Nissan & GE Sign Research Agreement

Nissan has delivered 7,000 of its all-electric LEAFs in the United States.

Nissan has delivered 7,000 of its all-electric LEAFs in the United States. Which is impressive for a couple reasons. One is that so far the car has been available in just seven states. The other is that according to Robert C. Sump, vice president, Components Engineering, Nissan Technical Center North America, there have been 15,000 LEAFs delivered globally, so the penetration in the U.S. is, comparatively speaking, high. Sump said that the vehicle will be available in 22 states by the end of 2011. It will be available throughout the U.S. by late 2012. And the production of the LEAF at the Nissan complex in Smyrna, TN, is still on track for late 2012, as well.

While it may be some time before there are millions of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in the U.S. Nissan and GE have decided that it is important to have a better understanding of the implications and ramifications on the electrical grid as well as on the consumer household of the proliferation of EVs. They are getting ahead of the curve.

Today they announced a two-year research collaboration that will be specifically focused on a better understanding of:

1. The integration of EVs on homes and buildings

2. The impact of EVs on the grid

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As GE-produced equipment generates or distributes 25% of the world’s electricity, it is more than somewhat interested in the implications of EVs. What’s more, GE has a “Smart Home” initiative in which there are devices and controls (the “Brillion” monitor and the “Nucleus” energy manager) that will allow homeowners to monitor and adjust energy usage. As Mark Little, senior vice president and director, GE Global Research, observes, the EV becomes, in effect, “another appliance on the grid,” so its implications need to be part of the understanding they are trying to gain.

Here’s another interesting development: Nissan is the host company for the SAE World Congress. Host companies select a Tier One company to work with them as a partner.

Nissan has selected GE.

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