GLOWING LEAF: Nissan claims to be the first automaker to apply special UV paint enabling its electric Leaf to glow up to 10 hours in the dark.Image: Nissan
• First glow-in-the-dark car UV paint
• Paint to last 25 years
• Charge Leaf with “free” electricity
Nissan claims to be the first automaker to apply special ultraviolet (UV) glow-in-the-dark car paint as its hopes to persuade customers to drive its electric Leaf hatchback, launched in South Africa in 2013.
Nissan worked with inventor Hamish Scott, creator of Starpath, which is a spray-applied coating that absorbs UV energy during the day so that it glows for from eight and 10 hours in the dark.
While glowing car paint is already available, as are glow-in-the-dark car wraps, the bespoke, UV-energised paint was created for Nissan, the formula of which is made of entirely organic materials. One of the ingredients is a rare material called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odourless as well as chemically and biologically inert.
Various third-party companies have applied non-organic glow-in-the-dark paint to vehicles before but Nissan claims it’s the first automaker to directly apply such technology. Nissan says its unique paint, if made commercially available, could last 25 years.
VIDEO: Nissan’s glow-in-the-dark Leaf
Nissan UK reports that the 7500 Leafs sold in that country have a running costs the equivalent of 36 cents per 1.6km. The automaker claims its Leaf owners have reported significant savings and are using the money they save on a wide variety of items; among the more popular of these are solar panels, which decreases their household carbon-footprint and also means they can charge their car for free.
LIVING WITH A LEAF
Nissan’s research showed that that 89% of Leaf owners charge their cars at home overnight.
The automaker said: "Although solar panels do not store energy or provide it outside of daylight, any leftover power generated during the day is fed back into the national grid and homeowners can get a government payment for it, meaning that the overnight charge is already paid for."
Leaf owner Ian Finch is one of those who has combined the savings offered by running an electric vehicle with solar panels to power his home.
Finch said: "Running the Nissan Leaf costs a sixth of the amount we’d pay to run a diesel or petrol car.
"Overall, we are probably using 25% less electricity thanks to our solar panels and it’s a fantastic experience to be able to drive the Leaf using electricity that’s been produced completely for free."
Watch Finch explain his savings with solar panels and driving a Leaf
Nissan EV manager, Paul O’Neill, said: “The Nissan Leaf is a shining beacon of sustainability and the future of motoring.
“Not only is it saving our customers money in running costs but it we are now seeing how it is helping people become more environmentally sensitive by reducing their carbon footprint.”