Nissan has unveiled a fully electric emergency response vehicle concept it says could help save lives during natural disasters or other extreme weather events.
Based on the Nissan Leaf EV, the Re-Leaf (get it?) is a working prototype which could serve as mobile battery to supply power in emergency situations.
A 2019 World Bank report found natural disasters were the biggest cause of power outages, which typically lasts from 24-48 hours.
The Re-Leaf can be driven into a disaster zone, aided by modifications to help it negotiate roads covered in debris.
It then uses weatherproof plug sockets mounted on the exterior of the vehicle which enable 110-230v devices to be powered from the lithium-ion battery, including critical medical, communications, lighting and other life-supporting equipment.
With a fully charged 62kW/h battery, it could power a jack hammer, pressure ventilation fan, 10-litre soup kettle, intensive care medical ventilator and 100 watt LED flood light all at the same time for 24 hours.
Though the Re-Leaf is only a concept, Nissan has been using the Leaf to provide emergency power and transportation following natural disasters in Japan since 2011, forming partnerships with more than 60 local governments to support disaster relief efforts.
The Re-Leaf uses vehicle to grid technology available on the current Leaf, which allows the vehicle to take on and store power, before sending it the other way to provide energy in a variety of settings.
Nissan Europe’s head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure Helen Perry said the benefits of EVs are still being discovered.
“We’re constantly exploring ways that electric vehicles can enrich our lives, beyond just zero-emission transportation,” she said.
“Electric vehicles are emerging as one of the technologies that can improve resilience in the power sector.
“By having thousands of EVs available on standby, either as disaster-support vehicles or plugged into the network through vehicle-to-grid, they’re uniquely capable of creating a virtual power plant to maintain a supply of energy during a major outage.”