, the company canvasses three pillars: autonomous driving, electric vehicle propagation and integration of those two with the community at large. As is apparent from the video, Nissan foresees a time when a vehicle like its LEAF EV can recharge in the street from domestic solar power – and then reverse the flow of electrons to the house at night, when solar power plainly wouldn’t be viable.
Autonomous motoring will lead to EVs automatically connecting to on-street charge stations, and then unplugging themselves and returning to their respective parking spaces. How this would work in inner-suburban Sydney and Melbourne remains unclear, but the idea is there for consideration – not necessarily implementation.
Nissan even suggests in the video that if renewable energy from the sun can be stored in a car’s battery for later use at night, the electricity could become very affordable – or even free, if it comes to that.
The company is sticking to its plan of rolling out autonomous technology in Europe, the USA, Japan and China before the end of 2020. A demonstration of the technology in the real world is planned for later this year, and Nissan will launch its first ‘Piloted Drive’ vehicle – in the form of the Qashqai – in Europe next year.
“Autonomous technologies have been part of our R&D activities for a long time,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president, Global Marketing and Sales at Nissan.
“We’ve done extensive and ongoing on-road testing since 2013. This verified the integrity and versatility of Nissan’s Piloted Drive engineering in real-world scenarios. Our autonomous technology is additive to the driving experience you have today, offering more enjoyable driving and less stress.”
At the Geneva show, Nissan unveiled a new EV concept, the IDS (pictured). One of the key features of this vehicle is the 60kWh battery, which Nissan claims stores enough energy for the car to run up to 550km before recharging. The company has also left the gate open for future production cars boasting technology like that of the IDS to draw on power from an on-board fuel cell stack.