IT’S the car that glows in the dark, and it’s shining a light for solar energy.
The vehicle in question comes courtesy of Nissan, which has become the first manufacturer to apply glow-in-the-dark paint to showcase how its all-electric LEAF model is helping people convert to solar energy at home.
The Japanese brand teamed up with inventor Hamish Scott, the creator of a spray-applied coating called STARPATH 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, the ultraviolet-energised paint created for Nissan is unique thanks to a secret formula made up of entirely organic materials.
It contains a rare natural earth product called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odourless and chemically and biologically inert.
Nissan’s unique paint, if made commercially available, would last for 25 years.
With running costs of 2p or less per mile to run, many of the UK’s 7,500-plus LEAF owners have been using the money saved on items like solar panels for the home.
Research from Nissan shows that 89 per cent of LEAF owners charge their cars at home overnight.
And although solar panels don’t store energy or provide it outside of daylight, any leftover power generated 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 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 per cent 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.”