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Nissan testing charging stations that combine solar with lithium-ion batteries

4R Energy Corporation, the joint venture between Nissan and Sumitomo, is testing seven charging stations that combine solar power generation systems with high-capacity lithium-ion battery packs at Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.

The unique charging systems store electricity generated by solar cells in lithium-ion batteries. Currently, 4R Energy is testing three quick-charge and four Level II stations located on the grounds of Nissan's headquarters. The Japanese automakers say the total generated electricity is enough to charge one Nissan Leaf approximately 1,800 times a year.

This system, according to 4R Energy, is a feasible second-life option for li-ion batteries that no longer pack the punch required for electric vehicle duty. In this way, 4R Energy sees spent Leaf battery packs powering road-going Leafs. How's that for innovative thinking?