First Drive: Nissan e-NV200
Indeed, with 187lb/ft of torque on tap from a standstill, the electric van is actually quicker to 60mph than its 1.5dCi counterpart and more agile around town too.
Rather than joining forces with Alliance partner Renault and sharing an electric drivetrain with Kangoo Z.E., Nissan has instead opted to use the driveline from its successful Leaf electric car in e-NV200, along with much of the car’s front suspension.
The 48 lithium ion battery modules are mounted below the load floor, retaining the NV200’s 4.2m3 load volume and helping to reduce the van’s centre of gravity. The batteries weigh in at 267.5kg, yet Nissan has managed to stay close to the diesel van’s capacity, offering a competitive 703kg payload.
The official range is around 106 miles, though realistically that’s probably more like around 80 miles. Nissan admits the e-NV200 won’t suit every operation, but the company is confident that it could work for up to 35% of the market at this weight class, offering serious running cost savings.
The batteries take up to eight hours to recharge on a domestic 16A charger. This can be reduced to just four hours with the optional 6.6kW/32A charger that comes as part of the Acenta Rapid Plus and Tekna Rapid Plus trim levels. A dedicated CHAdeMO DC 50W quick charger can also provide up to 80% of charge in just 30 minutes, for example while the van is being loaded or during a lunch break period.
In March 2013 there were just 60 CHAdeMO rapid chargers in the UK, but this has risen to 223 this year and Nissan claims there will be more than 500 by March 2015. It’s a similar story with regular charging stations, with 752 available in the UK in 2008, rising to more than 5,731 by June 2014.
Actual running cost savings will depend on how much you pay for your electricity, but Nissan claims the e-NV200 should be around four times cheaper to fuel than the diesel van at around 2p/mile. The savings don’t stop there however, as repair and maintenance bills could be 40% lower than the dCi model, thanks in part to no requirement to change oils, belts or clutches. For operators running inside the London Congestion Zone, the e-NV200 is also road tax and London Congestion Charge free.
You can opt to buy both van and batteries, or purchase the van and lease the power pack, with prices starting at just £13,395 after the Plug-in Van Grant for a basic model without batteries. Monthly battery rental starts at £61 per month.
For the driver the e-NV200 is easy to operate, with a simple automatic transmission lever offering push-and-go driving. There is a B position on the lever for added regenerative braking, to extend the van’s range, and an Eco button on the dash alters the throttle mapping for smoother acceleration and cuts the air-conditioning performance to further conserve power.
The electric air-con system can be preset remotely through the CarWings smartphone app, which also allows managers to monitor the battery state of charge. Heated seats, auto lights and wipers, a rear camera, Bluetooth and cruise control are optional.
With some cities looking to reduce or ban diesel vans, the popularity of electric LCVs is set to grow. The e-NV200 could also deliver major savings.
Segment: Light van
Type: Battery electric vehicle
Price: £13,393-£21,305 (including Plug-in Van Grant)
Electric range: 106 miles
CO2 emissions (tailpipe): 0g/km
Charging port: J1772 AC & CHAdeMo DC