2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Simply put, if your power went out, your smart circuits within your home-charging box would allow your plugged-in electric car to feed power back into your home—enough to provide about two days of power to a typical Japanese household (or more than a day to the typical U.S. one).
It’s an idea that several automakers are already at work on, but with the disaster a recent memory here, the CEOs of both Nissan (‘Leaf to home’) and Mitsubishi mentioned it in their Tokyo Motor Show addresses, and even Denso was showcasing the idea on its stand.
And it makes a lot of sense. After the earthquake, 80 percent of Japanese households had their electricity back within three days, while it took gasoline supplies more than three weeks to get back to 70 percent and natural gas even longer.
It also invites the question, if a Leaf, or Volt, or MiEV could give pinch-hit as an emergency, event, or picnic generator, how many more EVs would be sold?