Nissan has presented the RE-LEAF all-electric electric emergency response vehicle concept, designed to provide a mobile power supply following natural disasters or extreme weather. The RE-LEAF is, you guessed it, a prototype based on the Nissan LEAF.
Modifications have been made to the model so it can successfully debris-covered roads, and it includes elements like weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle. These enable 110- to 230-volt devices to be powered from the car's high-capacity lithium-ion battery.
Relief, no matter how you spell it
The RE-LEAF can be driven into the centre of a disaster zone and provide a fully mobile power supply to help first responders. The integrated energy management system can, for example, run medical, communications, lighting, heating and other life-supporting equipment.
"We're constantly exploring ways that electric vehicles can enrich our lives, beyond just zero-emission transportation. Concepts like the RE-LEAF show the possible application of EVs in disaster management and demonstrate that smarter, cleaner technology can help save lives and provide greater resilience."
- Helen Perry, head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure for Nissan in Europe
Many of the natural disasters we face are accompanied by power outages. Often, when a disaster hits, it can take 24 to 48 hours for the electricity supply to be restored, if not more. The RE-LEAF and other like it can movie in quickly to provide mobile emergency power – and delivering no emissions while doing it.
While Nissan Re-LEAF is strictly a working concept, the technology is already in use. In Japan, for example, Nissan has used the LEAF to provide emergency power and transportation following natural disasters since 2011, and the company has formed partnerships with more than 60 local governments to support disaster relief efforts.
The RE-LEAF also makes use of the LEAF's bidirectional charging ability so that it can feed back energy into a grid, making it practical as a storer of energy that can be supplied to homes, for example.
"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."
- Helen Perry