2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
While the majority of its vehicles will be gasoline powered for the foreseeable future, Nissan North America has taken more steps towards zero emissions motoring for its headquarters in Franklin, TN with an 18 vehicle solar charging station to supplement the already existing electric vehicle charging facilities there.
Consisting of around 300 square feet of solar panels, the proposed facility should give Nissan an eco-friendly way of charging its electric fleet, provided planning permission is given by Franklin city planners.
Initially the facility will only be available for use by Nissan employees, but John Harris, director of facilities, environmental and systems engineering at Nissan North America confirmed that the public will eventually get to use it in a conversation with The Tennessean’s Kevin Walters
Brighton Earthship Solar Panels by Flickr user Dominic's PicsEnlarge Photo
“Ultimately, there will be a way that the public can use it. We don’t want to have our toys and not share them, if you will”
The charging facility will be grid connected, meaning it will be able to provide power to the electricity grid in low demand periods, and pull extra grid power in high demand periods.
If approved, Nissan North America will be collecting data from the charging facility and sharing it with research partners at the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Electric Power Research Institute in Knoxville.
Nissan’s proposed facility will join already existing public solar charging projects in Pulaski, Tennessee, California and Arizona.
Nissan representatives have not disclosed the cost of the charging stations, referring to the installation as a research facility.
GM Zaragoza SolarEnlarge Photo
Unfortuately, Nissan's project pales into insignificance when compared to General Motor's own solar power installation at its Zaragoza Plant in Spain, where 2 million square feet of solar panels collect almost 12 megawatts of power at full output. Admittedly, the Zaragoza plant is used pirmarily to run the factory, although we think perhaps there's some spare to charge the some 2011 Chevrolet Volts as well.