When we talk about hybrid vans, we usually think of a combination of fuels to improve the vehicle’s carbon footprint. You certainly don’t think of a hybrid as being half van-half car, but that is what the conceptual Nissan e-NV200 is promising to be.
The overall shape retains the diesel NV200‘s load capacity and basic, practical design but the driving environment and output are the elements that have been derived from the Leaf electric car that should qualify it for lower mileage costs and cheaper van insurance due to its reduced top speed capacity, being an all-electric engine.
There is no questioning the commercial vehicles past as a diesel-powered van; it has won a host of awards, including Professional Van & Light Truck ‘Van of the Year’ in 2010 as well as, across the pond, it has been chosen as the next van to be The Big Apple’s next taxi – a fine accolade, which goes to show the model’s global appeal.
Where this electric van will score points over its rivals for the EV market is its range. Whilst many manufacturers have considered the average mileage driven by a commercial driver in any given day – a key aspect in determining the associated van insurance – and built their electric van around that, Nissan appear to have gone beyond that and will introduce a van that goes further.
Of the electric vans we have featured on here thus far, from Mercedes, Renault and Peugeot, their range, notwithstanding travelling at high speeds or constant pulling in and off, has been around the 50-60 mile maximum on a full charge. This is adequate for the driver who’ll be nipping around the locality for his usual run. Nissan have raised the bar, however, by giving a range of 100 miles (at cruising speed) which may just tip the balance in their favour for fleet managers who may have to incorporate pick-ups or deliveries that go further than their own hometowns.
A prototype of the Nissan electric van is being given the run around London by FedEx but, at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit, the full-blooded e-NV200 will be unveiled with a specific eye on the business sector, although Nissan claim it is a viable option for the domestic market, too. This may tempt many organisations to opt for purchase over lease hire if the third party aspects such as electric top up value and cheaper van insurance make it a more economic prospect in the short- to mid-term.
The electric market promised much in 2011 but stuttered somewhat in the light of conditions surrounding its ownership and rental packages imposed by the manufacturers. Perhaps the introduction of a tried and tested model along with the extension of the grant available from the government for going electric may be the shot in the arm that sees 2012 becoming the platform electric vehicles desperately need if they are going to represent 10% of cars on the UK roads by 2017, as Renault have gone on record as predicting.
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