Nissan's all-electric vehicle, the Leaf, glows in the dark

Team OD Updated: February 12, 2015, 10:15 PM IST

Japanese manufacturer Nissan is perhaps the first carmaker to have come up with the idea - painting its all-electric Leaf in a coat of bright, luminescent paint. Developed in conjunction with Hamish Scott, the creator of Starpath (that luminescent spray-on coating used to light up paths in the dark), the paint absorbs UV rays from sunlight during daytime and reflects it back during the night for a time period that can range from eight to ten hours.


In tune with the Nissan Leaf's green credentials, the paint is prepared using only organic materials. It also consists of a rare earth product called Strontium Aluminate which is said to be chemically and biologically non-reactive.

While various aftermarket companies have applied glow in the dark paint and wraps on cars in the past, Nissan becomes the first manufacturer to have adopted this technology and applied it directly onto its car. The company has not announced any plans of a commercial launch yet. But, in case it does, customers would not have to repaint the car for the next 25 years, says Nissan.

Nissan glow in the dark Leaf

Nissan's little fluorescence project is a bid to promote adoption of solar technology in the UK. Nissan says that the savings made out of running an electric vehicle can be channelled towards installation of solar panels at home, thus doubling the ecological gain out of the car.


Nissan has become the first manufacturer to apply glow-in-the-dark car paint to showcase how its market-leading, all-electric LEAF is helping more and more people convert to solar energy at home. The manufacturer 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 between eight and 10 hours when the sun goes down. While glowing car paint is already available, as are glow-in-the-dark car wraps, the bespoke, ultraviolet-energised paint created especially for Nissan is unique thanks to its secret formula made up of entirely organic materials. It contains a very rare natural earth product called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odourless and chemically and biologically inert. Various third-party companies have applied non-organic glow-in-the-dark paint to vehicles before but Nissan is the first car maker to directly apply such technology. Nissan's unique paint, if made commercially available, would last for 25 years. With running costs of just two pence* or less per mile to run, the UK's 7,500 plus Nissan 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 for the home, which decreases the household carbon footprint and means owners are also effectively charging their vehicle for free. Research revealed recently by Nissan showed that 89% of LEAF owners charge their cars at home overnight. 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 all-electric vehicle with solar panels to power his home. "Running the Nissan LEAF costs a sixth of the amount we'd pay to run a diesel or petrol car," he said. "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." To hear more on LEAF charging using solar energy, see the full interview with Ian here: Nissan Motor GB Limited 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."

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