Nissan Leaf lights up Canberra

New technology allows electric vehicle to be power source.
Charging Nissan LEAF.
A Nissan Leaf electric vehicle could soon be providing the power to cook Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s toast, thanks to a new vehicle-to-grid technology trial to be rolled out in the ACT. 

The ACT government initiative will showcase the LEAF electric vehicle’s (EV) ability to supply energy needs, and even deliver power back to the grid, thanks to its bi-directional charging capability.

The Leaf is the only factory-delivered and warranted vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capable electric vehicle on the market and this will be the first time V2G has been trialed in Australia, according to Nissan. 

The company says V2G technology effectively transforms the Leaf into a total energy solution, ensuring its battery doesn’t just store power for driving, but can also use that energy to run a home or commercial site, or to feed power back to the grid. 

In total, 51 Nissan Leaf EVs equipped with V2G technology will be deployed across the ACT in a precursor to the customer launch of the technology in Australia later this year.

The vehicles will form part of the ACT Government fleet and will provide Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) to the National Electricity Market.

Nissan LEAF side view.

The FCAS system refers to the energy used to keep a power grid operating at its optimum levels at times of fluctuating demand. 

It’s this injection or reduction of power that prevents instability in the grid that can lead to blackouts.

The trial will focus on the Leaf’s ability to provide energy to the grid to help stabilise the load in peak and off-peak periods.

“As the brand with the only V2G-capable vehicle from factory on the Australian market today, we are exceptionally proud to support this project, and to introduce this technology to Australia,” said Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester.

“The Nissan Leaf not only offers an exciting EV driving experience, it goes so much further by integrating into the energy system. 

“Nissan has been a global leader in this space, with several successful trials conducted in overseas markets, realising in Australia it is an important milestone.” 

The trial previews a near future in which Australian homes could essentially be off the grid, transforming electric vehicles to mobile energy solutions. 

For customers with solar panels, the LEAF’s 40kWh battery is able to store solar energy during the day, and then use that energy to supply a home’s power needs at night, unlocking both zero-cost mobility and zero-cost home energy, according to Nissan.

Alternatively, customers who use a workplace or public site to charge their vehicles could use that power to supply their homes. 

A parked car could even become a revenue-generating asset for its owner by providing support to the energy grid by feeding power back into the grid and providing ancillary services, the company says.

“With more people working from home currently, with a Nissan Leaf in the driveway, a household could significantly reduce their power bills by using their vehicle as a battery,” Mr Lester said.

“And if they have solar panels, they can maximise their use of renewable energy, and still have an exciting zero-emissions car to drive.”

Nissan LEAF rear.

The project is being introduced to Australia through Nissan’s support of the Realising Electric Vehicle Services (REVS) project, which has been supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its Advancing Renewables Program.

The REVS project brings together a consortium of academic, transport and electricity system partners to deploy the V2G service, including ActewAGL, the Australian National University (ANU), JET Charge, Evoenergy, SG Fleet and Nissan.

The Nissan Leaf has sold more than 470,000 units worldwide and vies with Tesla’s Model 3 for the title of the world’s best-selling electric car.

It is one of Australia’s most affordable EVs, with a purchase price of $49,990 (MRLP), and this year has sold 176 units. It has an indicative driving range of 270km between fills of its 40kWh battery.

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