Amid all the glitz and glamour of the exotic car debuts atGeneva auto show last week, Nissan’s unveiling of its Intelligent Mobility concept was largely overlooked. This is understandable since Nissan’s idea isn’t quite as eye-catching as, say, the 1,500-horespower Bugatti Chiron that was unveiled in Geneva.
But Nissan’s vision to combine the wireless charging of electric vehicles with autonomous driving, the Internet of Things and distributed energy is just as bold, and perhaps even more unobtainable than the Bugatti Chiron.
The concept caps a 12-month partnership with the renowned British architectural firm of Foster + Partners to show what the automaker calls “a snapshot of what’s to come from Nissan’s vision for Intelligent Mobility – a world in which cars interact with their environment as populations.”
Nissan added that the project shows “how vehicle-to-grid, battery storage, wireless charging, autonomous drive technology and over-the-air connectivity could combine to revolutionize how energy is used and distributed across Europe’s major cities.”
Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility concept relies in part on street-based wireless EV charging, with autonomous driving adding the ability to precisely align a vehicle with a wireless charging hub, which is critical to fast charging. After fully charging, an electric self-driving car would drive autonomously elsewhere so that another robotic EV could use the same wireless charging hub.
The fully charged car could then be used to provide power to a home and also store electrical energy from sources such as residential solar panels and wind turbines, and even supply power back to the grid. Nissan imagines that “second-life” EV batteries could also be used to store energy, and the automaker is currently conducting a trial of a vehicle-to-grid system in Europe to prove the concept.
In one of the most elaborate and futuristic elements of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility concept, the automaker envisions autonomous cars driving into office buildings, parking themselves and becoming part of the power source for the workplace. And it foresees the parking lots and fueling stations that would become antiquated making room for parks and other public spaces. (See for yourself in the video below.)