Electric cars don't pollute the air, are quiet and offer great mileage but officials in Yokohama claim that they have another attribute: they can feed the electricity network. Since electric vehicles are battery-run, officials believe they could store energy and channel it back into the home or even provide electricity to the community if it was connected to a central grid.
Yokohama is one of four cities in Japan testing the Smart City concept, bringing together power companies, electronics firms and others. The Yokohama vision sees businesses and homes connected to a smart grid that combines electricity and telecommunications to make the most efficient use of energy across a community.
Nissan Motor Co. is providing the EVs and is giving out tips on where best to place charging spots around town. Solar panels will be placed on rooftops, and instead of having a separate storage unit, electric cars will capture that energy.
The City says, the car would then run on clean energy and give power to households when demand arises. The director of Yokohama's Climate Change Policy Headquarters, Tetsuya Nakajima, says that electric cars would play a very important role in this kind of city.
In the next five years, Yokohama, the headquarters of Nissan, aims to have 2,000 EVs in use in three neighborhoods, comprising 170,000 households and 420,000 residents.
Nakajima adds that with a population of 3.7 million, the city of Yokohama targets a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 from 1990 levels, and 80 percent by 2050. [via autonews - sub. required]