Since 2011 in Japan, Nissan has been using Leafs as disaster response vehicles. Given that an EV is essentially a rolling power bank, it makes perfect sense. With one of these, you don’t need to worry about firing up a generator or two.
Having already formed 60 partnerships with local governments to use the Leaf in this way, Nissan has taken things a step further with the ‘Re-Leaf’. You can probably see what they did there.
Billed as an “electric emergency response vehicle concept,” it features weather-proofed power sockets on the bodywork, ideal for use during power outages - a sizeable chunk of which are caused by natural disasters. Fully charged, the Re-Leaf’s 64kWh battery pack could power the average UK household for six days.
Nissan has given a handful of examples of what the Re-Leaf could power, and how much juice would be required for each over 24 hours. An electric jackhammer would use up 36kWh, a medical ventilator 3kWh, and finally, a 100-watt LED flood light would consume about 2.4kWh.
To ensure it can get where it’s needed in the first place, the Re-Leaf has been raised by 70mm, and there’s now underbody protection for when that extra height isn’t enough. The tracks have increased by 90mm at the front and 130mm at the rear, and you’ll now find chunky all-terrain tyres at each corner.
An on-board energy management system provides an output of up to 230-volts to the three sockets. There’s a regular domestic socket in the boot, with two ‘C-Form’ connectors on the outside.
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There are no longer any rear seats, while the floor underneath where they used to be has been levelled off to make loading and unloading important stuff a little easier. So said important stuff doesn’t fly forward and give the driver concussion, there’s a cage splitting the front part of the cabin with the cargo space.
Our favourite bit has to be the pull-out desk and 32-inch LED screen combo, creating an “operational hub” with its own power supply, so you don’t have to worry using up that boot-mounted domestic plug.
It’s unclear if Nissan will put anything like the Re-Leaf to work, but it sounds like Dan Cook of emergency search and rescue charity Serve On would rather like one. “Looking back to previous scenarios we’ve dealt with, this technology could have made a real difference,” he said, adding, “For example being able to power multiple filtration devices to produce thousands of litres of drinking water - essential in our line of work.”