Nissan has launched in Japan the Nissan e-NV200 compact commercial van, its second EV installation of four. The e-NV200 will be available for the Japanese public in October 2014, with prices ranging from JPY3.88 million ($37,900) to JPY4.79 million ($46,700).
The carmaker plans monthly sales of around 500 e-NV200s in Japan, where it is eligible for up to JPY850,000 ($8,295) in incentives. Nissan is building the e-NV200 at its Barcelona site in Spain and will start selling the compact commercial van this month in Europe.
The e-NV200 is essentially a NV200 van powered by the electric drivetrain of the Nissan Leaf. According to Chief Planning Officer Andy Palmer, the e-NV200 is now on trial runs with fleet customers in the US and Canada, but there are still some issues with the range and charging infrastructure.
He said that since US fleet vehicles typically travel longer distances than delivery trucks in other markets, the range of the e-NV200 is a concern. Palmer remarked that denser urban populations in Europe and well-developed vehicle charging infrastructure in Japan has made the e-NV200 suitable for those markets.
The e-NV200 is many notches above its gasoline counterpart. First, its 80kW motor allows it to accelerate faster and smoother. Also, it boasts of better handling as it has a lower center of gravity and stiffer suspension.
Its 24kWh battery can be recharged using just a standard outlet. On the other hand, the e-NV200 has a price that its also many notches above its gasoline counterpart.
But according to the Japanese carmaker, e-NV200’s lower overall running costs make it a good match for fleets, breaking even with its gasoline counterparts when it reach 51,000 miles or around five years.
While derived from major elements of two existing Nissan vehicles—the NV200 and the Leaf – the new e-NV200 remains a bespoke vehicle with more than 30 percent unique parts.
Compared to the NV200, the new e-NV200 features visual tweaks on the exterior and the interior, a re-engineered chassis and a new battery pack as well as a higher capacity regenerative braking system. The e-NV200 also features a number of modifications that allow it to become better suited as a city-based delivery vehicle.
As a result, the e-NV200 has become a near-silent and emission-free electric vehicle that offers a number of benefits not just for drivers and passengers, but also pedestrians, city residents and even fleet operators.
One of the glaring visual differences between the e-NV200 and the NV200 is the fact that the electric van is wrapped in Nissan's EV "face," which is apparent on the Nissan Leaf. Distinguishing elements include the unique blue tinted LED headlights as well as central charging doors. New crescent-shaped headlamps carry distinctive ice blue light color and house blue-tinted arrow-like positioning lamps within. LED units are employed on front of passenger models and on the rear lamps of all versions. Interestingly, the e-NV200's badging also features the "electric" blue theme.
Meanwhile, the cabin of the new e-NV200 features a new instrument panel with a digital read out as well as a gear selector with a simpler appearance. The gear selector also shifts like a conventional automatic rather than the computer-style joystick found in the Leaf.