Nissan Motor and a Hitachi subsidiary said Friday they plan to roll out a system to keep elevators running during blackouts by drawing power from the batteries of electric vehicles (EVs).

Few cars today are capable of bi-directional charging, where vehicles can become a power source for homes, or feed energy back into the grid, though carmakers such as Ford and Renault are among those jumping on the bandwagon.

In what appears to be an early attempt in earthquake-prone Japan to make wider use of EV batteries, Nissan and Hitachi Building Systems are focused on keeping elevators running when the power supply is disrupted.

During a pilot project unveiled on Friday, the firms said they had kept an elevator with capacity for nine people running at slow speed for 10 hours by drawing power from the battery of a Sakura, a fully electric kei car made by Nissan.

The V2X system uses the CHAdeMO charging standard supported by Nissan, a Hitachi Building Systems executive said.

That allows it to also draw power from larger Nissan EVs, such as the Ariya and Leaf models.

Tatsunori Takahashi, a director in the domestic business management division of Hitachi Building Systems, said he hopes the firm will start providing the system to apartment buildings from the financial year starting in April.