Nissan is testing future mobility scenarios in several “Living Labs” underway at Nissan Future Lab. The “Living Lab” research provides user data to help Nissan anticipate and evolve to meet future transportation needs.
The difference between traditional research methods and Nissan’s “Living Labs” is the research relies on networking with external partners – like San Francisco-based Scoot Networks – to uncover opportunities and learn through observing user behaviors.
Nissan’s “Living Labs” focus on vehicle ownership structures, the changing marketplace for vehicle technology and new uses for electric vehicles.
Little Cars Scoot
With the fast-paced growth of smart technologies and the emergence of the sharing economy, Nissan Future Lab is studying different sized and packaged vehicle solutions. Last October, Nissan launched its first “Living Lab” with Scoot Networks to bring 10 Nissan New Mobility Concept Vehicles (NNMC) to Scoot’s fleet in San Francisco. The electric-powered “micromobility” vehicles fit between a small motorcycle and a full-size vehicle and are available for rental using the Scoot app sharing platform. Through the pilot, Nissan is gathering data on city dwellers mobility choices for short distance trips, and the role electric vehicles play as shared transportation options.
The sharing economy also presents new opportunities to leverage vehicle technology. Studying the emerging mobility markets and understanding new business needs – like redistributing shared vehicles to their points of origin – can lead to new applications for still-developing vehicle technologies. The Scoot “Living Lab” is also providing data on vehicle distribution to help Nissan better understand the distance traveled from the origin, popular origin points and other user behaviors.
Nissan is also actively studying the expanded use of electric vehicles including vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. Since 2014, Nissan has participated in a large V2G pilot program with the U.S. Air Force. A fleet of modified Nissan LEAF electric vehicles discharge power back into the gird through a series of bi-directional charging stations. The exchange is used to balance the overall load by absorbing excess power, then putting it back into the grid during times of high demand.
“The Future Lab team is exploring ‘Living Lab’ projects designed to help us better understand the real-world benefits of V2G technology for individual electric vehicle consumers and how it fits into their mobility lifestyle in the future,” added Nguyen.