Owners of the next-gen LEAF in Japan have the option of driving on sunshine for free, and can connect the car to their house as a vehicle-to-home electricity source to mitigate peak power usage.
Connecting clean transport to clean energy is a major component for a more sustainable future, because while electric vehicles may have no tailpipe emissions, the electricity source in many places for charging them certainly does. And although it's still greener in many locations to drive an electric car even if charged with electricity from a coal-fired power plant, using renewable energy to charge them is the ultimate green car solution for the near future.
Buyers of the 2018 Nissan LEAF in some areas of Japan will have the option of putting solar to work at home in order to power their house and charge their new electric car, and to do so without having to take out a big loan to pay for it. A partnership between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Ecosystem Japan which aims to promote the use of clean energy to fuel the LEAF is offering new owners the option to get free installation of a home solar array, as well as a discount on an electricity plan called the "Daytime Assist Plan," and can end up owning the solar array after the end of the 20-year contract.
Sounds like a win/win for both buyers and the local grid, because not only can the solar array be used to charge the LEAF directly during the day, which helps to reduce peak demand, but because the new LEAF includes a vehicle-to-home (V2H) feature, sometimes referred to as a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, it could potentially act as an electricity buffer by acting as a giant 'personal' battery.
Now, if we could only see more of this type of longer-term thinking in more cities and countries worldwide, with partnerships between electric car companies, solar installers, and utility companies that would make it much simpler (and cheaper up-front) to buy and fuel a solar-charged electric vehicle.