(Pocket-lint) – Nissan has shown off a concept disaster relief vehicle based on the Nissan Leaf.
Called the Re-Leaf – geddit? – it’s designed to show the benefits that an electric vehicle can bring to a disaster scenario, namely that it’s sitting on a big battery that can be used on site.
Power outages are a common problem is disaster situations and it can take 24-48 hours for the electricity to be restored, which is where the Re-Leaf comes in.
With a 64kWh battery, the idea is that it can be driven to where you need to power and thanks to external sockets, you can then power whatever tools and equipment you might need, from jackhammers to floodlights to emergency medical equipment, without the need to fire up a massive dirty diesel generator, which is the norm.
The Nissan Leaf here is based on the Leaf e+ Tekna, but has been modified with all-terrain tyres, a wider track and lifted to give greater ground clearance. There’s under-body protection too, so it’s a little more rugged and suited to broken roads.
In this concept there a mobile command centre setup in the rear of the car too, but you can see the practical applications of electric vehicles deployed in this sort of situation, because you’re bringing the power supply right to where you need it – and the Leaf supports bi-directional charging, meaning it can not only pull in electricity from the grid to charge the battery, but release the charge in the battery back out to power other things.
Nissan says that a fully-charged 62kWh Leaf would power an average UK household for around 6 days off a single charge.
While this concept is just showcasing what might be done, the Leaf has been put to use for disaster support in Japan already, for example, to support communities in the aftermath of 2019 Typhoon Faxai, where Leafs were sent in to use their batteries to power fridges, freezers, lighting and to charge phones.
Writing by Chris Hall.