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Leaf electric cars

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Last updated by Joy Kitt

What if your car could power your home?  I was watching TV the other night and I saw a car ad for an electric car that made me scoff.  The tag line asked if you liked the idea of your car powering your home.  It was hard to tell if it actually could now or if it was still on the drawing board. Ha - I said!  As if the authorities would let you do that!

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However when I did a little research I found that the Nissan Leaf is doing just that in Japan.  It is a technology that has been developed since the tsunami in 2011.  Their desire is to add to the self-sufficiency householders could experience and have power use be as efficient as possible - that your car isn't a fuel store but a fuel cell.

If your class is finding out about electicity, energy, batteries, car design.....this could be a great question for them to discuss.  It seems that personal transport is going to continue for the forseeable future so isn't it great that the manufacturers are thinkng about how to make them more useful?  I am sure the people on Staten Island, NY after Hurrican Sandy would like to plug their toasters into the car right now! 

When you check out the Science matrices this conversation fits neatly into "Developing Interest and Relating Scientific Learning to the Wider World" where you can guide them to consider social issues related to science.  How would  life change if you were making your own power?  How would costs change?  How/where would you power up the car? What if cars were generating the power as they ran - like a dynamo?  What would happen to the power companies, the dams, the windmills and so on that are generating power now?  Would they still operate to power industry while householders looked after themselves?  

This is very new technology and the ability to use the car's power is not universal.  However the fact that it is being considered may be giving us glimpse of the future - the future the children in your class may be living in!