Nissan is using old Leaf batteries in very meta way: To power streetlights which will make roads safer for vehicles and pedestrians. Called The Light Reborn, it uses a solar panel that divides a battery, which may then power the Light-emitting diode during the night with no external connection required. Nissan is testing the item today in Namie, Japan, a town which was abandoned after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and plans to do a complete scale installation in the city later this season. Nissan has been testing the idea of used Leaf batteries for a while with his Tesla Powerwall as xStorage program.

The idea of utilizing the batteries within an off grid streetlight, however, is new and seems to be just the start of Nissan’s new push in network and off grid storage. Much like its own alliance partner Renault, Mercedes and others, Nissan also has a grand plan to use batteries from old and destroyed EVs in many ways. One is for residential homes and buildings using solar or wind energy, storing energy and releasing it during the night or when the power goes out. Another is to utilize the batteries for clever stalls which could power cellphones along with other devices.

Ultimately, Nissan unveiled a whimsical scheme, a playground converting the exploding energy of kids into power while they play with. Childrens energy throughout the day keeps the playground bright and secure in nighttime. Much like Renault’s Smart Island, Nissan’s Light Reborn job is much a small scale test and way to advertise its green credentials. Namie, Japan, is an especially poignant location for a test, as the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant lost power during an earth quake and tsunami, resulting in a partial meltdown of the nucleus. Thus far, just Tesla has really made a great impetus to the consumer marketplace with its Powerwall batteries and solar panels. From the time 2020 rolls around, however, and big companies such as VW release mainstream EVs, the notion of recycling automobile batteries for the grid is going to be a good deal more feasible, as well as necessary.

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