The fact that Nissan is flirting with the idea of an electric-powered compact van should come as little surprise, but later this month, the automaker will actually move to begin real-world testing of such vehicles. The automaker announced today that Japan’s post office in Yokohama will receive one electrified NV200 compact commercial van for use over the next two months, marking the start of a public demonstration that will eventually expand throughout the country and Europe.
“The role that can be played by zero emissions vehicles in promoting a balance between economic growth and environmental protection in the realm of logistics is large,” said Nissan Corporate Vice President Hideto Murakami, responsible for the Global LCV Business Unit.
“We will certainly reflect the customer feedback gained from these proving tests in our future product development, and I expect that our commercial electric vehicles based on the NV200 will contribute to our customers’ business and to the development of a sustainable society”.
The NV200 was recently chosen by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to replace the city’s aging fleet of (discontinued) Crown Victoria taxicabs. Nissan put the NV200 up against the Ford Transit Connect and the Turkish-built Karsan V1 to become the sole provider of taxicabs for the U.S.’s largest metropolis. Unlike this test vehicle, the finalized taxi design is not a full electric vehicle — although it wouldn’t be completely unfeasible for Nissan to eventually roll out an amended taxi design with the BEV powertrain in place.
Nissan began selling of the NV200 compact van in Japan and Europe in 2009 and in 2010 it added China and Singapore to the list. In all it’s sold in more than 40 countries worldwide with future availability planned for the U.S. and India for commercial as well as private use. The electric-powered NV200 follows hot on the heels of Nissan’s Leaf plug-in EV commuter car.