Nissan introduces blue-collar EV, takes jabs at competition

Andy Palmer eNV200 - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

If you want to find out whether an automaker is serious about a new technology, there is a simple test: If they put the tech into workaday vehicles, then they really mean it. Today, Nissan passed this test by launching an all-electric delivery van, the e-NV200.

The van is a love child of Nissan’s LEAF and its NV200 van. From the LEAF, it inherited the drivetrain, and the face. From the NV200, it received the brawn of a 9-5 multi-role street fighter that can carry a big load.Nissan eNV200 - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

The usage profile of the typical delivery van is tailor-made for an electric vehicle: The van works according to a set schedule, it typically does not travel more than 60km per day, it has plenty time to charge overnight, its owners are extremely cost conscious, and the thought of “yes, but what if I want to visit grandma in Florida” typically is not part of the pre-purchase decision-making for a delivery van.

“Nissan is committed to the complete elimination of emissions from cars,” Palmer said. “We believe the ultimate goal is zero – especially on vehicles that live in the city, and there is no better example than the urban delivery van, or the city taxi.”

“While our competitors are coming to market with their first electric vehicle, Nissan introduces its second,” a wound-up Andy Palmer said in a spirited speech heavily laced with jabs against competitors that sell hybrids, diesels, or range extenders as the answer to pollution. Facing the general direction of Toyota City, Palmer thundered: “An industry must do more than Kaizen technology – we need zero emissions.”

Electric supercars only a few can afford won’t put a dent into greenhouse gases. Neither will compliance vehicles, which its makers hope nobody will buy, If you are really serious about that, you aim to make volume sales with cars without a tailpipe.