Nissan’s got a prototype disaster response EV, aptly called the Nissan Re-Leaf


We’re not sure if Nissan’s been keeping a closer eye on the general Eskom situation or if they’re just with us in watching the rest of the world burn in 2020. But the auto-maker has opted to turn its Leaf electric vehicle into a disaster recovery specialist.

Its new title? The Nissan Re-Leaf, if you can be-leaf it.

Turning over a new Leaf

The Nissan Re-Leaf is designed to “…to provide a mobile power supply following natural disasters or extreme weather”, according to the company. Nissan unveiled the vehicle that it hopes to use as a disaster response vehicle in Paris earlier this week. It’s got a new set of livery but it’s basically the company’s fully-loaded Leaf with its latest tech installed — including a 62kWh battery that’s enough to run the average (European) home for six days. Which, frankly, sounds like a great thing to have in South Africa right now.

The vehicle itself has undergone some physical changes in order to function as a disaster specialist. Nissan has hoofed out the rear seats and installed a custom cargo bulkhead, BF Goodrich Baja All Terrain Tires have been fitted and the vehicle’s got a 225mm ground clearance. It’s no 4×4 but other structural changes mean should manage to zip through to its (likely urban) destination with little trouble.

The inclusion of a pull-out desk, 32in LED screen and a dedicated power supply sited in the boot let the Re-Leaf act as an operations hub. Basically, when the zombie virus hits your home town and the army descends on your home town to lock it down, you’d expect to see one of these at the major centres with important-looking people arguing around a digital map of the area. Or, you know, when some other event that requires human intervention goes down, this is what the good guys would use as a mobile office/power supply for the stricken populace. What? 2020 can’t be all negativity.

It is still a prototype, however, though a working one. Japan has been using the Nissan Leaf’s bidirectional charging abilities to supply power to disaster areas in that country since 2011. It’s not out of the question that you’ll see one barreling over branches and rocks to help out at a South African “event” at some point.


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