Nissan has unveiled an all-new vehicle at the 2016 Hannover Motor Show. The Nissan Navara EnGuard Concept is a durable and tough all-terrain pick-up, designed to operate as a life-saving rescue platform in some of the world’s most harsh and extreme environments.
Based on a Double Cab Tekna version of the Nissan Navara – the current holder of the International Pick-up Award – the Navara EnGuard Concept features many bespoke design elements and performance upgrades. It is also packed with vital equipment suitable for emergency and disaster recovery work, including an advanced drone to provide vital intelligence about what dangers rescue crews might face.
It also marks the world debut of a prototype portable battery pack, designed and developed by Nissan. It utilises the brand’s tried and tested EV battery technology, already available on the road in the 100 per cent electric Nissan LEAF and e-NV200. With more than 250,000 Nissan EVs sold worldwide, the company is at forefront of this fast-developing sector and ideally placed to apply its expertise to explore new vehicle sectors and consumer opportunities in the future.
When docked in place the battery packs are constantly in ‘charge’ mode, using power generated by the vehicle’s 2.3-litre 190PS twin-turbo diesel engine to ensure they’re ready for emergency use when required. Each is a 2kW unit and utilises seven Nissan EV battery modules inside a weather-proof machined aluminium housing.
Two input (charge) sockets and five output (discharge) sockets are integrated into each battery pack, which features recessed ends to allow it to be carried easily. In a rescue environment they could be used to operate specialist cutting or heavy-lifting equipment, and have been specifically designed to provide an efficient alternative to a petrol generator.
With zero emissions and no flammable fuel, portable battery packs can also be used in enclosed spaces such as a building or a cave. Additional power sockets are integrated into each side of the pick-up’s load bed.
As part of its Intelligent Mobility vision, Nissan is working to explore how its pioneering EV battery technology can be integrated further into society. These prototype battery packs provide a real-world example of how it could be applied to new sectors, to provide cleaner, more sustainable power solutions.
Occupying the rest of the space in the load bed are two pull-out fibreglass trays. The shallow upper tray contains lightweight items such as two-way radios, ropes and an axe. The lower tray is deeper and narrower, storing larger items such as an oxygen tank and resuscitation kit, life jackets and buoyancy aids.
Key to the car’s rescue role is a drone, a DJI Phantom 4 with an operating ceiling of 6,000 metres. Weighing just 1,380 grammes, it can fly at speeds of up to 20 metres per second for close to 30 minutes and can relay images back to the concept car. These are viewed on a pop-up HD screen hidden in the load bed wall.
Compared to the standard Nissan Navara, the overall ride height of the Navara EnGuard Concept has been raised by 50mm, creating extra ground clearance and further enhancing the vehicle’s ‘go anywhere’ attitude. The wheel arches feature bespoke overfenders, with new moulded side steps between them.
The passenger compartment features a completely redesigned roof line, which is 136mm higher than on the standard Navara. It incorporates a powerful 360 degree LED lighting rig, with emergency blue strobe lights fitted to the four corners and visible from any angle. Matching strobes are integrated into the top of all four overfenders, plus in the redesigned front fog lamps and redesigned rear light clusters.
Choice of colours and their location was given very careful consideration during the vehicle’s development, with special focus on its role as a rescue vehicle. For example, Nissan research revealed fluorescent green is the most visible colour in daylight, and also most easily identifiable by people affected by colour-blindness. Having it on the wheels and side steps means it’s quickly spotted by the headlights of approaching vehicles.
Being based on the top-spec Tekna trim grade means the Navara EnGuard Concept comes with many standard features which would be useful in a rescue situation. These include the NissanConnect sat-nav system for finding the fastest route, plus dual-zone climate control and heated seats for occupant comfort. Most useful would be Nissan’s pioneering Around View Monitor, a 360-degree camera system which displays an unobstructed bird’s eye image of the vehicle and its environment on the dashboard screen. It’s an ideal tool for rescue workers, allowing them to navigate difficult off-road terrain without causing delays by having to get out of the vehicle.
Mechanically, the vehicle has also been enhanced. Like all Navaras, it’s built around a rugged ladderframe chassis, but features a new fully adjustable performance suspension system with uprated nylon bushes to further improve off-road capability.
Philippe Guerin-Boutaud, Corporate Vice President, Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan, commented: “The Nissan Navara is a tough and smart pick-up which our customers rely on to go anywhere and do anything in their daily lives. The Nissan Navara EnGuard Concept is an extension of that principle, showcasing how our award-winning pick-up is perfectly suited to tackle the toughest terrain and save lives.”
He continued: “The Navara EnGuard Concept opens a new chapter in the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, featuring our commitment to zero fatalities and zero emissions. Our prototype EV portable battery pack reveals how Nissan will integrate its world-renowned EV battery technology and expertise into new sectors in the future.”