LONDON -- Nissan in Europe plans to enter the energy storage market with wall-mounted batteries adapted from old Leaf electric cars.
Nissan's xStorage energy storage boxes, which are powered by 12 EV battery modules, will give the Leaf batteries a 'second life' after their first life in cars is over, the automaker said in a statement.
The xStorage boxes will cost 4,000 euros ($4,600) fully installed, Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox said at an event here on Tuesday. The automaker expects to sell 100,000 of the storage boxes in Europe over the next five years, he said.
Nissan is following Tesla Motors, which already markets a similar product called Powerwall.
Nissan's boxes are less powerful at 4.2kwh against Tesla’s 6.4kwh, but could work out cheaper. Tesla hasn’t quoted a price with installation for its Powerwall units in Europe.
Nissan said customers can charge the xStorage boxes at night when electricity prices are cheaper, then power their home at peak times. The boxes could also be used to store energy generated by solar power that currently might be wasted. A more distant scenario imagined by Nissan is that customers are paid by energy suppliers for borrowing stored energy.
The boxes give Nissan a fresh revenue stream for the Leaf and will offset some of the financial hit the automaker takes by discounting the car in Europe.
Nissan owns most of the Leafs on the road worldwide because 90 percent were bought through leasing deals.
Few of the cars, which first went on sale in 2010, have been scrapped but Nissan said enough high-mileage Leafs used as taxis have come off the road to kick start xStorage box sales.
A single 24kwh Leaf battery pack can make four wall boxes.
Nissan’s head of EV Europe, Gareth Dunsmore, said he expected battery costs to come down enough by the end of the decade to be able to supply wall boxes with fresh batteries and still be profitable. Right now he said that wasn’t the case. Nissan will pay at least 1,000 to buy back Leafs, he said.
The xStorage boxes are made in Italy to Nissan’s design by electric switchgear specialist Eaton.
Surplus power trial
Separately Nissan said it will launch a trial this year to allow electric car owners in Britain to sell electricity back to the National Grid energy system operator and potentially make money in the process.