By Steve & Tami Laser
It’s nighttime and we’re gazing out the window at a row of parked cars. We can see their silhouettes in the moonlight, yet there’s nothing to distinguish one car from another. If Nissan’s latest innovation takes off, one day the cars outside might be instantly recognizable thanks to its new glow-in-the-dark automotive paint.
Nissan Motor GB says that it’s become the first auto manufacturer to apply glow-in-the-dark car paint. It partnered with inventor Hamish Scott, creator of STARPATH, a spray-applied coating that absorbs UV energy during the day so that it glows for between eight to 10 hours at night.
Nissan says that while glowing car paint is already on the market, and so are glow-in-the-dark car wraps, the bespoke, ultraviolet-energized paint created especially for Nissan is unique due to its “secret formula” made up of entirely organic materials. It contains a “very rare natural earth product called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odorless and chemically and biologically inert.”
While various third-party companies have applied non-organic glow-in-the-dark paint to vehicles before, Nissan says it’s the first carmaker to directly apply such technology, and that its unique paint, if made commercially available, “would last for 25 years.”
Nissan applied the paint to its British-built Leaf to make another statement. Just like the sun’s UV rays can make a car glow at night, owners who install solar panels in their homes are using the sun to generate renewable energy.
Nissan says that “With running costs of just two pence* or less per mile, the UK’s 7,500 plus Nissan Leaf owners have reported significant savings and are using the money they save on a wide variety of items. Among the more popular are solar panels for the home, which decreases the household carbon footprint and means owners are also effectively charging their vehicle for free.”
Research revealed by Nissan showed that 89 percent of Leaf owners charge their cars at home overnight. The automaker says that “although solar panels do not store energy or provide it outside of daylight, any leftover power generated during the day is fed back into the national grid and homeowners can get a Government payment for it, meaning that the overnight charge is already paid for.”
Leaf owner Ian Finch is one of those who has combined the savings offered by running an all-electric vehicle with solar panels to power his home. “Running the Nissan Leaf costs a sixth of the amount we’d pay to run a diesel or petrol car,” he said. “Overall, we are probably using 25 percent less electricity thanks to our solar panels and it’s a fantastic experience to be able to drive the Leaf using electricity that’s been produced completely for free.”
* (Notes from Nissan:) From 2p per mile is based on (i) overnight electricity costs (British Gas standard tariff unit rates for a customer paying by direct debit as of 1 May 2014, assuming seven hours of charging at the night rate and one hour on the day rate), and (ii) a range of up to 124 miles per full charge (assuming 95% efficiency). Actual consumption and range may vary due to driving style, road condition, air conditioning and other factors outside of Nissan’s control.
(Information in this story applies to Nissan Leaf vehicles in the United Kingdom.)
News source, photos and video from Nissan UK
Story (text) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com