“A seismic change in the cost of battery production,” coupled with a broadening of the usage case for batteries, are central to the development of electric mobility, according to Gareth Dunsmore, general manager of electric vehicles at Nissan Motor’s European division.Dunsmore said that the usage case would involve electric vehicles becoming part and parcel of power demand management. “We believe electric car owners will be able to earn around EUR 1-2,000 ($1,100 to $2,200) per year using our vehicle-to-grid technology,” he said.
Nissan is currently piloting this across Europe, and is “working with energy companies to provide the grid infrastructure and correct cabling.” The Japan-based car maker is supportive of utilities including charging infrastructure in their rate base, and is working with Enel on related initiatives, he said.The 2016 Nissan Leaf offers a 30KWh battery – increasing capacity by 25% compared to the previous model. This allows the car to run up to 250km (155 miles) on a single charge. The world’s bestselling plug-in has “caught the imagination of people in different countries,” said Dunsmore, due to the combination of its functionality and instantaneous torque, making it “fun to drive.”
The Renault-Nissan alliance was the official transport provider to COP21, the United Nations climate conference that began in Paris on Nov. 30 and ended over the weekend. Some 200 fully-electric vehicles, comprised of the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and Nissan E-NV200, transported participants between Paris and Le Bourget, where the summit was held. Electric mobility requires the support of governments, private investors and industry, to promote the right level of incentives, investment and infrastructure build-out, Dunsmore said. Gareth Dunsmore, electric vehicle director of Nissan Europe, spoke with Clean Energy and Carbon about the car maker’s plans to further push the boundaries of electric transportation.
Q: What is the significance of the Renault-Nissan presence at COP21?
A: We want to get across the broader awareness that the electric vehicle is not a small, niche car, but is mass-produced and needs the support of governments, local industry and local councils, to grow the right quality of infrastructure and awareness. In Norway, the government has invested heavily in incentives for electric vehicles and offers free parking, driving in bus lanes and tax benefits — making the Nissan Leaf a bestseller. It’s about getting the whole package right to change people’s mind-set. COP21 is a great platform to have that debate.
In 2010, we were the first to introduce a mass-produced electric vehicle in Europe, with the Nissan Leaf. It was a clear statement of intent, reflecting our vision that electric mobility is the future. The Nissan/Renault alliance has sold more electric vehicles than any other competing manufacturer — our work with the alliance regarding infrastructure is absolutely vital. We work very closely with our partners at Renault, in lobbying and working with the European Council and international governments, large corporations, energy companies and smaller enterprises, to try and get the right level of both home charging, office charging and public charging points.We’ve installed over 2,300 quick chargers that support Nissan in Europe, and also are accessible to other electric vehicles. We expect this number to increase to about 5,000 over the next 18 to 24 months.
Q: How do you see batteries developing in the future?
A: Primarily we will need to see a seismic change in the cost of battery production. This means finding mass-available or cheaper chemicals that produce the same level of durability and electrical output.
Secondly, it’s about broadening the usage case for batteries. With the production of the new Leaf we’re also piloting our ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ technology in Europe. This technology has been in Japan for a while under the name ‘Leaf-to-Home’, where customers have been able to take charge off their car and put it into the home. This has been very advantageous in helping to provide consistency of power to our customers in Japan, as the country faced power management issues following Fukushima. In the future, it will be possible to take charge off your battery and put it into the grid. So working with smart-energy meters, people will be able to start earning money by using their battery to take power off the grid where energy companies don’t want it – and will also be able to pull energy from the grid at times when it is cheapest. We believe electric car owners will be able to earn around GBP 1-2,000 per year using vehicle-to-grid technology.
We’ve started to roll out real-life trials of these across Europe, working in France and Denmark. The technology is already available in the latest model of the Leaf – it’s now a matter of working with energy companies to provide the grid infrastructure and correct cabling to serve it. This is a big leap forward — we are trying to pioneer and lead with our partners in Europe. Some 46,000 owners of the Nissan Leaf in Europe could benefit. This technology could also help corporations better manage their energy demand