Nissan: Electric Cars Can Play Key Role In Recovery After Disasters

APR 1 2015 BY MARK KANE 6

Nissan e-NV200 Power plug

Nissan e-NV200 Power plug

At the UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Nissan highlighted how electric cars can play a key role after disasters.

Japan already had a chance to use EVs in this way four years ago when and earthquake and a tsunami struck the northeastern part of the country:

“On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake shook northeastern Japan, triggering a tsunami that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters and travelled up to 10 km inland.

The earthquake had been the strongest ever recorded in Japan, and the ensuing devastation had no parallel in the quake-plagued nation’s modern history. With thousands dead and missing, Japanese society took up the recovery effort.

Nissan, along with other major Japanese automakers, sent assistance to affected areas while trying to recover from the damage to its own factories and dealers.

Despite the damage incurred, electric power in the hard-hit areas in northeastern Japan was quickly restored, but with six out of nine refineries down and pipelines disrupted, supplies of gasoline were dangerously low.”

A 2013 Nissan LEAF Demonstrates A Little V2G This Summer

Nissan LEAF Vehicle-To-Home

Electricity almost always comes back first is such situations, while most other things get put in the long queue (including gasoline).

Electric cars can not only drive, but power external devices too. The new Nissan e-NV200 in Japan is equipped with two external outlets, although for sure it would be hugely beneficial for it to have larger battery packs.

“After the disaster struck, Nissan received a call from Naoko Iwanaga, a Yomiuri Press reporter who was in contact with affected businesses in Sendai. Iwanaga-said an outpatient clinic in Miyagi could not reach its patients due to a lack of gasoline.

A LEAF that the Sendai Oshin medical clinic had already rented was performing well, but additional assistance was needed, so another LEAF was sent to the clinic from a local dealer a couple of days later.

The two LEAFs were used to deliver medical treatment to 20 to 30 patients per day, most of whom were suffering from cancer. These treatments helped patients with respiratory conditions, transporting the oxygen inhalation equipment they desperately needed.

These mobile medics often drove 60 to 70 km per day over the area’s mountainous roads in order to reach patients. The LEAFs stood up to the challenge, allowing critical services to be delivered even in the midst of disaster.

The two battery-electric LEAFs operated by the Sendai Oshin Clinic were the first of a total of 65 loaned to the relief effort. Operated by nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and local authorities, the LEAFS silently worked side-by-side with 50 Nissan Patrol SUVs, vehicles more traditionally associated with rescue efforts.

Even during the darkest days of rolling blackouts, the LEAFs kept rolling. Blackouts typically occurred during the day, while the LEAFs were on the road.

When power came back on in the evening, the LEAFs could charge up for another day of helping people get through the worst.

After the Great East Japan earthquake, 80 percent of the electrical power in the affected areas was restored within three days. During that time, the battery in a Nissan LEAF could provide light, keep cellphones charged and the radio on. Restoration of the supply of water, gas, and gasoline would take much longer than a few days.

After the immediate crisis in Sendai had passed, the 65 disaster-tested LEAFs were made available to local authorities. They carried help to shelters in Miyagi, brought goods to distribution points in Iwate and were deployed as coordination vehicles in Miyagi and Fukushima.

In later days; the cars were loaned to media to enable disaster aftermath coverage in the affected areas.”

Here are video presentations:

The last video confirms that electricity came back first also in the US, when super storm Sandy hit the East Coast.

“Vehicle owners in New York and New Jersey have been struggling to find gasoline since super storm Sandy hit the East Coast. But people with fully electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF are having an easier time charging up and getting to where they need to go.”

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6 Comments on "Nissan: Electric Cars Can Play Key Role In Recovery After Disasters"

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Especially good for Japan where a number of disasters of the monstrous kind occur with great regularity.

Ive used my Leaf to power things in the house while the power was out. It doesn’t last as long as they would leave you to believe though. Sure the average japanese household might use 10kwh a day. But the average US household uses 30kwh a day or more. Matter of fact, i use 20-25 kwh every day just to charge my Leaf.

1) Why go on as if nothing changed when power is out without prior notice? (preanounced outages have defined start and end, so one can know if his EV-stored power will last)

2) Most people do not need full Leaf charge every day. In fast 80% charge is good for 95% of USA drivers, and 30% charge is good for 50% of USA drivers.

3) 200 miles EVs are comming. Since cars wont be made that much lighter by any new tech, it will come from increased kWh numbers for batteries 🙂

To be fair the best car in disaster circumstances would be the BMW i3 because it can drive on electricity when there is no gasoline and it can drive on gasoline when there is a blackout. Of course you are still in check mate if there is neither.

An 85 kWh Tesla Model S battery can power an average North American home for 3 days with no compromise. Solar panels (5kW~10kW) can recharge the battery when the grid is down. The technology is now available at reasonable cost, all we have to do is get off the gas mentality.

…only if your system will output AC without grid sync, or perhaps DC with your own EV-compatible interfaces. Most domestic, small solar installations go down with the grid, due to lack of an AC timing reference.

Let me take a guess: you haven’t demonstrated your own pronouncement, eh?