Are electric vehicles (EVs) necessarily environmentally friendly? For this to be the case, the electricity used to power them must be generated from 'clean' sources. Moreover, if such vehicles are going to be 'green' right to the end, then all the auto parts will have to be recycled as well, including the battery! Now a new initiative by Nissan in this field could serve as an inspiration to other automobile manufacturers. The idea is to re-use the EV batteries to power public lighting.
The stated aim of the project, launched at the end of last month in the town of Namie in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, which was profoundly impacted by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011, is to make roads safer for both motorists and pedestrians. Under the name of Reborn Light, the installation also has a consciously artistic purpose.
The major asset of batteries originally designed for electric cars is their ability to function independently of the electric power grid. They will be used in emergency situations or in remote areas. They can also serve to store electricity purchased at a low price outside peak hours.
This innovative approach may be used to complement other ways of lighting streets and roads in an optimal manner and at lower cost. For instance, in Las Vegas kinetic energy produced by the footsteps of passing pedestrians is now being used to supplement solar power in lighting up street lamp-posts, while the UK has been testing a system of using magnetic fields created by vibrations from the road to recharge electric vehicles.
By Sophia Qadiri