Let’s share news on a very different type of electric vehicle.

As hurricane season begins, the employees of NRG Energy are preparing to help affected coastal areas by championing a new concept called “Power2Serve.”

Power2Serve is composed of a 42-foot disaster relief vehicle and 26-foot trailer combination designed to deliver immediate power, emergency shelter, access to news and information and Wi-Fi internet connectivity to those in need.

The vehicle was unveiled June 18 to crisis management officials in the home city of NRG retail subsidiary, Reliant.

NRG said it purchased the commercial grade vehicle from a stock car racer and, drawing on expertise from across the company, modified it to suit its new mission. At the same time, approximately 400 NRG employees from across the country signed up to staff the vehicle as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and “ServeCrew” community volunteers.

CERT members receive training in search and rescue operations, medical response, disaster psychology, shelter operations, and basic fire suppression.

ServeCrew members are qualified to set up power charging stations, assist residents in filling out necessary forms and applications, and provide IT support.

“The Power2Serve vehicle is a way for NRG to be more involved in our communities as part of future disaster relief efforts – harnessing our collective skills and knowledge in a creative, hands-on way to respond quickly to help affected people,” said Fran Sullivan, senior vice president of plant operations. “It’s an opportunity for us to bring electricity to impacted residents in times of urgent need, to do whatever we can to make their lives a little better.”

The Power2Serve vehicle and trailer, along with three smaller, complementary vehicles providing additional services as needed, will be dispatched in coordination with local, state, and federal disaster relief authorities.

The large unit has sleeping accommodations for seven volunteers and is completely self-sufficient, powered by a 10 kilowatt solar array, a 20 kilowatt diesel generator and a 10 kilowatt auxiliary diesel generator.

Additional features include:

  • An enclosed 50 x 20 foot pavilion to provide cooled or heated temporary shelter for residents
  • Numerous flat panel TVs to show news or weather broadcasts
  • 100 charging stations for cell phones, cameras, small tools and power equipment

Wi-Fi and satellite service, and tablet computers to access email and the internet