If you live in Japan and pull into a roadside rest area station sometime soon, don’t be surprised if you see a Nissan Leaf parked there. The reason why? It is likely tied to a Leaf to Home power supply system providing energy for the station’s needs in addition to being used by local communities for transportation needs.
Nissan said it plans to donate starting this month one used Leaf and related power system to at least one roadside rest area (called michi-no-eki in Japanese) to each prefecture in the country it calls home. In Japan these michi-no-eki areas have
three functions: a rest area for travelers; as an information source for local residents as well as road users; and offers a cooperative community function in which towns reach out to each other to work together to build develop vibrant communities centered an activities held at the michi-no-eki stations. As the stations are public facilities often located alongside important arterial roads, in recent years they serve as bases of operations during natural disasters.
The idea of the combination of the Nissan electric car and power supply system is that power can be supplied from the electric vehicle to “some parts of a michi-no-eki’s facilities through in case of power outages caused by disasters.” When not used in these capacities, the cars could also be used “as vehicles to transport the elderly and expecting mothers who find it difficult to purchase food and daily commodities at the roadside stations’ stores.”
It was not mentioned when all of the installations would be completed, but given the natural disasters Japan has been through in recent years, sooner rather than later is certainly a grand idea.