Japanese automaker Nissan has unveiled a prototype to use an electric vehicle to provide a mobile emergency power supply, based on the company’s electric Leaf passenger car,uch as natural disasters or extreme weather events.
The working prototype is called the Re-Leaf, based as it is on the Nissan Leaf passenger vehicle – the world’s first mass-production EV – and the “Re” prefix references the three major elements of disaster preparedness – response, recovery, and resilience.
Nissan points to a 2019 World Bank report which found that natural shocks and climate change caused 37% of electricity outages in Europe between 2000 and 2017, and 44% of power outages in the United States over the same period.
When a disaster hits and electricity is lost, it typically takes between 24 to 48 hours before it is restored, depending on the severity of the damage.
However, introduce a fully electric emergency vehicle such as the Re-Leaf to the scene and necessary and potentially life-saving equipment can be powered.
The concept has already been proven effective. According to Nissan, it has been using the Leaf to provide emergency power and transportation following natural disasters since 2011, and the company has formed partnerships with over 60 local governments to support disaster relief efforts.
The Re-Leaf is designed to be able to be driven directly into the centre of a disaster zone to provide a fully mobile power supply to aid in the recovery process.
In addition to modifications allowing the vehicle to navigate roads covered in debris, the Re-Leaf also comes with weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle which enables 110- to 230-volt devices to be powered from the car’s high capacity lithium-ion battery.
Nissan’s Leafs already allow customers to draw power to charge and supply power back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology or even directly to electronic devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) technology.
Further, the latest generation Nissan Leaf e+ with a fully charged 62 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery can provide enough electricity to power an average European household for up to six days, and it appears the same battery is installed in the RE-LEAF.
Nissan also provided the following list of 230-volt devices the Re-Leaf can power:
- Electric Jack Hammer – 24 hours – 36kWh
- Pressure Ventilation Fan – 24 hours – 21.6kWh
- 10-litre Soup Kettle – 24 hours – 9.6kWh
- Intensive Care Medical Ventilator – 24 hours – 3kWh
- 100-watt LED flood light – 24 hours – 2.4kWh
Once electricity is restored to the disaster zone, the Re-Leaf can be recharged and deliver zero-emission transport with a range of up to 385-kilometres.
“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,” said Helen Perry, head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure for Nissan in Europe.
“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 (V2G), they’re uniquely capable of creating a virtual power plant to maintain a supply of energy during a major outage.”