With governments everywhere attempting to reduce powerplant emissions while simultaneously moving the teeming masses out of ICE vehicles and into electric cars, an energy brick wall quickly approaches. You’re faced with a situation where more people are drawing more power from the grid, but â€” for environmental or financial reasons â€” generating more power is out of the question.
In Germany, one solution is to get those EV drivers to stop what they’re doing and plug back into the grid, allowing the contents of their just-filled batteries to flow back into the plug it came from. Goodbye, brownouts. Possibly. If the solution seems odd and potentially self-defeating, it is, but the country’s government just approved the Nissan Leaf for exactly this use.
As reported by Reuters (via Automotive News Europe), the German government’s thumbs-up makes the Leaf the first EV approved for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power generation. To make the system viable, Leaf owners would have to utilize a wall charger capable of reversing the flow of current, drawing the car’s power back into the grid.
“We strongly believe in an emission-free future,” Guillaume Pelletreau, Vice President and Managing Director of Nissan Center Europe, said in a statement. “Leaf batteries could make an important contribution to energy transition in Germany and a sustainable future.”
The UK, as well as other European countries, began examining this type of system years ago. Currently, a UK government-backed 2-year pilot project is examining the feasibility of such a setup. It also uses Nissan Leafs. The pilot shows how car owners would be compensated for having strangers tap into their car’s juice, though this method only seems to work if the car owners are also homeowners.
How exactly Germany plans to compensate the Leaf owners isn’t immediately clear. Calling on Leafs and other electric vehicles to be pressed into service as mobile power stations during periods of high energy use is a novel idea, but owners won’t feel compelled to do it unless a different type of green flows into their wallets. While EV owners talk a good game about helping their fellow man, no one likes feeling like a chump.