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Spark of light in the darkest of days

Spark of light in the darkest of days

The Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicle shows capability of becoming a powerful tool for community resilience

MOBILE phones have become an important tool in our daily lives. They give us news, entertain us, and basically provide us updates on anything under the sun. They are considered as a must-have gadget, its importance highlighted during and after disasters. In fact, instances of typhoon survivors relating their traumatic experience via social media aided by their mobile phones, somehow helped them deal with emotional and psychological stress.

But what happens when, in an emergency, your phone’s battery runs out and your area doesn’t have any electricity? This is where electric vehicles or EVs could help. In addition to transporting people and goods efficiently and reliably while producing zero emissions, EVs have also proved uniquely suited to providing relief in times of natural disasters.

In Cebu, one of provinces that was hit hardest by Typhoon “Odette” last Dec. 16, the LEAF—Nissan Philippines’ compact five-door hatchback and its most advanced 100 percent EV—showed its capability of becoming a powerful tool for community resilience.

With no electricity, individuals living in the city’s affected communities have no means of communication since their mobile phones have already run out of battery. While the servicing utility Visayan Electric Co. is striving to achieve 80-percent power supply restoration by Jan. 10, a number of communities in the city are expected to remain powerless for many more weeks.

To help these communities that will remain without electricity, Nissan Philippines sent a unit of Nissan LEAF and its Power Mover vehicle-to-load accessory to serve as an alternative electricity source. In coordination with Nissan Cebu South dealership, Nissan PH partnered with Cebu City Councilor Engr. Nestor Archival to help create a sustainable energy ecosystem.

Cebu City Councilor Engr. Nestor Archival

Solar panels

The councilor owns The Archival Eco-House located in Barangay Talamban, which is the first sustainable and self-sufficient establishment in the province. It’s 40 solar panels are helping charge the Nissan LEAF’s powerful battery to continuously charge the mobile phones.

Councilor Archival shared that the Nissan LEAF has already charged more than 1,000 mobile phones while using just around 10 to 20 percent of the EV’s battery. The councilor added that he will continue to do this initiative until power is restored in their communities. Nissan PH president and managing director Atsushi Najima said that the company’s communication line remains open, and it has been keeping in touch with its dealerships and communities in areas affected by the typhoon. Najima also feels honored in regard to the Nissan LEAF’s contribution in helping affected communities.

Honored

“We have been keeping in touch with our dealerships and communities in areas affected by the typhoon where communication signals permit. I have very recently visited these areas and I am truly saddened by the reports about the damage this natural disaster has caused,” said Najima. “I am honored to contribute to this small effort. This inspires me to bring in more sustainable innovations and build partnerships where the Nissan LEAF can be of service to society through vehicle-to-anything technology.”

The Nissan LEAF is equipped with an electric motor that can put out 150 hp and 320 Nm of torque. When fully charged, its 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is capable of achieving a 311-kilometer range. The Nissan LEAF’s battery can be charged with any standard 220V power source, and doing so will charge it up fully in 15 to 18 hours. However, with the use of a quick charger, charging time could be shortened to just 40 minutes to an hour.

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The LEAF during disasters

This is not the first time the Nissan LEAF was utilized during a disaster. In December 2010, less than three months after the launch of the first-generation Nissan LEAF, the northeastern coast of Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami where 4.8 million households lost power. Nissan immediately sent 66 LEAF units to the disaster-struck area.

For days, the Nissan LEAF units served as back-up batteries for heating and other purposes needed by medical professionals. That experience triggered Nissan Japan to accelerate the development of technology that enabled the LEAF to share the energy stored in their batteries with homes, buildings and communities.

Today, by using it as a portable power station, the Nissan LEAF could provide enough electricity to power an average Japanese home for four days, or charge as much as 6,200 smartphones, or even power more than 100 elevator round trips in a 43-story apartment building.With the Philippines also prone to natural disasters like Japan, the presence of more EVs like the Nissan LEAF could serve as a vital support to communities during emergencies.

The Nissan LEAF showed that it can be done.