Nissan turns Leaf EV into a mobile emergency power station

Nissan's RE-LEAF concept shows how EVs can have broader applications and that a crossover version of the Leaf EV hatch wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

Nissan RE-LEAF concept

Nissan has revealed a rugged emergency response version of Leaf electric hatchback that’s designed to provide a mobile power supply following natural disasters or extreme weather events. 

Called RE-LEAF (get it?) the working prototype is based on the standard Leaf but has a higher 225mm ride height, heavy-duty sump guard, broader wheel arches and 17-inch all-terrain tyres to help navigate debris-covered roads.

It’s designed to reach disaster zones to provide power to assist emergency services and others on the ground via 110-230v electrical sockets mounted on the exterior powered by the car’s high capacity lithium-ion battery. 

Inside, the rear seats have been removed and the floor levelled to provide storage for essential equipment.

Once the RE-LEAF arrives at a disaster zone, a bespoke pull-out desk extends from the boot with a 32-inch LED screen and dedicated power supply to run emergency communications.

Nissan RE-LEAF

The RE-LEAF’s integrated energy management system can run medical, communications, lighting and other life-supporting equipment before power can be restored to a disaster-hit area.

It does this by utilising the Leaf’s bi-directional charging ability, a standard feature since the first-generation model was introduced in 2010, which allows it to not only pull power to recharge the high-capacity battery, but also ‘push’ it back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid), or directly to electronic devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) technology. 

Nissan RE-LEAF DRONE

This allows it to act as a portable power station to power multiple appliances simultaneously, including an electric jack hammer, intensive care ventilator, 100w LED flood light and a 10-litre soup kettle. 

Once electricity is restored to the area, the EVs can be recharged and provide zero-emission transport, which would be very useful if fuel supplies are also affected.

Nissan RE-LEAF power source

“Electric vehicles are emerging as one of the technologies that can improve resilience in the power sector,” said Helen Perry, head of electric passenger cars & infrastructure for Nissan Europe.

“By having thousands of EVs available on standby, either as disaster-support vehicles or plugged into the network through Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), they’re uniquely capable of creating a virtual power plant to maintain a supply of energy during a major outage.”

Nissan RE-LEAF EV

While this could prove very helpful in emergency situations, such a capability could become handy for everyday uses as battery power becomes more suitable for trade and recreational vehicles.

 

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