Nissan and GE are set to accelerate their move to electrified transportation, having signed a two-year research and development partnership to come up with a robust and reliable smart charging infrastructure that will lead the way in the mainstream market adoption of electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF.
GE and Nissan will partner in two important focus areas for their research. The first one involves integrating electric vehicles with buildings and homes, while the other one is to check the EV’s charging dynamics with the grid to make sure that they work properly once millions of electric vehicles are on the road.
GE Global Research senior vice president and director Mark Little says that automakers are forming alliances within the industry that go beyond the traditional OEM partnerships. Little says that one of the biggest connections made in the current move toward electric vehicles is between an automaker and a company that generates and distributes electricity. Little explains that GE is in the position to help automakers bring millions of electric cars to the grid thanks to their experience in manufacturing power generators and in providing energy related services.
Nissan Americas senior vice president for research and development Carla Bailo says that the research partnership is proof of the carmaker’s commitment to introduce zero emission mobility to the mainstream market. Bailo says that GE’s expertise with energy networks will help the Japanese automaker develop better conditions in the market for the Nissan LEAF and other electric vehicles. It also adds value for their current and future customers.
The agreement will bring together the leaders in two major industries who in turn will work together to improve adoption rates of electric cars. More than 25 percent of electricity worldwide is generated or distributed by GE equipment, so the company brings its expertise of the power grid infrastructure to help solve problems with integrating millions of electric vehicles into the grid around the world. Meanwhile, Nissan is the recognized leader in zero emission cars, thanks to the LEAF. Nissan is looking to create and nurture new partnerships and technologies to hasten mass market adoption for electric vehicles and guarantee their successful integration into the power grid.
A variety of projects are already underway. One of the projects seeks to find ways that Nissan LEAF and other electric cars may be integrated with GE’s smart home concept. Nissan’s engineers are creating ways to connect the vehicles to the home, so that it becomes part of the home’s energy equipment. It will investigate how the electric car would affect the cost of electricity and loads in the home.
In another project, researchers will be looking at usage data, as well as modeling and simulation experiments to see how millions of electric cars would affect the electrical distribution system.