Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: ORNL to assist Nissan with electric car power recharge needs

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 6, 2009 — Nissan's plan to build 5,000 short-haul electric cars with a range of 100 miles will get a boost from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The laboratory will help to provide a solar power infrastructure to relieve the nation's electric grid power supply, according to ORNL's Dana Christensen.

"If we have lots of cars that plug into the grid all at once, it would put a huge demand on the grid, damage the grid or take out portions of the grid," said Christiansen, ORNL's associate laboratory director for energy and engineering sciences. "What the laboratory has proposed to do is to look at how we can buffer that impact onto the electric grid. That buffer would come in the form of providing solar recharging stations."

Christensen said there are alternatives to regular solar recharging stations.

"An alternative would be to actually charge battery packs on ground," Christian said. "When you drove you car up, you could recharge your car off the battery pack. Another variant would be to actually have that solar panel connected to the grid so that when the cars are not present, electricity would be produced by the solar panel and put onto the grid and could be used for normal activities."

Christensen says the new electric vehicles could be on the road between the next 6 to 18 months.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.