Re-Leaf: The power of EVs to aid disaster recovery

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva


A new use for electric cars has surfaced in recent years. In addition to transporting people and goods efficiently and reliably while producing zero emissions, they’ve also shown great potential to aid in disaster recovery.

Last year, Nissan launched its Leaf-based emergency response car that provides a mobile power supply in the wake of disasters.

The electric vehicle concept, dubbed Re-Leaf, uses bi-directional charging to store electricity and the capability to return it to power grids, allowing it to supply electricity to areas that suffer blackouts. 

Another advantage of EVs in the wake of a natural disaster is that electricity is typically restored before gasoline supplies return to normal. 

For example, almost 10 years ago in Japan, a country that frequently experiences typhoons and earthquakes, has proven that EVs can be a powerful resilience tool. 

“Less than three months after the first-generation Leaf launched, the northeastern coast of Japan was struck by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami,” recalls Ryusuke Hayashi, senior manager of EV operations, Nissan. “Nearly 5 million households lost power, and Nissan provided 66 Leafs to the disaster-struck area.”

More recently, in the Philippines, the company utilised its Leaf EVs in a recent response to Typhoon Rai that caused power outages last year. The electric vehicles served as an emergency power supply and were able to charge more than 1000 mobile phones in distressed communities in Cebu and Tacloban.

To leverage the capabilities of electric vehicles beyond transport, Nissan has expanded its Blue Switch program to the Asean region. The program promotes the use of EVs to help communities, from providing energy-management solutions to disaster relief efforts.

“Electrification is central to our strategy in Asean, and the expansion of Blue Switch to our region is a critical milestone in fulfilling our long-term vision for empowering mobility and beyond,” said Isao Sekiguchi, regional VP, marketing and sales, Nissan Asean. “Through this initiative, we look forward to building strategic partnerships with local governments and partners in Thailand, the Philippines, and other markets in Asean to make this a reality.”

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.


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