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Nissan Leaf electric cars that run out of juice in Japan are rescued by a five-tonne diesel truck and recharged by a high-powered diesel generator.

The not-so-green ‘EV Rescue Vehicle’ and its not-much-better 29kW diesel generator are operated by Nissan Motor Co. in collaboration with the Japanese environment ministry and the Japan Automobile Federation.

According to Automotive News, the truck has been called out 86 times in less than a year, with 73 of those to recharge a drained battery.

In the event of a dead battery, the stranded Leaf plugs into the EV Rescue Vehicle for a 20-minute charge, which is good for about 40km. The whole time, the generator blows out harmful emissions into the air, exactly the kind that the Leaf is designed to reduce.

The program is currently running as a trial in Nissan’s home of Kanagawa, south of Tokyo, and will continue until the end of this year.

It is designed to reduce range anxiety for drivers and improve Nissan’s after-sales service.

Another driving influence for Nissan is its image. The electric vehicle pioneer does not exactly want flat Leaf EVs sitting on the side of the road for the rest of the driving public to see.

The Nissan Leaf has a range of about 160km.

But what do you think? Is a double-diesel truck enormously hypocritical from Nissan, who is pushing to become a leader in alternative energy automotive solutions? Or is it simply responsible after-sales service?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

  • Alexander

    This is hypocritical on Nissans part, although you’d have to be pretty stupid and not plan trips well enough to get caught with a dead battery knowing your car can only travel 160km…

    • Andrew

      The problem is you never *know* what the range is going to be because it is so dependent on driving style and environment. One thing you can be sure of though: it will never be anywhere near claimed 160km.

      But is it hypocritical for Nissan to provide rescue service? If a client runs out of juice they *are* going to get a non-electric tow truck to rescue them one way or another, so it might as well be provided by Nissan in the name of customer service. I don’t see the problem here.

      • Alexander

        There are plenty of early adopters who are getting or exceeding the 160km range…

        • Andrew

          Here’s a quote I found on the web, apparently coming from Nissan engineer:

          “* Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic at 15 mph in cold, wintry weather with the heater on? Expect a range of about 62 miles.
          * Driving around 50 mph with the air conditioning on? Nissan says the range will fall to approximately 70 miles.
          * In normal highway driving (i.e. 60-70 mph), the Leaf can travel approximately 105 miles, provided the climate controls are off.
          * If you leave the heater and A/C off, and keep your speeds to 40 mph or less, the Leaf’s range can jump to roughly 138-140 miles. ”

          Now, which one of those scenarios strikes you as unrealistic? I would say very few people are going to travel a distance of 140 miles while keeping their speed to under 40mph, and that is the only scenario where the range exceeds 160km.

          • John

            miles and kms are different dude.
            140 miles have exceeded factory claimed max 160kms…

  • Howdog

    Further proof that elecrtic vehicles are not the solution.

    • ST

      You’re solution then sir?

      • union

        walk, train, bus and bike

        although I live in a regional community so it is walk and ride. No public transport here!

        • Pez

          Pushies are great, ride my bike to work everyday! Forget th car…

          • union

            I have considered riding to work. BUT. As I live in the country and the roads are 100km/h with no bike lane or shoulder it make riding very dangerous the dark (I travel to and from work in the dark). I have personally come close to hitting 2 riders on the very roads I would be riding to work. When there are many cars on the road, in the wet, in the dark it makes it almost impossible to see a rider traveling at quarter the posted speed limit.

        • union

          Now can someone tell me how pointing out that there are no bussed or trains in the country warrants a negative vote?

      • Howdog

        Or they could turn up on push bikes, pop them on a treadmill and peddle really fast to create energy that could recharge the batteries?

        • Captain Nemo

          Yeah but what did the guy on the treadmill have for lunch?

          Wagu beef? Whale meat? not really than enviormentally friendly.

  • Roadtard

    Teething troubles. $#!t happens.

  • Eric

    This article is garbage. How many Leaf cars are there on the road.
    How many petrol cars are help out by Diesel powered trucks.

    Good on Nissan for providing a JUMP START option for their customers.


    • union

      I think you have missed the point of the article Eric.

