Published September 20, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Nissan decided to combine the best of two vehicles – its Nissan Leaf and NV200 panel van – to create the Nissan e-NV200.
Nissan hopes this vehicle will help set the company's position as the global leader in zero-emission mobility when production starts in its 2013 financial year.
Although still officially a concept vehicle, the e-NV200 panel van being given its world premiere at the Hanover Motor Show gives a clear indication of the distinctive style and, more significantly, the technical make-up of the final production vehicle.
Its all-electric drivetrain is based on the laminated lithium-ion battery and electric motor that powers Nissan Leaf.
With range and performance comparable to the Leaf, e-NV200 operators will be able to recharge the battery of their vans to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes thanks to its Quick Charge capability, ensuring minimal down time - vital for a working vehicle.
Nissan expects it will also be much cheaper to operate with lower fuel costs and reduced regular maintenance.
The e-NV200 will be able to harness the energy stored in its battery to power electric tools and equipment up to 6,000 watts .. a suitably equipped e-NV200 could, for example, become a mobile restaurant at outdoor events, a mobile workshop, etc.
No, Nissan did not reveal how long the NV could be used this way without depleting the battery, and how taxing it would be on its traveling range once the job is completed.
By packaging the compact batteries under the load space floor – a location that also helps to lower the vehicle's center of gravity – the e-NV200 maintains exactly the same carrying capacity as the conventional NV200.
Nissan says the e-NV200 will have a class-leading load volume of 148.32 cubic foot with the capability of carrying two standard Euro pallets between the rear wheel arches. The 2-meter (6.56 feet) cargo length means it can carry 20 standard Euro boxes. Its modest width, however, will allow e-NV200 to squeeze through crowded city streets more easily.
Power is supplied by a lithium-ion battery made up of 48 compact modules and a 80 kilowatt-hour AC synchronous motor that generates 280 Nm (206 pound foot) of torque. As is typical for electric motors, it delivers that torque from a standstill, providing instant acceleration and smooth running.
For testing, a small fleet of converted battery-powered NV200s has been loaned to mail and delivery companies including the Japan Post Service and FedEx. These and other companies have been using the vehicles as part of their regular fleets in cities across Japan and Europe, including Yokohama and London.
The prototype testing, which started in 2011, will continue through 2013.
From the front, e-NV200 is distinctly different from the regular NV200, the design giving a clear EV family resemblance to Nissan LEAF with the charging point door at the front of the vehicle. Its badges will be blue accented while e-NV200's ‘EV' face will be bracketed by LED running lights.
Inside, the cabin has a clean and modern EV identity with blue colored accents and dedicated EV displays and dials. Advanced telematics, meanwhile, will allow more efficient usage of an electric van fleet.
As well as a panel van, e-NV200 will be available as a passenger-carrying model and as the family-oriented seven seat Evalia. No word yet to the fact these passenger versions would come to North America.