The humble Leaf has been called on to do big things.
Nissan has just revealed a new concept called the "Re-Leaf," employing a clever play on words that gets to the heart of its very purpose: providing relief in areas stricken by natural disasters. The Re-Leaf is essentially an emergency response vehicle and mobile battery bank in one, able to drive into disaster zones and supply electricity for critical functions. The car does that with the 62-kWh battery pack that comes standard with the longer-range Leaf PLUS, and a few special power modifications.
Those modifications include a bi-directional charging system that lets the Leaf both draw power from and supply power to the grid, and a total of three power outlets: two externally mounted waterproof sockets, and a common household plug in the trunk. That 62 kWh battery is far from the industry's best, but Nissan says it's sufficient to drive an electric jackhammer, a ventilation fan, an intensive care ventilator, and a 100-Watt LED floodlight for 24 straight hours, all running simultaneously, or to power an average home for the better part of a week.
A fleet of these, then, could provide sufficient power to a disaster-stricken area so that critical functions could be kept online while engineers work to restore power - something that, on average, takes 24 to 48 hours according to Nissan.
Further preparing the Nissan Re-Leaf for emergency response duty, Nissan has given the concept a modest suspension lift - all the better to clear obstacles with - and widened the track width for extra stability on off-camber terrain. Some extra cladding on the underside is in place to protect vital components, and the EV rides on strengthened 17-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain rubber.
Inside, the Re-Leaf bins its back seats to accommodate a storage compartment, a pull-out desk, and a 32-inch monitor, so the car can serve as a communications hub.
It seems unlikely that Nissan's new concept is anything more than a demo meant to highlight some potential novel uses for its EV batteries, but even if a small number were produced, we doubt you'd be allowed to buy one. Fortunately, the upcoming Nissan Ariya exists to sate your desire for a high-riding Nissan EV.