While Nissan is working on more eco-friendly cars, it isn’t exactly in the lead. Yet, Nissan has found that solar power can make an impact on cars that aren’t necessarily labeled as eco-friendly, aren’t flex-fuel, aren’t even marketed as solar powered. And more importantly, solar power going into cars can make an impact on the company’s bottom line well after the cars leave the manufacturing plant.
Cars waiting to be purchased can sit in lots for a long, long time. The effect of sitting out in all sorts of weather conditions for a month or two can mean batteries lose their charge – not a good thing for a brand new car going to an excited customer. Manufacturers need to replace these discharged batteries, and that adds up to a whole lot of money when we factor in the sheer number of vehicles on lots around the world, especially for a large car maker like Nissan.
To fix the problem and keep batteries from needing to be replaced, Nissan has partnered with ICP Solar Technologies Inc who will provide OEM solar chargers that suction to dash boards of waiting cars. The trickle charge from the solar power unit keeps batteries from being discharged and therefore keeps them from needing replacement. This has worked for Nissan Europe and the program is being extended to Nissan North America. ICP Solar Technologies Inc created a similar deal with Volkswagen in 2006, so apparently it is a proven technique.
The solar devices can be taken out of a sold car and put into a new arrival. Nissan will keep millions in their pockets now that they don’t have to swap out old, yet hardly used batteries, and keeping batteries useful longer takes a bit of the load off Mother Earth, too.
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