Nissan Australia launches solar EV charging station
You could soon be able to buy a solar electric vehicle charging station to juice up your EV at home.
NISSAN AUSTRALIA HAS officially launched a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station at its head office in Dandenong, Victoria, not far down the road from where it produces parts for vehicles like the all-electric Leaf.
Developed and managed in partnership with the Victorian Government, CSIRO, and Delta Electronics, Nissan’s EV charging station will be under trial for the next 200 days as the group compiles information on charging habits and ensure the system performs efficiently.
The charging unit unveiled today differs from any other solar-powered commercial fast-charger found in Australia as it is a single-phase unit compatible with 5kW solar panels and inverters used (and currently rebated by the government) on domestic homes. That differs from the three-phase setup found in a commercial charger, which produces between 30-150kW, and some new units that rate as high as 350kW for rapid charging.
Conversely, the 5kW solar system is designed for slower charging rates, with the primary purposes of reducing power draw on the grid and saving EV owners money. In the right environment, there might be no reason to ever pay to draw power from the grid, and it can also be installed in remote locations.
Current solar technology means a 5kW array will produce up to 20kW of power in one day in ideal situations of sunlight. That’s about enough power to charge 150km range in a Nissan Leaf.
But what if you’re not at home to use it because you’re parked at work during the day?
There is a 6kW lithium-ion battery in the system that stores solar energy captured during the day. When at home at night, the battery then charges the car it is connected to; 6kW of power is about 42km driving range, or more than the average Australian’s commute distance.
Theoretically, there might not be any need to charge from grid power unless travelling long distances.
Once the battery has been discharged the system can flick over to the grid to continue charging the car or to charge up the battery. It is likely this will be the scenario used by many Australians with a day job, and cars like the Nissan Leaf can be programmed to charge only at certain times during the night or for to specified capacity, ensuring only renewable solar energy is used or off-peak grid power.
When can I buy one?
While the current system is on trial for 200 days, Delta Electronics says it plans to sell units to consumers within the next 12 months. The company is not talking about prices yet but there is the potential to save money on solar panels with current government rebates.
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