Nissan has launched its e-NV200 electric van, which the firm claims offers a 106 mile range, a top speed of 76mph and fuel costs as low as 25% those of a diesel-fuelled van.
These claims should be more realistic usual, too, as the e-NV200 has been one of the most widely-trialled vehicles of recent years, thanks to trials with a number of large fleet operators.
At least one trial customer, British Gas, has already placed a 100-van order, suggesting that the e-NV200 does live up to expectations.
For my money, Nissan could sell a lot more e-NV200 vans than LEAFs, thanks to the more predictable and repeatable usage cycles of vans, many of which travel less than 60 miles a day on a fixed route, every day for years, returning each night to off-road parking in a secure yard, where they can be easily and safely charged.
Compare that to the average private car usage scenario: vans have the edge, and as I’ve mentioned many times before, I believe vans, not cars, will be the first vehicles to achieve commerical success in the electric vehicle marketplace. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say the the e-NV200 could be the van that tips the balance.
What about the van?
I digress. Getting back to the e-NV200, the van itself is based on Nissan’s NV200 diesel-powered van, while the e-NV200’s drivetrain comes from the Nissan LEAF, the firm’s electric car offering.
However, it isn’t just mash-up of two existing vehicles — 30% of the e-NV200’s parts are unique to the model, and the chassis, interior, battery pack and regenerative braking system have all be altered from their original (NV200 or LEAF) specifications.
The e-NV200 has a cargo volume of 4.2 cubic metres and can carry two Euro pallets.
Scheduled maintenance costs are expected to be 40% lower, thanks in part to the lack of engine oil, engine belts and conventional gear box and clutch.
Although the e-NV200 van will be built at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, the UK — a major European manufacturing base for Nissan — will get some of the action, as Nissan’s battery plant in Sunderland will produce the van’s lithium-ion battery cells.
The battery can be recharged overnight in 8 hours using a domestic 16-amp single-phase 3.3 kW charger, or in just four hours if the optional 6.6kW/32-amp charger is fitted and a suitable supply is used.
Alternatively, a dedicated CHAdeMO DC 50 kW quick charger can recharge the battery to 80 percent capacity in as little as 30 minutes, if the battery still holds some charge, meaning that e-NV200 can be charged while it is being loaded with goods for another delivery, for example.
In my view, it all adds up — especially as the e-NV200 has been priced in the UK to go head-to-head with diesel vans, with prices starting from just under £14,000.