In 1965, entrepreneur Bernie Elsey and the Surfers Paradise Progress Association found a novel way around what they saw as the detrimental aspects of the Gold Coast City Council’s introduction of parking meters, by introducing the concept of meter maids.
The bikini-clad maids and their gold bag of sixpences turned out to be a marketing coup for the region, quickly becoming synonymous with the sun, surf and carefree atmosphere of the holiday strip.
Their calling card which stated, “You have just been saved from a parking fine by the Surfers Paradise Meter Maids,” brought a smile to the dial of many motorists over the years.
Fast forward 55 years and Nissan has come up with its own electronic version of the meter maid, by enabling its electric cars to pay for their parking with electricity.
It may not be quite as colourful as a meter maid in the flesh, but in what Nissan is claiming as a global first, the company’s electric vehicle drivers will be able to discharge power from their battery pack to pay for parking while visiting the new Nissan Pavilion exhibition space.
The 10,000sqm, zero-emission Pavilion is near the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.
The Pavilion, which is outfitted with solar panels and supplied with renewable hydroelectric power, is designed to demonstrate Nissan’s EV and other emerging technologies.
Visitors are offered the chance to enjoy a virtual Formula E electric street race, go for a ride in the all-new Nissan Ariya EV crossover, or sip on a latte in a cafe powered by the batteries from Nissan Leaf electric cars.
Other innovations visitors can experience include demonstrations of Nissan’s ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system, and its Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology, which combines information from the real and virtual worlds to assist drivers.
Sporting types can play a virtual tennis match with Grand Slam champion and Nissan brand ambassador Naomi Osaka, while a Mobility Hub also offers a variety of services, including EV car-sharing and rental bicycles.
“The Pavilion is a place where customers can see, feel, and be inspired by our near-future vision for society and mobility,” said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida.
“As the world shifts to electric mobility, EVs will be integrated into society in ways that go beyond just transportation.”
Nissan introduced the world’s first mass-market electric car, the Leaf, in 2010.
Since then, the company has partnered with governments and businesses around the world to expand the uses of EVs.
The company’s Nissan Energy Share technology and Nissan Energy Storage technologies allows electricity from EV batteries to be stored, shared and repurposed, for instance by powering homes or businesses – such as the off-grid cafe in the Nissan Pavilion.
In June, Nissan Australia announced that 51 Nissan Leaf EVs equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology would be deployed across the ACT, in a trial designed to showcase the Leaf’s ability to supply energy needs, and even deliver power back to the grid, thanks to its bi-directional charging capability.
In Japan, Nissan has also entered agreements with local government to use Leaf cars as mobile batteries that can supply energy during natural disasters. In another partnership, the company is repurposing used EV batteries to power streetlights.
The company plans to expand its global line-up of EVs and electric motor-driven cars, with a goal of selling more than one million electrified vehicles a year by the end of fiscal 2023.
to take a virtual tour of the Nissan Pavilion.