Electric cars have many advantages over ICE-powered ones. They are quiet, environmentally-friendly, cheap to run and very reliable. But Nissan thinks there is more. It now introduced the RE-LEAF concept, which aims to show how versatile electric cars can be in emergency situations.
Nissan LEAF once was the most popular electric car in the world. It doesn’t hold this title anymore, but it is still a competitive model in this expanding market. One of the advantages of the new LEAF is its bi-directional charging. This essentially means that you can use your car as a big power bank. In fact, Nissan says that a LEAF with 62 kWh battery can power the average European household for six days. This is, of course, nice insurance to have in case of a power outage, but Nissan says it makes LEAF perfect for emergency response application.
RE-LEAF’s name, obviously, is a bit of a pun. But that RE stands for response, recovery and resilience. For a quicker response it has beefier tires, which stand a better chance of traversing various debris that could be on the way to a site of a natural or a technological disaster. RE-LEAF’s suspension was raised by 70 millimeters to 225 mm and its track is wider too. RE-LEAF has bigger arches and a special guard to protect it’s floor where the batteries are.
Short demonstration of the Nissan RE-LEAF
RE-LEAF doesn’t have the rear seats – instead that area is used for storage. The trunk has a pull-out desk with a 32-inch LED screen. There are other changes to the interior as well, making the RE-LEAF a mobile base for coordinating operations.
However, the big advantage of the RE-LEAF is its battery. RE-LEAF could come with a 40 or 62 kWh battery, which could be used to power various tools and implements necessary for emergency response. Now generators are used for that, but they take some time to set up – RE-LEAF offers a much quicker solution, which can power the site of the disaster until bigger, more powerful means are available. And then RE-LEAF could be used to power the operation centre or simply charge communication equipment.
RE-LEAF has three sockets – two weatherproof external C-form connectors for easy access, and an internal domestic socket mounted in the trunk. And don’t think it’s too small – an electric jackhammer uses just 36 kWh of power in 24 hours, while other tools use even less.
Will Nissan launch a series production of the RE-LEAF? Probably not. However, it’s a good demonstration of what electric vehicles are capable of. They are here just for their eco-credentials. They are much more useful and versatile than people know.