The Nissan RE-LEAF is based on the Sunderland-built LEAF family hatchback.
But instead of school-runs and motorway miles, the highly modified motor is better suited to navigating roads covered in debris on its way to the centre of a disaster zone where there may not be power available.
The prototype has been designed to support the three ‘REs’ of disaster preparedness – response, recovery and resilience.
It features weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior of the vehicle, which enable 230v devices to be powered from the car’s high capacity lithium-ion battery.
As a result of its integrated energy management system, it can run medical, communications, lighting, and other life-supporting equipment.
And a bespoke pull-out desk extends from the boot with a 32” LED screen and dedicated power supply creating an operational hub to run communications from and manage the recovery process.
The time for electricity supply to be restored in a disaster zone is typically 24-48 hours, depending on the severity of the damage, but during that period electric vehicles can be used to provide a zero-emission, mobile emergency power supply.
Acting as a portable power station, the latest generation Nissan LEAF e+ with a fully charged 62 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery can provide enough electricity to power the average household for six days.
As a disaster recovery vehicle, the RE-LEAF can power multiple devices. Over a 24 hours period, it could power a water filtration unit, pressure ventilation fan, intensive care ventilator and LED flood lights.
Nissan worked on the project with UK-based engineering and motorsport firm RJN.