British Gas orders 100 Nissan e-NV200 electric vans after six-month pilot

Article by Christian A., on April 30, 2014

British Gas has successfully ended its six-month winter trial of 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans and has placed immediate order for 50 units, with 50 more bound for delivery by the end of the calendar year. The nation-wide pilot of 28 vans is part of British Gas’ commitment of making 10 percent of its fleet of 13,000 home service vans are all-electric by 2017.

The six-month pilot that started in November 2013 had Nissan and British Gas collaborate with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions to manage the fleet operations and Gateshead College to train drivers in how to drive the e-NV200. Hitachi Capital will provide funding for the purchase as well as manage the fleet of all-electric vehicles.

During the trial, the 28 e-NV200s covered over 60,000 miles between them. The pilot was launched to evaluate how the vans performed in winter conditions during typical British Gas home services daily usage patterns. Paul Kidd, a British Gas Service & Repair engineer, remarked that the Nissan e-NV200 made driving between customer’s homes “a little bit easier.”

He remarked that the van’s ride was smooth and stress-free, adding that he was “really disappointed” when he had to give it back. He said he would recommend the Nissan e-NV200 van to other engineers. Colin Marriott, general manager of fleet at British Gas stated that they were “extremely impressed” with the performance of the Nissan e-NV200 during the winter trial.

He noted feedback from their engineers speaks for itself, with the majority of them wanting to keep the van permanently. He said that making an order of 100 Nissan e-NV200s demonstrates British Gas’ continued commitment to leading the adoption of EV technology among large vehicle fleets in the United Kingdom.

Jim Wright, Nissan GB managing director, said: “The success of this closely-watched trial with one of Britain’s biggest organisations puts Nissan in a great position in time for the official launch of the e-NV200 this June.  The feedback we have received from the British gas engineers has been invaluable as it has ensured that the e-NV200 that goes on sale in June is well-suited to British road and business conditions and we have high expectations for its future and ongoing success.”

Nissan revealed that it expects the e-NV200 to forever change what light commercial vehicles are all about. Not surprising when one learns that this new model has the best elements of two of the brand’s multi-award winning models combined. Specifically this is the Nissan LEAF, awarded in the past as World Car of the Year, and the Nissan NV200, which was given the International Van of the Year award.

Sales are expected to begin in June and will be offered in various options like a van or the Combi version, which is a five-seat people carrier. Customers who want to have more luxury can opt for the Evalia variant. While the e-NV200 is targeted mainly for businesses, Nissan says that it can also appeal to many private users, particularly ones having large families.

The homologated NEDC range of this new model is measured to be 170 kilometers. This is greater when compared to at least half of the fleets that make use of this class of van. For these models, the average daily driving distance is generally 100 kilometers. Cargo area and payload on the e-NV200 are much like that of the NV200. The e-NV200 is fitted with the high-performance drivetrain that runs solely on electricity.

This is inspired by LEAF and as mentioned, the NV200’s class-leading cargo volume. This results in a vehicle that is both versatile and practical. It’s one that carries goods or people while making sure that it does not contribute to noise pollution or create any exhaust emissions. Once the energy in the battery is drained, it can be recharged easily overnight using a domestic 3.3-kW single-phase 16-amp supply.

For those who decide to use the 32-amp 6.6-kW supply, the recharging time is lowered to four hours. Meanwhile using the CHAdeMO DC 50 kW dedicated quick charger allows the battery to be recharged from 0 to 80% in merely 30 minutes.

If the battery has been partially charged, recharging time is even shorter. Nissan disclosed that all around Europe, at least 1,000 public CHAdeMO quick chargers have already been installed. This does not include companies that already have their very own dedicated quick charging facilities whether in offices or home depots.

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