Nissan was initially set toreveal a longer range version of the Leaf electric vehicle at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. However, the company’s CEO was arrested and Nissan feared this news would dominate headlines. Instead, Nissan revealed facelifted versions of the Maxima sedan and Murano SUV, both of which sport new interior themes and safety technology. The Japanese automaker did reveal a cool, racing version of the Leaf a few days later in Japan, though it was not part of the company’s LA display.
Even though the long-range Leaf wasn’t revealed in LA, Nissan went through with its plans to host an event based around the future of city mobility. The event featured autonomous robots serving lunch, electric Lime Scooters, Margot Robbie as a guest speaker, and an interesting display of the Leaf’s bi-directional charging capability.
The Leaf is the first electric car on sale to include what is known at vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) charging technology. Basically, this allows the Leaf to send power back to the grid allowing owners, theoretically at least, to power their homes using their car.
At the event, Nissan displayed a red Leaf that was plugged into a tiny house. The display was meant to show the usefulness of the V2I technology for powering a home during peak energy periods or during a blackout. Leaf owners in Europe can even sell their electricity back to the grid in exchange for financial compensation.
Nissan has already begun to leverage this technology by using it to partially power its North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and its design center in San Diego, California. “As the only vehicle on the market utilizing bi-directional charging, the Nissan Leaf proves exceptionally useful while on the road and also while parked,” said Brian Maragno, Director, EV Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America. “As a pioneer in the EV space, we’re thrilled to continue to show new, meaningful technologies that leverage the Leaf’s growing capabilities.”
The company is also working on “second-life battery” initiatives to repurpose and recycle Leaf batteries. Nissan has already received certification to use second-life Leaf batteries for stationary energy storage. These technological developments and initiatives show Nissan’s commitment to an intelligent electric future.