While some automakers may settle for merely developing electric-powered vehicles, Nissan seeks novel ways that provide additional uses for these new EV technologies. The Japanese automaker partnered with the Sumitomo Corporation to form the 4R Energy Corporation in 2010, and the joint venture has yielded a power storage system comprised of used batteries from battery-electric vehicles.
Located in Osaka, Japan, the station uses 16 EV batteries that will store excess energy generated by the Hikari-no-mori solar farm. The excess energy can be sent back to the farm on sun-constrained days. This process is what industry experts call the “smoothing effect.” Over the next few years, the smoothing effect will be measured to learn how even larger-scale power storage can be safely and effectively utilized. Most researchers agree this is a vital step due to the projected quantities of discarded used EV batteries. Nissan anticipates that its LEAF sales will provide 50,000 battery packs for this secondary market by 2020.
As part of regulations by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, 4R Energy Corporation will inspect and maintain all recovered batteries to confirm safety and performance. While the joint company monitors and improves its power storage systems, it will also seek alternative means by which to use these batteries.
Nissan is proud to be a part of project that delves further into the capabilities of renewable energy sources. That dedication helped inspire the nomenclature 4R: Reuse, Resell, Refabricate, and Recycle.
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