Nissan to Keep Batteries Fresh with Solar

Nissan has figured out a way to keep the batteries of its newly manufactured cars fresh until they reach the customer – solar. The automaker announced today it has signed a sales contract with solar product maker ICP Solar Technologies for an automotive solar charger.

Newly minted cars can sit in a parking lot for over a month before being shipped or purchased by a customer. In that time, the battery can get drained. ICP’s charger will sit on the car’s dashboard and provide a trickle charge to keep the new battery topped off and ready for a new customer.

ICP Solar says this will save Nissan millions because the automaker won’t have to swap out the old, but barely used, batteries. The Montreal-based solar maker signed a similar agreement with Volkswagen in 2006 when it debuted its automotive OEM solar charger.

Solar is starting to be an attractive option for some automakers to help keep car’s electrical systems powered. Toyota is considering offering a Prius model with a solar roof. Fisker Automotive’s Karma will also rock a solar roof, which the company says will power the A/C. An entirely solar-powered commercial car is a ways off, but one built by Swiss engineers actually drove through the Bay Area last week, complete with a 6-square-meter solar panel trailer.

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