Growing the Grid

Nissan Looks Back at Developing Highways, Fueling Stations and Similarities to Today

Charlie Yaeger is 97 years old. He has been driving for more than 80 years. He has driven everything from a Ford Model T to Nissan Maxima to a 1916 Baker Electric.

He is a testament to how history repeats itself. And how all change takes time. Charlie remembers when roads were hard to come by and gas stations even more sparse.

“You had to pretty well memorize where the gas stations were and where you could get off the road and have a chance of getting back on after you repaired a tire,” said Yaeger.

It took decades before U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made it a priority to finish building infrastructure before World War II. Fast forward about 60 years to the present. Here is where history happens again.

Nissan has sold more than 50-thousand pure-electric LEAFs. The sales signal a growing need for more EV charging infrastructure. This evolution has fewer hardships though. Instead of memorizing gas station locations like Yaeger did, Nissan LEAF drivers can use an app on a smart phone to find the nearest charger. And instead getting slowed down struggling to change torn tires like Charlie did, LEAF drivers in some states get a fast-pass to drive in the HOV lane.

“Change always takes time. Change also requires the right convergence of things,” said MIT Professor Alex Pentland, director, Human Dynamics Lab.

Electric cars are almost a century old to Yaeger; but, he says this latest electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, takes driving electric to a new level. “It will be another infrastructure evolution,” said Yaeger.

This is the first in a series of video reports under the heading of “Growing the Grid.” It examines what is happening today with the U.S. plug-in charging infrastructure that will lead to mass market acceptance of EV technology.

Nissan LEAF joins the ranks of Sydneysiders

The City of Sydney has taken delivery of 10 Nissan LEAF electric cars, the single largest order of the award-winning electric vehicles in Australia.


The order replaces its former fleet of 10 Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid cars, and will be used by a range of City employees, including building and health inspectors, town planners and engineers.

“They represent the first mass-produced, zero tail-pipe-emissions vehicles on the planet. We are the number one provider of that. Really, there is no emission from this vehicle as it is going down the road,” said William F. Peffer Jr., Managing Director and CEO of Nissan Australia after handing the cars over to City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The City of Sydney became the first council in Australia to achieve formal certification as carbon-neutral under the National Carbon Offset Standard in November 2011, as a result of its benchmark greenhouse gas reduction programs.


“The advantage of a car like this is, in terms of parking, it’s a real issue in the city, and reducing congestion. Congestion is currently costing us AUD$4 billion (USD $4.1 billion) a year, so we have to look at every possible way of reducing it,” said Moore.

The City has installed seven electric charging stations at its public parking stations in Kings Cross and Goulburn Street.

“The zero emissions technology, alternate fuel technology is here to stay and we are at the leading forefront of it. This represents not only our vision but the visions of other municipalities seeing the way we do it and trying to provide for a better future,” added Peffer Jr..

Carbon emissions from charging the electric vehicles will be offset by zero-carbon electricity produced by solar panels installed on City buildings.

The City is installing 5,500 solar panels on 30 of its buildings, including Town Hall House, public buildings, major depots and additional solar panels for electric vehicle charging offsets, the largest building-mounted solar installation in Australia.

“The other thing I hope it will do is to set an example to tiers of government, I’d like to see the federal government fleet in Canberra, I’d like to see the state government fleet in Macquarie Street using sustainable vehicles,” said Moore.

The LEAF’s 24kWh lithium-ion battery can be recharged in seven to eight hours using a normal charger or in around 30 minutes using a quick charger. A trickle charge will replenish the battery in 16 hours.

The Nissan LEAF comes equipped with a variety of advanced technologies, including the use of an in-built solar panel to assist in maintaining battery charge.

Osaka Prefecture to join Nissan EV

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced it will help ease anticipated electricity supply constraints this summer through measures to be taken jointly with the City of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture under the “power saving actions with Nissan LEAF” initiative. Nissan’s contribution to the power saving measures will include the provision of the “LEAF to Home” power supply system.


Free of cost, Nissan will loan 250 sets of Nissan LEAFs paired with “EV Power Station” units, which are made by the Nichicon Corporation. Osaka city and prefectural offices will receive 50 sets, with 200 sets destined for the private sector within the prefecture*. Nissan will be responsible for recruiting individual participants and corporations located in Osaka prefecture. Private sector child and elderly care facilities are eligible to apply.


“LEAF to Home” power units provide an uninterrupted flow of electricity stored in the high-capacity batteries onboard Nissan LEAF electric vehicles (EV) to residential homes. The system will help encourage Nissan LEAF owners to charge their cars with electricity generated during the night, when demand is low, or sourced from solar panels. This assists in balancing energy needs by supplying electricity to homes/offices during daytime, when demand is highest. It can also be used as backup power source in case of a power outage and/or shortages.


At the joint press conference conducted with the City of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said, ” ‘LEAF to Home’ is a totally new system that can help balance energy needs by storing power during the night and consuming it during daytime at homes and offices when demand is high. Power saving is an important national issue we need to address now and throughout the year. We are excited to be able to significantly contribute to this ‘peak (power use) shift’ effort in Osaka by leveraging the capabilities of the ‘LEAF to Home’ system.”

Going forward, Nissan will continuously support power saving efforts with the “LEAF to Home” system in areas where balancing electricity needs is required.

Guidelines for applications for private sector participants

Application period: Tuesday, July 3, 14:00 – Monday, July 16, 18:0

Target: Citizens living in Osaka prefecture and companies (including child and
elderly care-focused facilities based in Osaka
Method: Dedicated website:
Contact: “Power saving action with Nissan LEAF” office
0120-86-6623 (Toll Free)
If a large number of applications are received, recipients will be decided by lottery
Customers will be responsible for the vehicle registration fee and voluntary insurance
Nissan Osaka Sales Co., Ltd. will be in charge of vehicle delivery and after-sale servicing

* The free loan of Nissan LEAFs for this project will end at the end of fiscal year 2012 (March 31, 2013)