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 |  Jul 12 2011, 10:30 AM

Do you feel that your electric vehicle isn’t clean enough because it uses power from the grid to charge up your car, and the grid could be run on fossil fuels?

To make your green motoring even greener, Nissan and 4R Energy has teamed up to develop a new EV charging system, that makes use of solar power.

This system combines the solar power generator system with high-capacity lithium ion batteries to re-energize your car. Testing with this new system has begun today at Nissan’s HQ in Yokohama, Japan.

The system uses solar power to generate power, and it then stores the acquired energy in lithium ion battery packs. So when a Leaf wants to get charged up, it can take use of the stored energy in these battery packs. A quick charge will take 3-hours, while a normal charge requires an extra hour. Nissan believes this facility will be able to charge 1800 LEAF’s annually.

The added benefit of this set-up is having energy to charge your car with green energy, at anytime of day or even during bad weather.

Currently this is just a test project, but if successful will lead to more such stations for public and fleet services.

 |  May 16 2011, 7:19 AM


Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are looking to jump-start the American electric car industry, to use the hackneyed pun. With Department of Energy research funding going towards battery development, Chu believes that their goal of a car that can make LA to Las Vegas on one charge, and sell for $25,000 without a government subsidy, will be attainable in 6 years.

Chu said that the DOE is currently funding research to lower the cost of electric-vehicle batteries by half within the next three or four years, and increase their energy density trifold within six years. Currently, America only builds 1% of advanced batteries in the world, but the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will invest in more battery research and create more manufacturing plants, securing more jobs.

Eventually, Chu hopes that the $25,000 price will come without federal subsidies for owners. But right now, with the cost of highly-efficient batteries still sky-high, he is working to turn the current $7,500 tax credit into an instant rebate so EV owners won’t have to wait until April.

Los Angeles is in on the program too: the city currently has 90 electric charging stations, but Villaraigosa is planning 400 more in and around the city.

[Source: LA Times]