Nissan, looking to push further into the electric vehicle market it currently inhabits with its Leaf passenger vehicle, is next aiming for the light commercial vehicles space via its new e-NV200. It is being built in Barcelona, Spain, and will begin production there in the 2013 financial year.
The e-NV200, like when we first learned about it at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, will combine elements of the Leaf’s electric powertrain with a mix of features from the automaker’s NV200 line up, which typically has 145 feet of cargo space and a 1,700-pound payload. If it holds close enough to the Leaf’s 80-kilowatt (kW) front-mounted synchronous electric motor powered by a 660-pound, 90-kW, 24-killowat-hour lithium-ion battery pack, one can expect similar performance standards. These include 110 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for a top speed of 93 mph and a range of around 100 miles.
Also being considered as a passenger van for families, the e-NV200, based upon the concept from Detroit, 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.
Nissan noted evaluations of the e-NV200 are currently being done based upon prototypes of the vehicle being made use of in Europe. This includes use by FedEx in London. The NV200 was also chosen last year as the winner of New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition.
As for dollars and jobs, the company is investing tens of millions into its Barcelona facility for development of the e-NV200. This is but a drop in the bucket for them, especially when you consider it was recently announced they are globally spending $4 billion on their electric vehicle initiatives. It is expected 700 new jobs will be created both at the plant and throughout its local supplier base, and this location will be the sole producer of this EV for world markets.
“The new model will offer all the spaciousness, versatility and practicality of a traditionally powered compact van,” said Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice president in a statement, “but with zero CO2 emission at the point of use and provides outstanding driving experience that is unique to EVs.”