Nissan announces bold solar car plan

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 23 October 2019

Nissan shining a light on new range of efficient, solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs).

The electric vehicle (EV) landscape is now starting to ramp-up rapidly.  Not only are we seeing a greater range of more technically sophisticated EVs available on the Australian market, but there’s also a lot of work being done in terms of recharging infrastructureEfficient charging is a key ingredient to the future success of EVs.  

In five years, Nissan Australia expects 30 percent of its vehicles to be EVs, and no doubt other vehicle manufacturers have similar plans.  Naturally, more electric powered vehicles on the road will place even greater strain on Victoria’s already stretched electricity grid. Use of solar power charging offers potential cost savings and the environmental advantages of renewable energy, as well as reducing load on the grid.

Nissan announces new solar car

In five years, Nissan Australia expects 30 per cent of its vehicles to be solar-powered EVs.

Currently a 200-day trail is underway at Nissan Australia’s headquarters in Dandenong as part of a joint venture with Delta Electronics and CSIRO, supported by funding from the Victorian State Government to develop a new solar power charging system for EVs.  The aim of the trail is to evaluate off-grid EV charging, using solar power and battery back-up in all conditions. 

The solar charging stations are manufactured by Delta Electronics and use advanced technologies developed by the CSIRO.  Rooftop solar generation supplies the power to charge the vehicle directly, as well as topping up the system’s inbuilt battery which is used for vehicle charging at night or when the solar input is low.  CSIRO’s smart technology is designed to optimise the power use and can draw on the mains power from the grid to supplement the system if the battery /solar generation is low. 

For the trail, a 5kW solar system has been installed to power two solar charging units at the front of Nissan Australia’s head office, with another two charging units at the rear of the property connected to a 10kW solar system.  Each unit can charge up to four vehicles.  A fleet of Nissan’s recently released, second-generation Leaf EVs are being employed for the test.

The data gathered will be evaluated to help confirm the environmental advantages and cost savings available from renewable energy, as well as further refining the system ready for home and commercial use in the not too distance future.  It paves the way to have solar power chargers installed without requiring updates to the grid connections, and in areas that don’t have access to grid power.