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Powering resilience: How EVs can help communities bounce back after a disaster

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When the Nissan LEAF first went on sale in 2010, one of the main concerns about electric cars was where to charge them. Today, charging stations are much more common, battery capacity has increased and the range of electric vehicles has been greatly extended. Rather than “Where can they go to get power,” the question increasingly being asked about EVs is, “Where can they go to provide power?”

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 proved uniquely suited to providing relief in times of natural disaster.

In Japan, a country that experiences frequent typhoons in addition to 10% of the world’s earthquakes – more than 2,000 last year alone – EVs have proved to be powerful tools for community resilience.

“Less than three months after the first-generation LEAF launched, the northeastern coast of Japan was struck by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami,” said Ryusuke Hayashi, senior manager of EV operations at Nissan. “4.8 million households lost power, and Nissan provided 66 LEAFs to the disaster-struck area.”

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