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Nissan demonstrates Leaf-powered Smart House, we go hands-on

Nissan demonstrates Leaf-powered Smart House, we go hands-on
Richard Lai
Richard Lai|@richardlai|December 1, 2011 11:07 AM
Back in August, Nissan shared its vision of making its Leaf EV a secondary power source for houses, be it for emergency power outage or for powering lodges in the countryside. Here at the Tokyo Motor Show, we got to see a Smart House that demonstrates just that. To supply the electricity from the Leaf, Nissan uses a power control system box that can supply up to 6kW of power -- plenty of juice for this structure, which consumes about 1 to 2kW for its lights, fan, TV, clock, mini fridge and air conditioner. As for battery life, a Leaf can keep a typical Japanese household powered for about two days, and customers can pick up this power control system in around end of March next year (the retail version will be about half the size of the one pictured). Nissan also said potentially the Smart House can supply excess electricity back to the grid, though this isn't yet possible in Japan due to the lack of such service, which is understandable given the natural disasters earlier this year.

Additionally, it turns out that the Smart House can also power itself during sunny days using its solar panels on the top, and any remaining electricity is used to charge up the Leaf; so effectively the car is acting as a mobile battery for the house. But what if it's cloudy and the Leaf is out and about? Well, the fuel cells inside the Smart House's belly will keep your party going, so there's really nothing to worry about as long as you keep an eye on your propane level. Head past the break to watch Nissan's Shinsuke Suzuki switch the house off and on for us.

Nissan's General Manager of Technology Marketing, Shinsuke Suzuki, hits the switch.

Zach Honig contributed to this article.
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