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Japan: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf Prove Essential in Japanese Disaster Aid Relief

The devastating March earthquake and tsunami in Japan is still fresh in our minds, and there’s still a lot of work to be done as the rebuilding continues. But where debris and images of the disastrous event may weigh on minds and hearts, signs of hope have sprung in the form of Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and Nissan Leafs.

How exactly did two battery-electric vehicles marketed as environmentally conscious city cars see major service as disaster-relief workhorses? The answer is pretty elementary. In the event of a natural disaster in urbanized areas, maintaining properly working civil infrastructure is a monumental task for local governments. Barring catastrophic damage, piped water and electricity are two major utilities that should quickly return to service. On the other hand, keeping gas stations brimming with fuel can be a logistical nightmare due to stifled travel and rubble-ridden roads.
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