The plan will begin in September 2013. One Nissan LEAF, paired with a LEAF-to-Home power system, will be donated by Nissan to at least one roadside rest area (called michi-no-eki in Japanese) to each prefecture in the country.
Electric vehicles can serve as portable sources of electrical power both in day-to-day living and during emergencies, such as power blackouts following earthquakes or hurricanes. The Nissan LEAF, paired with the “LEAF to Home” power supply system, can be used as back-up power source in emergency situations if there are power outages and/or shortages by providing the stored electricity held in the Nissan LEAF’s onboard batteries. In normal situations, the LEAF to Home power supply system helps stabilize the electrical grid and balance energy needs by charging an EV with electricity generated during the night, when demand is low, or sourced from solar panels and supplying it to homes during daytime when demand is high.
The michi-no-eki network in Japan has three functions: a rest area for travelers, an information source for local residents and road users, and a cooperative community function in which towns reach out to each other to work together to build vibrant communities centered on activities held at the michi-no-eki stations. As the stations are public facilities often located alongside important arterial roads, in recent years they serve as bases of operations during natural disasters.
The lithium-ion batteries of Nissan LEAF can store 24kWh of electricity. With the “LEAF to Home” power supply system complemented by a Nissan LEAF, power can be supplied from a Nissan LEAF to some parts of a michi-no-eki’s facilities in case of power outages caused by disasters. It is expected that these michi-no-eki road stations will function as evacuation centers for local residents or a base for restoration support activities in the event of a natural disaster.
The donated Nissan LEAFs can be used as vehicles to transport the elderly and expecting mothers who find it difficult to purchase food and daily commodities at the roadside stations’ stores.