Nissan’s EV ‘kei’ car to power elevators during blackouts

Japanese carmaker Nissan and compatriot Hitachi’s Building Systems Co Ltd. subsidiary have demonstrated in Japan the possibility of keeping elevators running via V2H (vehicle-to-home) power from an electric car in a building during blackouts. In earthquake-prone Japan, the risk of getting stuck in an elevator is not uncommon.

For the test, according to Reuters, both companies claim to have kept an elevator for nine people running for ten hours, fed by the 20 kWh lithium-ion battery of a ‘kei’ microcar, the Nissan Sakura. Hitachi hopes to deliver the V2X system to buildings in Japan starting in April of this year.

Madly popular in Japan

This ‘kei’ microcar from Nissan and its sibling, the Mitsubishi eK X Electric, are madly popular in Japan. They share the same specs, as both are built on the same platform in a joint project called NMKV.

By July last year, Nissan had already got 23 000 orders, and Mitsubishi had another 12 000, more than all EVs sold in Japan. The companies had to halt the ordering process as the production capacity at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima Plant in western Japan was limited, and delivery times exceeded more than a year. They plan to boost capacity by 20% in 2023 to 70 000 units.

The Sakura and the eK X EV, only 3,39 m long and 1,47 m wide, are powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery that feeds a front-mounted electric motor of 47 kW (63 hp). They retail at prices starting at about €16 700 in Japan before subsidies, which means another €3 485 discount.

CHAdeMO standard

The Nissan EVs Leaf (and Ariya i Japan) are two of the few EVs on sale worldwide today, capable of delivering power from the battery back to a building to power appliances or critical infrastructure, like elevators. In addition, they feature more powerful batteries (40 to 87 kWh).

Both support the Japanese-developed CHAdeMO charging standard, which integrates bi-directional charging, contrary to the commonly used European and American standard, CCS. But this one, too, is being prepared for standardizing V2X (vehicle-to-everything) later.

Three days on F-150 power

Other carmakers are also working on V2X technology like Ford is doing with the F-150 Lightning. A Canadian Lightning owner easily managed to power his home for more than three days with it during recent severe winter storms that hit the North American continent.

But to be able to use it, you have to buy Ford’s Intelligent Backup Power option. That implies the 80 Amps wallbox called Ford Charge Station Pro and the Home Integration System. It works entirely automatically. If your truck is plugged in and the power goes down, the car’s battery takes over and starts feeding electricity to the building instantly until power from the grid is restored.





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