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Nissan's Navara EnGuard concept is a high-tech rescue vehicle

With its latest pickup truck concept, Nissan aims to prove that battery packs aren’t just for powering electric cars.

Unveiled at the 2016 Hannover Motor Show, the Nissan Navara EnGuard concept is billed as the ultimate rescue vehicle. It’s based on the Navara midsize truck sold in several markets outside the U.S., but the headline here is a portable battery pack that can provide electric power for equipment in remote environments.

A pair of battery packs are housed in the bed, and electricity to charge them is generated by the truck’s 2.3-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. Each pack contains seven “battery modules” of the same design used in Nissan’s electric cars, and include an input socket for solar panels. A pair of 220-volt AC sockets and three USB ports can be used to power equipment or mobile devices. Nissan points out that, unlike generators, the battery packs can be used in enclosed spaces.

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The EnGuard concept is also equipped with a DJI Phantom 4 drone, which can send still images and video to rescue crews. The drone is stored in the truck’s bed, and controlled from a 20.5-inch screen mounted near the back of the bed. Nissan also included a first-aid kit, complete with defibrillator.

The truck itself is mostly stock, with some modifications like a beefed-up suspension system, a new front bumper housing a winch, and a slightly taller roof. It also features a 360-degree LED lighting rig, with emergency-blue strobe lights fitted at all four corners to ensure visibility from every angle. The diesel engine is connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission, with four-wheel drive.

Nissan has no specific plans to put the EnGuard into production, but it does represent the kind of thinking behind the carmaker’s “Intelligent Mobility” strategy. It’s based around the idea that electric cars can be used as mobile power sources for things like buildings, and that they will become an integral part of future energy infrastructure. On a somewhat less grandiose note, the Navara pickup will likely serve as the basis for the next U.S.-market Nissan Frontier.