In the best of both worlds researchers are testing whether it is possible to recharge electric vehicles using solar-generated power alone.

If successful owners of electric vehicles could end up paying absolutley nothing for the power that runs their vehicles.

It’s a joint project funded by the Victorian Government, in partnership with Nissan, Delta Electronics and Australia’s own CSIRO.

Charge stations that include advanced technologies developed by the CSIRO have been installed at Nissan Australia’s national headquarters in Dandenong South, Melbourne.

They will be used to evaluate off-grid electric vehicle (EV) charging, using solar power and battery back-up in all conditions.

Nissan of course manufactures the best selling electric LEAF EV.

The aim is to confirm and enhance the environmental advantages, and cost savings, which come with owning an EV by maximising the use of renewable energies.

Once the full study is complete, it paves the way to have solar power chargers installed without requiring updates to grid connections, and in areas that don’t have access to grid power.

Delta Electronics developed the cabinets that combine a solar system with battery storage and EV charging, while the CSIRO focused on the module that integrates with solar and battery systems to help charge multiple vehicles quickly, regardless of the weather.

Important infrastructure for the research has been installed at Nissan including a 5kW solar system to power the two solar charging units at the front of Nissan Australian’s head office, and another two charging units connected to a 10kW solar system positioned at the rear of the property.

Nissan is performing the testing and evaluation of the project using multiple Nissan LEAF EVs.

Victoria Minister for energy, Environment & Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, who approved the $210,000 grant from the New Energy Jobs Fund (NEJF), recognises the importance of this project.

“We know we need to reduce emissions in the transport sector and one of the best ways we can do that is to support partnerships like this one,” she said.

“By encouraging electric vehicle take up, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and increase job opportunities in Victoria.

“This battery smart storage platform means electric vehicle drivers can travel more confidently and enjoy the drive.”

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.