It is often in a crisis when good decisions pay off. For Daijo Kurosawa, it was the night when his neighborhood in suburban Tokyo suffered a blackout. His home turned out to be the only one where the rooms remained lit and appliances like the family’s refrigerator carried on humming – all thanks to the electricity stored in his Nissan LEAF.
“Whenever there is a power failure, we know that we can rely on our LEAF as a power source - not only for us as a family, but also for our neighbors,” says Kurosawa. “It is such a relief to me to own a car which can help us when there is a problem or even a disaster.”
In the Kurosawa household, the Nissan LEAF is more than a car. The family home has a solar-powered energy source, which can be used to charge the LEAF. At night, this energy is released back to power the home through a Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) system, which makes it possible to share energy between the home and an electric vehicle. By combining electricity from the grid and private power generation, the V2H system can help reduce daily energy consumption compared to a traditional home that relies solely on the grid for power.
“If it fits your lifestyle, then the Nissan LEAF should be more than a replacement for your gasoline-powered car,” says Kurosawa. “Particularly for people with solar panels at home, it is definitely worth your while to calculate the savings you can make, provided you own a LEAF.”
From Chance Encounter to Early Adopter Challenge
Back in 2007, Kurosawa was impressed after reading a story on the LEAF’s development and made up his mind to buy the EV even without a test drive.
“I found it fascinating that EVs run on a battery similar to a radio-controlled model car or a mini 4WD,” Kurosawa recalls. "That was intriguing for me.”
While the Nissan LEAF is now one of the most-popular EVs, with more than 500,000 cars sold worldwide, many saw EVs as a futuristic mobility solution and Kurosawa’s wife Fumiko was no different.
In the beginning, she was not convinced that the family should buy a Nissan LEAF. “Firstly, I told my husband that we cannot afford such a luxury car,” says Fumiko. “I doubted everything about the LEAF - including its range, battery power and ease of charging, because I had no idea how EVs work.”
Her husband, however, did not give up on his EV dream. It took him almost a year to talk her into buying a Nissan LEAF. “There were no Vehicle-to-Home systems back then,” Kurosawa explains, “So I told her that in the future we can use the energy stored in the car battery to supplement our home electricity. And with solar power, we can further minimize our energy expenses.”
Eventually, Fumiko was swayed by Daijo’s enthusiasm and the family bought their first Nissan LEAF in 2012. “I quickly realized that for our daily use the range of the car is no issue at all,” she says. “What I love most about the LEAF, though, is its comfortable ride - very quiet and stable on the move.”
Choosing a car for the family and the environment
Zero emission was another key reason why Kurosawa was keen to own a Nissan LEAF. “I take environmental issues seriously, the fact that EVs don’t emit exhaust emission was crucial for me,” says Kurosawa. One reasons why he insisted on a zero emissions car was his son Kazuki, who suffered from childhood asthma, which is often caused by air pollution from cars.
“The Nissan LEAF was the choice reflecting my strong will to protect my family as well as the environment,” says Kurosawa. “I really wanted to make sure that at least the car that we own is zero-emission.”
Kazuki, now 17 years old, is about to get driver’s license and the LEAF is one of the cars he would like to drive. “Among a bunch of fond memories with the Nissan LEAF, I particularly enjoyed the meetings of LEAF owners,” he says with a smile. “Now I am really looking forward to participate as a driver, meet new people and see how others experience the LEAF.”