      • JEKYL & HYDE

        no he hasn’t.

        ms gillard & co want us to pay a c02 tax,but most electricity is generated by coal,not solar or wind…

        • union

          I dont get your point Jekyl & Hyde.

          How does that make this article garbage?

          • JEKYL & HYDE

            is it not a shot over the bow for nissan,implying that their “fix” for run flat electrical cars is not ideal for the enviroment…

  • union

    What alternative mobile power sources are there with sufficient output to quickly charge an EV?

    A 29kW Gen set is no small unit.

  • Lazybones

    Having a rescue truck is a good idea, you have to keep in perspective that its been called out 86 times in nearly a year. But how many trips have leafs made without issue?? They sold over 6000 in Japan last year so you could expect over 10,000 trips would have been made.

    My only surprise is that its not a bio diesel truck. Lets not forget normal cars need rescue trucks also.

  • toxic_horse

    Without inovators and early adoptors things will never change. I presonally am very excited about fully electric cars and can’t wait for them to become mainstream.

    Sure I will hang on to my V8 for weekend fun but to sit in traffic every day to work i would love a electric car.

    good on you Nissan!!!

  • wantaleaf

    Nissan has 3 year free road assistance, meaning towing to the closest dealer for recharge. It is probably cheaper to charge the car a bit in place, and better for the environment then towing. Good thinking Nissan!

  • Road Warrior

    For some reason, I can’t stop having a chuckle over the getup the tow truck driver is in – crash helmet, safety clothing and witches hats all for jump starting a car! lol.

    • Bold

      better safe than regret, mate, japs are over cautious sometimes but you have to admit their mind to detail leads to huge success.

    • Lazybones

      I think after charging the car he then shoots himself out of a cannon for entertainment or just to upstage the toyota hybrid Camry advert. :)

      • Ima Hogg

        Japs are very cautious

        Yeah thats why they built nuclear power plants on unstable ground.

  • Bold

    What is funny about it? drivers make mistake, doesn’t matter if they drive petrol or electric car.

  • Car Fanatic

    Lol, should have bought a car with more range, like Petrol or Diesel

  • Mariusz

    Fuel cells!

  • Shak

    This is exactly what that GM exec was getting at last week.

  • TMG

    Customer Service nice to see, let’s hope that the level of customer service is offered by all EV producers, and we might get it here in OZ (and not get some bloke called Barry who has a bl**dy big extension cord plugged in at the dealership and an 8h wait by the side of the road)

    Can’t Nissan just plant some trees and offset the big nasty diesel…

  • david

    Nice truck.

  • Hal

    Its great Nissan has great customer service. Especially on this new technology. In Portland, AAA will have mobile rechargers for anyone stranded. This is how it must have been like when gas cars were introduced and no gas station in sight.

  • Sambo

    im more impressed by the high levels of ppe the japanese use.

  • ze scheister

    inductive charging built into arterial roads please. kthxbai

  • JD

    currently we can charge our mobiles wireless, with some articles saying we can charge EV’s without any wires.

    if they integrate such technology into the roads, we can theoretically charge while we drive, although we will be heavily reliant on electricity. During electrical faults there should be enough juice to get the current range, although we may see this upgrade if EV’s become the next big thing in the next 10 years.

  • Stoney

    Wow, I went for an 880km drive yesterday, there is no way I could own one of these things with such a short range, I love going on drives out in the country whenever I can. My 118 tsi golf also averaged a miserly 5.8L/100k’s on the trip, thats on top of being able to crack 100 in less than 8 seconds. I’m assuming it would cost less than one of these things too. The volt sound like a much better Idea than these electric only cars.


  • Jacob

    Chevy Volt is the answer. Which has a petrol generator on board.

  • david

    How come we don’t Nissan trucks in Australia? The truck in the first photo is one that is not available here. We only get Isuzu, Hino, and Fuso… but no Nissan?

  • AL Meyer

    The Leaf is an incremental vehicle suitable for early adopters who are aware of its limitations. It is not for long commutes or cross country trips. For what it is it does an excellent job.

    You would not expect a VW Golf to run the Indianapolis 500!