Nissan has just revealed an all-electric emergency response vehicle based on the widely popular Leaf. It is called the RE-LEAF and it will feature weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle, which will enable 110 to 230-volt devices to be powered from the car’s high-capacity lithium-ion battery.
Nissan created the RE-LEAF to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles in disaster recovery. Thanks to the Leaf’s bi-directional charging ability, the car can also act as a mobile storage battery to supply homes and society with electricity through its V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology.
As a disaster recovery vehicle, the RE-LEAF can power multiple devices for a full 24 hours such as an electric jack hammer, pressure ventilation fan and even an intensive care medical ventilator.
This is not the first time that Nissan has worked on such a project. In Japan, the Leaf has been used 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.
This project truly highlights the multiple benefits of electric vehicles according to Helen Perry, Head of Electric Passenger Cars & Infrastructure for Nissan in Europe.
“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we’re constantly exploring ways that electric vehicles can enrich our lives, beyond just zero-emission transportation,” she 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 for the future.”
In order to be ready for any sort of scenario the Leaf has been raised by 70mm to 225mm with a custom ‘sump guard’ to protect the car’s floor pan. Wider tracks (+90mm front /+130mm rear), custom wheel arches, mud flaps and all-terrain tyres on 17in motorsport wheels add to the capability.
The rear seats have been removed and the floor levelled to provide storage for essential equipment. A custom bulkhead cage also separates the front seats from the cargo area.
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 creating an operational hub to run communications from and manage the recovery process.
According to Dan Cooke, Operations Director at Serve On, the RE-LEAF could be instrumental in future emergency situations thanks to its unique characteristics.
“Seeing the RE-LEAF is really exciting, because we love exploring new ideas to see what’s possible. Looking back to previous scenarios we’ve dealt with, this technology could have made a real difference,” he said. “For example, being able to power multiple filtration devices to produce thousands of litres of drinking water – essential in our line of work.”