Disaster-ready version of Nissan LEAF in the works

While the country anticipates the arrival of the electric vehicle Nissan LEAF in the country, there is now a working prototype built to act as an electric vehicle response unit complete with mobile power supply.

Based on the Nissan LEAF, the Japanese automotive marque announced that they already are working on the Nissan RE-LEAF—a pure electric emergency response vehicle concept. The “RE” is not just for show, but also stands for three elements of disaster preparedness: response, recovery and resilience.

The same vehicle that debunks four myths about EVs is not just being developed for alternative-powered mobility, but for saving lives, too.

Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF
Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF

With a badass look, the Nissan RE-LEAF, will be an offroad version of the mass-produced EV as it is being developed to be capable of driving through debris. Aside from that, it also features weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle, which enable 110- to 230-volt devices to be powered from the car’s high-capacity lithium-ion battery.

According to Nissan, the RE-LEAF “can be driven into the center of a disaster zone and provide a fully mobile power supply to aid the recovery process.” The integrated energy management system will be able to power medical, communications, lighting, heating and other life-supporting equipment.

Head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure for Nissan in Europe Helen Perry said that they are still exploring other possibilities for the Nissan LEAF.

“We’re constantly exploring ways that electric vehicles can enrich our lives, beyond just zero-emission transportation,” Perry said. “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.”

Nissan cited that disasters are the biggest cause of power outages.  Referring to a 2019 World Bank report, natural shocks and climate change caused 37 percent of outages in Europe between 2000 and 2017, and 44 percent of outages in the U.S. over the same period.

After a disaster erupted, restoration of power usually happens after 24 to 48 hours, depending on the severity of the damage.

Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF
Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF

Although a working concept, the technology for the Nissan RE-LEAF is already available in the real-world scenario. The Japanese automaker claimed that in Japan, they have 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.”

Further, they also said that Nissan EVs can also act as mobile storage batteries to supply homes and society with electricity during non-emergency situations through Nissan Energy Share, creating a distributable energy model that can be used to help stabilize supply and demand. The RE-LEAF uses the LEAF’s bidirectional charging ability, a standard feature of the model since its introduction in 2010.

To simplify, the LEAF has the ability to “pull” power to recharge the high-capacity battery, and also “push” it back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology, or directly to electric devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything).

The Nissan LEAF e+, if made into a portable power station, with a fully charged 62 kilowatt-hour battery, is set dish out ample power supply for an average European household for six days.

Nissan cited that as a disaster recovery vehicle, the RE-LEAF can power multiple devices simultaneously. Here are some examples based on 230-volt power use:

  • Electric jackhammer – 24 hours – 36 kWh

  • Pressure ventilation fan – 24 hours – 21.6 kWh

  • 10-liter soup kettle – 24 hours – 9.6 kWh

  • Intensive care medical ventilator – 24 hours – 3 kWh

  • 100-watt LED floodlight – 24 hours – 2.4 kWh

Once electricity is restored to the area, EVs can be recharged and provide zero-emission transport – up to 385 kilometers on a single charge of a LEAF e+ battery.

Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF
Nissan LEAF RE-LEAF

“Electric vehicles are emerging as one of the technologies that can improve resilience in the power sector,” Perry said. “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.”

As of press time, Nissan in the Philippines has yet to announce the pricing and the launch date of the Nissan LEAF. As early as March 2019, Nissan has announced the coming of the Nissan LEAF.

Photo/s from Nissan

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