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Future models - Nissan - e-NV200

Geneva show: Nissan electric van a goer for Oz

Power on: Nissan's e-NV200 electric van is plugged into Nissan Australia's forward plans.

Leaf-powered Nissan e-NV200 van set to electrify the Australian LCV market

Nissan logo8 Mar 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

NISSAN'S all-electric load lugger, the e-NV200 van, is set to become the Japanese importer's second EV in Australia after the Leaf small car, from which it borrows its drivetrain.

Nissan Australian managing director Dan Thompson this week confirmed at the Geneva motor show – where the van got its debut European airing after first appearing at the Detroit motor show in January – that the plug-in version of the NV200 multi-purpose van would be on the agenda for Australia once plans for the van range were locked in.

Mr Thompson, who departs Australia in three weeks to head up Nissan Finance in Europe, described the electric van as an integral part of the NV200 van range and Nissan's EV line-up, and that it would be welcome in Australia.

No timing on the van's debut has been given, but is has already been widely trialled in Japan.

Nissan prestige brand Infiniti is also planning to add a Leaf-based sedan to its range after it goes into production for global markets from 2014.

12 center imageThe unnamed sedan will be unveiled in concept form at next month's New York motor show, just three months after the e-NV200 made its debut in Detroit.

While the Infiniti sedan – on a stretched version of the Leaf underpinnings – will use a souped-up version of the Leaf powertrain to suit its larger size and prestige positioning, the e-NV200 will use a standard Leaf driveline with an 80kW/280Nm electric motor driving the front wheels and drawing power from a lithium-ion battery pack.

Range is said to be about the same as the Leaf, which can travel between 100km and 170km depending on the speed, load and conditions.

In the e-NV200 format, the cargo space is said to be unencumbered by the batteries, and is able to carry the same amount of cargo or passengers – depending on the configuration – of the standard petrol van.

So far, Nissan has sold 25,000 Leafs, but it has just brought production of the car on stream at its US plant in Tennessee, and is also aiming to make it at the UK plant in Sunderland.

The NV200 van is built in Japan, Spain and China, sitting on the Nissan B platform that also carries the Nissan Micra, Renault Clio and Renault Twingo.

It was launched in Japan in 2009, armed with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and is now sold in more than 40 countries.

Last year, the N200 was announced as the winner of New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow contract that will result in 13,000 NV200s – built in Mexico and fitted out with a purpose-built taxi interior – hitting the streets of America's biggest city.

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