Nissan Experiments with Car Sharing, More EVs

Add Nissan to the bandwagon of automakers that are working on car sharing and more EVs.

The company created the Nissan Future Lab in 2014 to research changes in the automotive industry as well as how the company could stay abreast of trends. It seems that the Future Lab has come to a conclusion that’s in line with the rest of the industry – that car-sharing and electric vehicles are the way of the near future.

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The Future Lab, collaborating with Scoot Networks, uses “living labs” – research that observes user behavior – to predict future trends.

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“Working within the living lab framework allows Nissan to experiment out in the marketplace,” Rachel Nguyen, executive director, Nissan Future Lab, said in a press release. “By combining our hardware with outside software, services and systems into collaborative beta tests, Nissan has the opportunity to develop new products and service offerings that fit in the new mobility economy.”

San Francisco-based Scoot and Nissan worked together to deploy a fleet of 10 Nissan New Mobility concept vehicles (these vehicles are also known as the Renault Twizy) that could be summoned via app by living-lab participants, with the idea of getting a better look at exactly how and why urban residents use car-sharing programs. The program also helps improve the logistics of car-sharing systems.

Another project, began in 2014, uses a partnership between Nissan and the U.S. Air Force to study how electric cars could be used to support the electric grid when not in use. Nissan used a bunch of their Leaf EVs to store excess electricity that could be returned to the grid during times of peak demand.

“The Future Lab team is exploring ‘Living Lab’ projects designed to help us better understand the real-world benefits of V2G technology for individual electric vehicle consumers and how it fits into their mobility lifestyle in the future,” Nguyen said.