ABC News: Powering your Home from your Car

July 8, 2012

Somebody at ABC must read this blog.

ABC News:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were left without power for days after a violent storm front moved through from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic last week. But what if — in the case of a blackout — you could just use your car to power your home?

It might sound futuristic, but in Japan it is already happening.

In Ginza, a posh shopping district in the heart of Tokyo — customers looking to buy a car can do something they can’t do anywhere else in the world — walk into a Nissan dealer and buy an all electric Leaf that will integrate into their home’s energy supply. Simply put, the car powers the home and the home powers the car.

“If there is a power disruption, you can keep things running,” Ken Screbnik, vice president for strategic planning and business development for Nissan told ABC News. “Depending on the size of the home, the power from your car can be used to power your home for about two days.”


The vehicle-to-grid system is all part of a vision for a smarter energy system for Japan following last year’s tsunami- and earthquake-triggered nuclear disaster.

“Japan has really been on a fast curve because of the events of March 11 [2011], with the tsunami and the earthquake, when there was devastation, there was no way to get gas to gas stations and really there was a whole different look at electric vehicles, how they were able to work, and also having that comfort of this backup energy storage system in your home,” Screbnik said. “We were able to work with the government to provide subsides and really shape a business out of a tragic event.”

Moving to a Smarter Grid

Since the earthquake and tsunami hit, the Japanese government made concerted efforts to ensure a stable power supply.

There were 50 Smart Cities proposed, promising to offer cleaner energy integration, and the ability for the smart cities to maintain their own energy supplies in the case another large earthquake knocks the power offline.

At Kashiwa-no-ha, one of the smart grid cities on the outskirts of Tokyo, construction began before the tsunami and nuclear disaster, and is scheduled to be completed in 2014.  The 26,000 people who will be living in the city will have access to smart grid features, including the ability to monitor and control their energy supply with mobile applications.

“The smart features allow you to conserve 40 percent of energy, Ai Kanda Communications Officer for Kashi-no-ha told ABC News.  “It’s one of the most innovative smart grid projects in the world.”

It’s just one more thing that climate deniers deny – that turning to a renewable smart grid will improve our lives, allow us to be more secure, improve national security, and increase our resilience in the face of natural disasters like the east coast is living thru this week.


18 Responses to “ABC News: Powering your Home from your Car”

  1. Reblogged this on cadesertvoice and commented:
    ABC News: Powering your Home from your Car…Japan is ahead of the curve.

  2. otter17 Says:

    It seems that the perceived “impossibility” of a solution is one of the primary reasons WHY there is denial.

  3. daveburton Says:

    It sounds like nifty technology… except that, without electricity on the grid, if all you have is a Nisson Leaf, you can’t drive. Not anywhere very far, anyhow, and not if you use your car’s battery to power your home.

    Better keep a bicycle on hand, as backup transportation.

    • otter17 Says:

      Reduce household loads to minimum needed in emergency. Keep an eye on battery level if transportation to a different area or shelter is needed. Backup generator potentially for powering emergency electrical loads and charging up car. Local distributed sources of electric power may still be online for community or home usage.

      • daveburton Says:

        Backup generator is the real solution… preferably natural gas-powered, 2nd choice propane, 3rd choice diesel. But if you’ve got a backup generator, you don’t need for your car to power your house.

        • otter17 Says:

          Depends on what people want to pay for in a backup.

        • jkech2008 Says:

          No Just some solar cells on the roof combibed with with the car. You will run out of fuel for the backup generator eventally, but the sun will always come out.

          If you depend on fossil fuels as a basis of life then everything you use will be based on that. from car, to electricity generated by burning coal, to back up generator and so on. It takes a bit of a mind chage if the basis of life changes.

          Personally i hate the sound of a generator working away in the background. I would rather have the silence of bateries and solar cells.

          But to be honest in an emergancy i would use whatever I could find.


    • greenman3610 Says:

      where in the story does it suggest that there is no grid?
      this is what I mean by blind denial. You have a canned reaction that does not even relate to the facts of the story. That’s one reason I keep you around, Dave, – you always present a clear example of exactly what I mean by “denier”.

      • daveburton Says:

        What an odd question, Peter! Did you read the story you posted?

        Both of the first two sentences in that story posit the electrical grid going down: “Hundreds of thousands of Americans were left without power for days after a violent storm front moved through from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic last week. But what if — in the case of a blackout — you could just use your car to power your home?”

        Even if electric cars were cheaper than gasoline-powered cars, there’d still be some circumstances in which I’d rather have a gasoline-powered car, and the top of that list would be when I’m “left without power for days in the case of a blackout.” Of course.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          millions of those affected would have been able to ride it out just fine with an extra two days of power, obviously – moreover, an islandable, more resilient, smarter grid might very well have limited the areas blacked out to much smaller scale – if any.
          you are unable to think beyond 60 year old technologies.

    • sailrick Says:

      You are forgetting about solar, with which for instance, a lot of people without power from the current heat wave, could still be running their air conditioning.

      And solar power can be stored.
      Improvements in batteries will increase that advantage.

      If Envia Systems new battery design pans out in commercialization, they will triple the range of an electric car.

      • daveburton Says:

        It’s encouraging, though 400 W-hr/kg is not triple current batteries. Maybe close to double, though. Wikipedia says that Li-ion batteries have energy densities of 150 to 250 W·h/kg.

        Doubling the energy density would mean a Leaf’s range would double from ~73 miles to ~146 miles. That would make it much more appealing.

        Durability might be a weak point. They say they’ve done 300 charge/discharge cycles in the lab with these cells. That’s poor. Wikipedia says that current batteries get 400-1200 cycles. Nissan expects the Leaf’s battery to last 10 years with at most 30% loss of capacity; I don’t know how many charge-discharge cycles that represents, but it is certainly a lot more than 300. Hopefully Envia can improve the durability.

  4. rayduray Says:


    A couple of interesting items about arctic sea ice popped up today:

    PIOMAS — The Death Spiral Chart:

    And NASA’s Earth Observatory shows the rapid retreat of Beaufort Sea Ice extent this season. Good news for Shell Oil, which plans to start drilling in the Beaufort later this month. Probably bad news for the rest of us…

  5. Apologies for the OT post, but I wanted to mention that ABC news just put up some more really good stuff on its web-site.

    Bill Blakemore has videos/transcripts of an extended interview of Michael Mann on his ABC News web-page:

    Dr. Mann ain’t pulling any punches. Here are a couple of the interview headlines:

    “Climate Denialists Worse Than Tobacco CEOs Lying Under Oath, Says Mann”

    “Climate Denialists Would Be Remembered as Villains, Says Mann”

    According to Dr. Mann’s FB page, bits and pieces of this interview may turn up on the ABC evening news in the coming weeks.

    Might be worthy of a climate crock followup.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      right. I’ve been tied up in a conference, but am following the story.

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: ABC News Interviews Michael Mann

      Thanks for the head’s up on this:

      Jeff Masters at Weather Underground provided the link today as well. Hopefully a lot of people will pay attention to this.

      In another sign of the times and an indication that sane and responsible business people are taking climate change seriously, here’s something else from Jeff Masters:

      Tuesday Webinar on the future of extreme weather impacts on business
      I’m presenting a 12-minute Webinar talk on the future of weather-related disasters at 2 pm EDT Tuesday July 10. If you want to register (it’s free) and listen in, visit the web site. The title of the webinar is, “The Year-Round CAT Season: Is Your Business Prepared for Increasingly Frequent Severe Weather?”
      [END COPY]

  6. […] From CLIMATE CROCKS ~  Powering your Home from your Car […]

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