If you ever wondered what a jacked-up Nissan Leaf with off-road tires and mudflaps would look like, we bring you the RE-LEAF prototype, which more than a super-sweet off-roady Leaf, could actually serve as a power hub for relief efforts thanks to weatherproof power sockets mounted to the vehicle. These can be used to power various 110- or 230-volt devices such as electric jackhammers, intensive care ventilators (been hearing a lot about those lately, so we know how important they can be) and – wait for it – soup kettles! All kidding aside, people do have to eat and the RE-Leaf (geddit?) can help them do all that. In the spirit of the Automotive Journalist’s Association of Canada’s EcoMonth festivities, we take a look at how more than just providing clean, efficient and quiet EV motoring, EVs can help the greater good, as well.
“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,” said Helen Perry, head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure for Nissan Europe.
Further than that, Nissan says the Leaf Plus’ 62 kilowatt-hour battery (kWh) can power you average European household for six days.
More than just a power source, the RE-Leaf also features a pull-out desk in the trunk and 32” LED screen that can be used as an operational hub during the recovery process. A mobile operation unit, as it were, expect instead of being a big 18-wheeler or van, it’s a little compact that can more easily reach certain tight centers in a disaster zone.
“The ability to bring power where it is needed, even on a local scale, can be an invaluable resource during emergencies,” reports the U.S. National Association of State Energy Officials.
Of course, since the Leaf can be charged via CHAdeMO fast charging, 80 per cent of power can be returned after 90 minutes of charge time.
In order to give the RE-Leaf the best possible chance of navigating disaster zones, Nissan has added 70 millimetres of ride height, a sum guard, a 90 mm wider front track and 130 mm wider rear track, motorsport tires and specialized wheelwells to contain it all.
The Nissan RE-Leaf is just a concept for now, but if it does make production, it could offer a real leg up when it comes to disaster relief. Further than that, it provides a tantalizing look as to what the consumer-facing Leaf could do if given some special equipment. Could an off-road version of the Leaf be in the works? Well, we can all dream…