The Petrolhead Corner is going offroading today, but not for the sake of competition, thrills or entertainment, but for the sake of saving lives. While that might sound like a very dramatic intro, it’s very much true that in an emergency situation every second counts. Especially when you’re stuck in hard-to-reach places like a barren desert, or in this case, a snow-covered Alpine mountain top. Nissan thought so too, and has taken it upon themselves to raise awareness through campaigning to “Ride Responsibly” in five European ski resorts this winter, and has built a wickedly cool rescue vehicle to back that up. This is the highly modified Nissan X-trail Mountain Rescue e-4ORCE, and yes it can potentially save your life if needed!
I’m not a huge fan of winter sports, even though I have no issues with cold weather whatsoever. It’s just that I’ve never been keen on ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports for that matter. I admit that I do take out the sledge whenever there is snow in the Netherlands (which is not very often) to take my daughter out for a sledge run, but that’s about it. Nevertheless, if I were into these sorts of things, and ended up in dire straits at some point, I would be happy to know Nissan potentially has my back and can bring me to safety in this rather impressive machine.
Based upon the somewhat mundane platform of the road-going 7-seater X-Trail SUV, Nissan has outfitted the X-Trail Mountain Rescue with quite the kit and readied it to tackle the snowy Alpine mountains of Cervinia’s ski resorts in Italy. Most notable are the tracks, which simply make any vehicle look cool instantly, but they serve a real purpose. It goes without saying that now tracks provide much higher grip and control levels compared to normal tyres so the choice makes perfect sense.
The X-Trail Mountain Rescue has also been raised 23cm over the standard X-Trail to give it the ground clearance needed in such harsh terrain. Paired with Nissan’s e-4ORCE all-wheel drive system, the tracks constantly monitor how much traction there is and adjust the power output to each wheel accordingly, down to 1/10,000th of a second. this makes the X-Trail Mountain Rescue a very efficient vehicle and perfectly suited for what it’s made to do; rescue people and save lives.
The modifications don’t end there as on the outside, there’s also a winch system installed in the front bumper, permanent tow hooks front and back, skid plate protection, footboard for easy access, a full emergency light system, wider fenders to accommodate the snow tracks, and a custom roof rack on top. This is fitted with a pair of skis an evacuation stretcher, and additional side lights to illuminate the surroundings of the car at night. lastly, it’s been given a bright red and grey paint job, with yellow emergency markers to it stand out like a sore thumb, which is exactly what you want in an emergency.
On the inside, the seating arrangement has been rearranged to accommodate a full stretcher to carry a person to safety. The rear seat behind the driver has been rotated for medical personnel to assist an injured skier or hiker, and of course, there’s a full medical kit as well. The crew also has a proper GPS navigation, weather and communications system at its disposal, so it can work together with other emergency services crews when out on a rescue mission in even the toughest conditions.
What’s also pretty cool to mention is the fact Nissan promotes safe riding etiquette through the “Ride Responsibly” campaign but also through this vehicle. Signs will be placed at the five ski resorts in Cervinia, Italy, which will encourage snow riders to slow down where different level slopes meet to avoid collisions with other riders. Similar to speed regulating roadsigns, these signs will tell you how fast you were skiing, slow down if your speed is judged as excessive and thank you for approaching such areas at a considerate speed.
Underneath it all, the X-Trail Mountain Rescue e-4ORCE is powered by Nissan’s e-POWER electric drivetrain with twin motors and the aforementioned e-4ORCE all-wheel drive system. This has a power output of 213 horsepower and 330Nm of torque, giving the X-Trail a potential top speed of 180kph and a zero-to-100kph time of just over 7 seconds. Not that it really matters on a snowy mountainside though, as I’d be more worried about getting down as safe as possible instead of as fast as possible. The only downside to all of this? It’s built as a display car and has not been put into active service (yet). However, with such a capable machine being built, I would urge Nissan to provide one to the Cervinia emergency response crew. It would be very fitting, and useful!
For more information, please visit Nissan-Global.com.
Editorial note: The images and information in this article are sourced from and used with the permission of Nissan.