Detroit Auto Show: Nissan e-NV200 Concept

Nissan has enjoyed phenomenal success with its NV200 microvan. Launched in 2009, the popular van has a shelf full of awards, is available in 40 countries (with upcoming launches scheduled for North America and India) and was recently named New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow. For Nissan, that means it can expect to provide the city with some 13,000 vans to serve as yellow cabs, starting in 2013. Now, the Japanese automaker is debuting an electric version, the e-NV200, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

While the e-NV200 looks a lot like the gas version and promises to have the same 145 feet of cargo space and 1,700-pound payload, the new electric concept’s guts are based on another iconic Nissan car, the Leaf. Both cars will share the same 80-kilowatt (kW) front-mounted synchronous electric motor powered by a 660-pound, 90-kW, 24-killowat-hour lithium-ion battery pack. That combo produces 110 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, enough for a top speed of 93 mph, an unofficial zero-to-sixty time of just under 10 seconds and a range of around 100 miles. The EPA has given the Leaf a combined fuel economy rating of 99 MPGe.

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image via Nissan

Nissan says that that while the van is bigger and heavier than the Leaf, they expect the e-NV200’s performance stats to be similar.

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image via Nissan

Nissan’s new van combines large front and side windows with a pair of glass roof panels to create an airy, open interior. The inside features seating for four, a bright color palate, blue accents and a clean, uncluttered design. The cockpit is dominated by a large LED screen that Nissan says functions like a tablet computer to control radio, navigation, climate controls and more.

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image via Nissan

It’s a good bet that this concept will see production as Nissan has already got prototypes out for testing by both the postal service in Japan and with FedEx in London. Nissan undoubtedly sees the e-NV200 as a dual threat, attracting corporate and fleet sales as well as consumers who want an EV with more hauling capacity than a regular Leaf.

Nissan exec Hideto Murakami call the concept, “A potential game changing vehicle in its segment.” He added that, “A vehicle like the Nissan e-NV200 Concept would energize the current compact van market in more ways than one – helping improve the quality of urban life and providing a smart financial investment for large and small businesses alike.”

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.