Nissan drives out mobile power and disaster relief concept
Earlier in the month, Toyota and Honda revealed plans to start testing a fuel-cell bus designed as a mobile power source for disaster relief. Now Nissan has driven out an emergency response vehicle based on its Leaf electric car that will also provide emergency power.
Nissan's Re-Leaf (geddit?) concept is not going to touch the portable power capabilities of the Moving e system from Toyota and Honda, but the vehicle might be able to get closer to the center of disaster zones than a big ol' bus.
The Leaf passenger car has been used to provide emergency power in natural disaster situations in Japan since 2011, with the company forming partnerships with more than 60 local governments to support relief efforts. This concept, which is currently at the working prototype stage, is therefore a natural evolution for the technology and will serve to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles for assisting in disaster relief.
"Electric vehicles are emerging as one of the technologies that can improve resilience in the power sector," said Nissan Europe's Helen Perry. "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."
The template for the Re-Leaf prototype is the latest generation Leaf e+. The vehicle has been raised by 70 mm (2.75 in) for 225 mm (8.85 in) of ground clearance, it's 90 mm (3.5 in) wider at the front and 130 mm (5.1 in) at the rear, a custom "sump guard" protects the underbelly, and it's been treated to custom wheel arches, mud flaps and 17-inch Compomotive MO5 wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich Baja all-terrain tires – which all help it get safely to where it needs to be.
Nissan says that the vehicle's 62-kWh battery could provide enough electricity to see an average European household through a power cut for up to six days. Upon arrival at the disaster zone, the driver can manage the relief efforts from an operations control hub at the rear, which includes a 32-inch LED screen and dedicated power supply.
Two weather-proof plug sockets on the exterior of the modified Leaf allow folks with 110- to 230-volt devices to plug in and draw juice from the vehicle's batteries, with multiple simultaneous connections possible. By way of example, the company says that an electric jackhammer (36 kWh), a pressure ventilation fan (21.6 kWh), a 10-liter (2.6 gal) soup kettle (9.6 kWh), an intensive care medical ventilator (3 kWh) and a 100-watt LED floodlight could potentially be powered for 24 hours using the system.
And once power is restored to the area, the Re-Leaf could continue to assist the community once its batteries are charged back up to full strength, serving to ferry folks around for up to 385 km (240 mi) per charge – though the rear seats have been sacrificed to make room for essential equipment.
There's no indication at this stage whether the Re-Leaf concept will move beyond the concept stage. The video below has more.