Nissan's Re-Leaf is a mobile battery for disasters
The electric vehicle can power an entire home for a week when natural disasters knock out the grid.
When disaster strikes, power is usually the first thing to go.
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Nissan's fix to that critical deficit comes in the form of a prototype of its Leaf EV called the Re-Leaf that acts as a mobile power station for powering lights, medical equipment, and other critical machinery via its onboard lithium-ion battery.
"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."
In a time of need, the vehicle's potential applications are broad. According to Nissan, the vehicle's lithium-ion battery alone would offer...
Of operating an intensive care medical ventilator, or...
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Of power to a 100-watt LED floodlight, or...
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The car could also power the average European household for nearly a week.
The Re-Leaf has several other design aspects that help it navigate and assist in natural disasters, including a raised ride height, wider tracks, and increased protection in the underfloor.
It also comes with monitors and a desk that can be pulled out from the trunk of the car and provide emergency communications in a pinch. An "integrated energy management system" can be used to run medical, communications, lighting, heating, and other life-supporting equipment.
While the car is still just a concept, Nissan says it's already deployed its regular Leaf EV in Japan since 2011 to assist in providing emergency power during disasters.
Why it matters...
With climate change fueling the severity of natural disasters, power grids are more embattled than ever. According to a 2019 World Bank study, natural events account for 37 percent of European power outages between 2000 and 2017.
While concepts like the Re-Leaf won't solve the climate crisis, they may help keep us up and running when disaster strikes.