Last December, Nissan showed off a Leaf electric vehicle finished with a unique paint that absorbs ultra-violet (UV) light energy and other visible radiation during daylight, enabling it to glow at night.
The paint is said to contain a rare natural earth product called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odourless and chemically and biologically inert.
A few months earlier, a similar concept was employed on a 600-metre stretch of highway in Oss, Netherlands, where road lane markings were painted with luminescent paint that is charged by solar energy during the day and glows for up to 10 hours after dark.
Inevitably, the two had to meet. And so they did, for a glowing photo op.
"To have the world’s first glow-in-the-dark car on our road is a privilege and it mirrors goals that we want to achieve with our Smart Highway” said Daan Roosegaarde, whose firm designed the highway marker system.
The Glowing Lines project is aimed at increasing visibility and safety on that stretch of highway, without the need for electric lighting. It is intended as a pilot project that, if successful, could be expanded to highways anywhere.
The glow-in-the dark Leaf isn't destined for such practical applications but rather to call attention to the energy available from sunlight as a means of encouraging Leaf owners to install solar energy systems in their homes.
Although solar panels don't provide energy when there is no daylight, nor do they store energy, power generated during the day can be fed back into the grid for compensation that can be applied towards the energy used for recharging the vehicle's batteries overnight.