Motoring News

Nissan RE-LEAF: Taking power to the people when tragedy strikes

PARIS, France – Nissan has unveiled a 100% electric emergency response vehicle designed to provide a mobile power supply after natural disasters or during extreme weather.

The RE-LEAF prototype is based on the Nissan LEAF car, the world’s first mass-production battery car. Along with modifications to negotiate debris-covered roads, the car has exterior weatherproof plug sockets to power 110-230V devices from the car’s high-capacity lithium-ion battery.

Nissan explains further: ”The RE-LEAF can be driven into the centre of a disaster zone and provide a fully mobile power supply to aid the recovery process. The energy management system can run medical, communications, lighting, heating and other life-supporting equipment.”

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. A RE-LEAF Nissan en route to another disaster. Image: Nissan

Helen Perry, head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure for Nissan in Europe, told The Corner in a media release: “We’re constantly exploring ways that electric vehicles can enrich our lives, beyond just zero-emissions transport.

“Concepts such as the RE-LEAF show the possible application of EVs in disaster management and demonstrate that smarter, cleaner, technology can help to save lives and provide greater resilience.”

Some real-world applications for  EVs during disasters… Nissan’s words…

Natural disasters are the biggest cause of power outages. A 2019 World Bank report found natural shocks and climate change caused 37% of outages in Europe between 2000 and 2017 and 44% of outages in the USA over the same period.

When disaster strikes the time for electricity supply to be restored is typically 24-48 hours, depending on damage. During that period electric vehicles can provide zero-emissions mobile emergency power.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: One RE-LEAF and its battery can keep power tools and other services going for hours. Image: Nissan

Nissan created the RE-LEAF to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles in disaster recovery. Although it’s just a working concept, the technology is already being used in the real world. In Japan, Nissan has used the LEAF to provide emergency power and transport after natural disasters since 2011 and the company has partnered with more than 60 local governments to support disaster relief.

READ MORE Nissan features on Carman’s Corner

Nissan EVs can also act as mobile storage batteries to supply homes and society with electricity during non-emergency situations through Nissan Energy Share, creating a distributable energy model that can be used to help stabilise supply and demand.

EMERGENCY ELECTRIC: A Nissan RE-LEAF on the way to take power to the people. Image: Nissan

The RE-LEAF uses the LEAF’s bi-directional charging ability, a standard feature of the model since its introduction in 2010. This means the LEAF can not only “pull” power to recharge the high-capacity battery but also “push” it back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology or directly to electric devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything).


ACTING as a portable power station, the latest Nissan LEAF e+ with a fully charged 62kW/h battery can provide enough electricity to power the average European household for six days.

As a disaster recovery vehicle, the RE-LEAF can power multiple devices simultaneously. Examples based on 230V power:

Image: Nissan

Electric jackhammer – 24 hours, 36kW/h
Pressure ventilation fan – 24 hours, 21.6kW/h
10-liter soup kettle – 24 hours, 9.6kW/h
Intensive care medical ventilator, 24 hours, 3kW/h
100-watt LED floodligh,t – 24 hours, 2.4kW/h

Once electricity is restored to the area EVs can be recharged to provide zero-emissions transport – up to 385km on a single charge of a LEAF e+ battery.


Perry added: “Electric vehicles are emerging as a technology 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, they’re uniquely capable of creating a virtual power plant to maintain a supply of energy.”

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