Nissan unveils a glow-in-the-dark Leaf to shine a light on solar power

If you were a child in the ’90s, you know that things that glow in the dark are just plain cooler than things that don’t.

There are apparently some children of the ’90s working for Nissan in Europe, where the carmaker recently unveiled a Leaf with glow-in-the-dark paint.

The paint is a spray-on material called STARPATH developed by inventor Hamish Scott. It absorbs UV energy during the day, allowing it glow anywhere from eight to 10 hours at night.

While glowing car paint and car wraps are already available, Nissan says the version applied to this Leaf is noteworthy because it uses Strontium Aluminate, which is odorless and chemically and biologically inert.

Nissan says the paint could last 25 years if made commercially available.

There are no plans to sell glow-in-the-dark cars right now, though. Nissan painted the Leaf demo car to promote the use of solar energy for home charging of electric cars.

While battery technology still needs to improve a bit before most home solar units will be able to store energy for discharge at night like the Leaf’s fluorescent paint, many owners both in Europe and the U.S. are making the switch to sun power.

Using renewable energy to charge an electric car at home further lowers its carbon footprint, because it eschews grid electricity that may be generated from coal, oil, or other dirtier sources.

As the price of solar cells continues to drop and customers become more interested in saving both money and the environment, home solar charging could get more popular, even if glow-in-the-dark paint doesn’t.

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